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Badass Chinese sheep quickly evolved adaptations to extreme plateau and desert environments—New study

ILRI news

TibetanSheep_CrienglishNative Chinese sheep breeds, one of which is seen here grazing on the Tibetan Plateau, are serving as a climate change bellwether (photo credit: CRIENGLISH.com).

To paraphrase Luigi Guarino in his new and lively Science Blog series for the Crop Trust, with food demand estimated to increase by anywhere from 50–70% by 2050 (read Guarino for why the great spread in estimations), and with climate change bearing down upon us, manifested in more unpredictable and extreme climates, crop breeders will have to work faster and smarter, using all the tools at their disposal, to keep the world fed. And they will need all the diversity they can get their hands on. That’s the raw material of crop improvement, Guarino reminds us.

The same goes for livestock improvement, only, unlike the case for crop varieties, we have no similar genebanks storing the diversity of animals that would allow us…

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Protecting livestock breeds for people

ILRI news


Livestock are ubiquitous in the developing world. The ‘big five’—cattle, sheep, goats, poultry and pigs—as well as 9 other popular farm animals and 26 or so more specialized species are raised by more than half a billion people either on pastoral rangelands by nomadic herders, or on mixed farms by smallholders who raise crops along with livestock, or in peri-urban areas by people who raise a few animals in their backyards. All of these small-scale livestock enterprises matter to developing-country governments because livestock account for some 30 per cent of their agricultural gross domestic product, a figure expected to rise to 40 per cent by the year 2030.

The diverse livestock production systems, like most crop production systems, are changing in response to globalization, urbanization, environmental degradation, climate change and science and technology. But the fastest changes are occurring within the livestock systems. That’s because the developing world’s rising human…

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World Water Week seminar highlights the role of livestock in sustainable agriculture

Very good.


Fishermen and goats at the Niger River Fishermen and Sahelian goats by the Niger River, in Segou, Mali (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

World Water Week in Stockholm is organized annually by the Stockholm International Water Institute and brings together experts from around the world to discuss pertinent issues around water and development.

At the start of this year’s World Water Week, taking place from 28 August to 2 September 2016, the University of Gothenburg, the Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and the Swedish Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation convened a seminar on antimicrobial resistance and linkages between humans, livestock and water in peri-urban areas.

Among the speakers at the seminar was Delia Grace, a veterinary epidemiologist and food safety expert at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). Her presentation was based on a report published in July 2016 by the Committee on World Food Security High-Level Panel…

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Nigeria: President Buhari Urges International Communities to Save Lake Chad from Extinction

President Buhari Urge For International Support To Save Lake Chad.

WaterSan Perspective

Mohammad Ibrahim
August 16, 2016

President Muhammadu Buhari President Muhammadu Buhari

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has urged rich countries to do something urgent to save the Lake Chad from extinction, arising from effects of climate change.

Receiving the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova, in Abuja, President Buhari warned that failure to regenerate the Lake Chad will lead to another round of migration by people living in the areas.

The President, who led seven ministers to an interactive meeting with the UNESCO chief, said Nigeria and the other countries of the Lake Chad Basin lacked the billions of dollars required to channel water from the Congo Basin into the lake to check its rapid depletion.

Senior Special Assistance to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu disclosed this in a statement.

“Those living in the Lake Chad region have suffered untold hardship and displacement because of the violence perpetrated by Boko Haram…

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Traditional Use of Camel Milk and Liver Health (Hepatitis)

Natural Health with Camel's Milk

The centuries old tradition (healing with camel milk) is now supported by scientific findings gained in different quarters of the world. The camels’ pastoralists of Asia and Africa use camel milk as a natural pharmacy for different and complex ailments and such practice still prevail among them. They use camels’ milk (CM) for the different complex ailments like hepatitis, joint problems, obesity, acities, weaker eye sight, body aches and many more.

CM is successfully use for the treatment of hepatitis among different communities, even it is now use in urban areas of the world. Not only Traditional Knowledge (TK) but the religious sayings also supported such use of CM. According to a Hadeeth, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) advised camel milk for the treatment of waterbelly (acities) in Madina. There is very famous Hadeeth regarding the use of camel milk for the treatment of hepatitis.


Modern science and medical research also proved the importance of camel milk in human…

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Africa’s indigenous land grabs—African middle-aged public-sector urbanites in rush to buy farmland

A big problem in Africa.

ILRI Clippings

Charles Murithi_KS_Farmer

Charles Murithi, Kenyan farmer (photo credit: BurnessGlobal/Jeff Haskins).

For middle-class Tanzanians . . . a successful farmer trumps a successful academic. . . . [A] quiet, hard-to-track but momentous change [is happening] in Africa, which has profound consequences for the continent’s most important industry.

‘[I]n Kenya, Malawi and Zambia (though not in Ghana) most medium-sized farms were not built by successful smallholders but bought by urbanites. In Tanzania, where about one-third of the population is urban, city-dwellers are thought to own 33% of the farmland, up from just 12% a decade ago. Typically, the new farmers are middle-aged public-sector workers.

The popular obsession with foreign land grabs is wrong-headed, says Isaac Minde of Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro. If there is a land grab in Africa, it is being done by African urbanites.

‘City-dwellers are going into farming partly because legal reforms have made buying land easier and ownership…

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African Dairy Genetic Gains Program: Innovative private-public partnership for sustainable dairy productivity in Ethiopia and Tanzania

ILRI BioSciences

Leveraging private and public partners is key to increased productivity in the dairy sector, according to a poster by scientist from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)-led project African Dairy Genetic Gains.

The scientists explore some challenges facing dairy farmers within developing countries, illustrating how these dairy production difficulties can be overcome through the establishment of more efficient artificial insemination services using genetically superior crossbred bulls and cows. Ultimately, the poster illustrates the main goal of the ILRI-led project: to facilitate the lives of African smallholders and their families through livestock.

Download the poster: Okeyo, A.M., Ojango, J., and Mrode, R. 2016. African Dairy Genetic Gains Program: Innovative private-public partnership for sustainable dairy productivity. Poster. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI.

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