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    SocietyFAO launches a 40-year livestock project for Africa

    FAO launches a 40-year livestock project for Africa

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    Projects demand for meat will reach 38 m tons

    Having conducted pilot studies in Ethiopia and five other African countries, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has launched a new livestock project in Africa that will go on for four decades. The project would seek to address the growing demand for food, and also work towards preventing diseases transmitted by animals. 

    Dubbed Africa Sustainable Livestock (ASL) 2050, the new regional initiative aims also to address the exponentially increasing demands for agricultural outputs. Patrick Kormawa, FAO sub regional coordinator for Eastern Africa and representative to the AU and UNECA said that the continent would likely experience an increasing demand for meat and milk by the end of 2050.

    Accordingly, it is estimated that the meat market would reach 34.8 million tons and the milk market was expected to hit 82.6 million tons. Kormawa noted that there would be a 145 and 155 percent increase from the 2005 to 2007 figures.

    In addition to addressing the growing demand for dairy products, the initiative would focus on minimalizing the adversities of zoonotic diseases, which are transmitted from animals to humans. The livestock sector is one of the sources of infection that corresponds to environmental hazards. Contaminated animal food sources, pollution of soil, water and air, along with loss of biodiversity, are some of the ways the livestock sector is known to cause ailments to humans. Hence FAO, in collaboration with the USAID, will seek long-term livestock sector development in Africa.

    Subhash Morzaria, global coordinator for emerging pandemic threats-II program, said that ASL 2050 incorporated the pastoralist communities that would be the major sources of livestock. To smoothen the initial proceedings of the project, USAID has allocated USD two million for two years to finance policy-related technical studies.

    Focusing mainly on Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda for their significant economic progress, ASL 2050 will incorporate as many countries across the continent as required. So far, countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya have barely exploited the potentials of the livestock sector. Professor Ferkadu Beyene, Ethiopia’s minister of livestock and fisheries, said that a new national livestock policy had been devised to maximize the benefits of the sector to the economy.

    Meanwhile, thousands of cattle have been lost each year due to cyclic droughts that mostly affect pastoralist communities, which are rich in livestock. Pastoralist communities in the Horn and eastern Africa are often hard hit by the climate-induced hardships jeopardizing livelihoods. Currently, millions are affected by drought in Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia and Kenya.

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