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R & D: Socio-Economics & Policy

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Livestock Economics and Policy research

The productivity of Africa's livestock is low, in part because cattle perform multiple functions in the livelihood system. The bovine raised in the humid and sub-humid grasslands produces an average of 13.8 kilograms of beef per year in Africa, compared to 34.1 kilograms in Central and South America and 85.5 kilograms per year in the OECD countries (Seré and Steinfeld, 1995). In order to keep pace with expected increases in the demands for meat and milk, Africa's domestic supplies will have to increase by an average of four percent per year at least until the year 2025 (Winrock International, 1992). Achieving this growth will require sustained improvements in the supplies of feed, animal health inputs and services, the genetic capacity of the cattle, sheep and goat populations, and the overall system of incentives faced by farmers.

Numerous studies have identified four essential conditions in order to achieve satisfactory progress in the livestock subsector:

    • Adequate resources allocation;
    • New technology to improve productivity;
    • Suitable institutions for research, extension, marketing, credit, etc.;
    • Appropriate policy, both economy wide and at the sub-sector.

Research on livestock economics at ITC aims at accompanying technological research in order to promote the adoption of the generated technologies. It aims at improving the efficacy of the livestock production-to-consumption chain for both meat and milk; the profitability of improved technologies and promotes a better understanding of farmers' perceptions and aspirations in adopting these technologies.

Major research activities

  • Assessing the impact of policy reforms on livestock performances in West Africa: The Gambia, Guinea and Senegal

Starting in the 1980's many countries in sub-Saharan Africa adopted structural adjustment programs to reform their economies. Despite the implementation of policy reform packages (price liberalisation, import control of livestock products, trade policy reforms, etc.), livestock production is still stagnant.

The overall objective of this activity is to assist policymakers select appropriate types of policy instruments. Studies are directed at:

    • The effect of trade policy reforms on supply and demands in the livestock sector in the Region
    • Simulation of effects of different levels of Government tradeoffs on the output of the livestock sector
  • Characterisation of the dairy sector: milk production, marketing and consumption patterns in West Africa (The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau and Senegal)

Increasing milk productivity of African livestock and increasing the income of small-scale dairy farmers in sub-Saharan Africa crucially depends on the efficient function of the input and output marketing systems. Also important are the consumption patterns of locally produced milk. It is assumed that increased milk production will rely on the existence of demand for local milk. This activity focuses on the structure, performance, and characteristics of milk production, marketing and consumption systems. The specific objectives are to:

    • Characterise the structure of milk production and marketing, and identify locally produced dairy products consumption patterns.
    • Identify the major constraints to the development of milk production, marketing and consumption systems.
    • Analyse policy options, such as investment in infrastructure and institutions building, to improve milk production and distribution.

For more information please contact Jacques Somda.