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Guiding investments in climate-smart livestock systems in East Africa

Source(s):  CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)

New project aims to ensure that key actors in the livestock sector increase climate change adaptation and mitigation in farming practices, sector strategies and investment projects.

By Lili Szilagyi and Laura Cramer

In Sub-Saharan Africa, livestock is crucial for the livelihoods of more than 80 percent of poor households. In addition, as a result of a growing population, increasing income and urbanisation, demand for livestock products is rising steadily across the region.

This might seem like a good combination—those with rising purchasing power can buy more livestock products, thereby helping to increase the incomes of poor livestock keepers. Throw the climate crisis into the mix, however, and the situation turns sour. Climate change has a negative impact on livestock production. Rising temperatures and lower annual rainfall reduce livestock productivity and inhibit the growth of fodder crops. Soil degradation and water scarcity led to declines in food for animals. Land-use conflicts are increasing, threatening food security and gradually eroding livestock farmers’ livelihoods.

On the other hand, livestock production is not only affected by the impact of climate change, but it also contributes to it. For example, in many countries in the region, the agricultural sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The largest part often comes from livestock production, such as emissions released during the digestive process of ruminants, from storage and application of manure, and in fodder production.

Many countries indicate in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) their willingness to implement measures for reducing livestock sector emissions; however, emissions data is not yet available for accurately determining the mitigation potential of climate-smart livestock systems. Such systems are better adapted to the impact of climate change and contribute to climate change mitigation. Livestock farmers and policy-makers in particular require information on possible climate scenarios and tried-and-tested solutions for their implementation.

New project to support climate-smart livestock systems

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  • Publication date 25 Jun 2019

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