This chapter discusses the farming systems in which animals are produced in SSA and SA and describes technologies for improving the health nutrition of food animals, the genetic foundation of food animal herds, and the protection of animals against disease.
Animals are raised in several production systems in SSA and SA, each of which is constrained in different ways. Interventions to improve livestock (and the welfare of farmers) in each system must take into account the nature of its relationship to sources of animal feed or forage, the availability of food-processing facilities, and access to the intermediary or direct consumer markets for meat and dairy products. System modeling may be one way to envision the effects of interventions, not only on improving animal productivity but also on increasing income, reducing poverty, and preventing environmental damage associated with livestock production (Box 6-1) (Charles Nicholson, Cornell University, presentation to committee, October 15, 2007).
Of the 687 million poor who own livestock, 20 percent produce them in extensive systems (see Box 6-2), 57 percent live on mixed crop-livestock farms, and 23 percent are landless, peri-urban producers (Devendra et al., 2005). In Asia, more than 95 percent of the ruminants and many swine and poultry are raised on small crop-livestock farms. Those operations typically are land-constrained—often less than a hectare—so feed availability is likely to pose a problem. Well-managed crop-livestock farms can take advantage of the value added by livestock by using manure to prevent soil-nutrient depletion. As the demand for meat increases, mixed crop-livestock farms are intensifying and increasing the risks of environmental problems associated with agriculture.
The landless livestock systems, mostly in peri-urban areas, typically include swine, poultry, and ruminants. Because very little land is involved, less than 10 percent of the feed resources are produced where the animals are housed (Seré and Steinfeld, 1996). The peri-urban farmers, especially those raising poultry and swine, rely more on concentrates for feeds and are likely to be adversely affected when grain prices increase, for example, in response to international demand for biofuels. The use of byproducts from processing human food could potentially provide valuable feed resources for these farmers.
There is a need for improved food processing capabilities (see Box 6-3) that would help small farmers to have better access to markets (Delgado, 2005). The accumulation of nutrients (animal waste) often leads to contamination of water supplies and health issues related to animal density and proximity to people; the use of animal waste for biogas production would