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What do we know about the impact of climate change on Livestock Systems in Africa?

19 October 2015

A 2015 report by the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Research Program (CCAFS) of CGIAR has alarmingly revealed that the despite evidence that climate change is already causing substantial reduction in forage availability and quality in some regions, thus on livestock productivity, there is still very little known about the actual impact of climate change to livestock systems. This is especially disturbing because over 600 million small-scale farmers in Africa and South East Asia depend on livestock for income and calories. Besides, it is projected that in the next 20 years, demand for livestock products in Sub-Saharan Africa will double owing to increasing population and incomes. To aggravate matters, known climate change adaptation strategies present difficulties in adoption to small-scale livestock keepers.

Indeed, animal diseases cause losses amounting to US$300 billion lost income and veterinary bills to livestock farmers in Africa. This is expected to accelerate in the face climate change which is expected to cause diseases hitherto non-existent to new areas and inadequate breeding strategies that are inefficient in responding to disease outbreaks. It is against this awakening that scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) are developing a preemptive breeding strategy meant to proactively breed animals that are resistant and don’t require direct treatment.

Thornton P.K., Boone R.B. and Ramirez-Villegas J. 2015. Climate Change Impacts on Livestock. CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) Working Paper No. 120.



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