With a projected world population of nearly 10 billion people by 2050, an unprecedented increase in demand for animal protein including meat, eggs, milk, and other animal products is inevitable. The global challenge will reside in the provision of an affordable, safe, and sustainable food supply. This chapter focuses on global trends in food animal production as it affects the development of technology in food security and sustainability, its linked socioeconomic aspects, and research needs, primarily in developing countries. Animal agricultural research needs on a global scale parallel those outlined in Chapter 3 for the United States, but also need to address the unique challenges specific to middle- and low-income nations worldwide. Those research considerations for sustainability related to the United States outlined in Chapter 3 are also relevant to other nations worldwide; however, often in developing countries, there is a tradeoff between animal production and resultant livelihoods and the environmental and societal impacts of production. Development and dissemination of technologies for improved animal production and wellness and feed/food safety are critical. Because animal products and animal feed are critical components of world food trade, understanding trends in supply and demand for animal products globally is also crucial.
Additionally, corollary needs must be fulfilled with respect to understanding the socioeconomic contexts in which food animals are produced worldwide, such as infrastructural gaps, food insecurity in some world regions, and barriers to technology transfer. One important
consideration in discussion of agricultural needs for developing countries is political fragility of many of these nations, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, in a recent study of the most fragile states1, assessing such factors as demographic pressures, uneven economic development, and poverty and economic decline, six of the most politically unstable places are located in sub-Saharan Africa (Foreign Policy, 2014). This has important consequences for the development and investment in sustainable agricultural activities in these countries. Thornton (2010) provides a summary of the past and projected trends in meat and milk consumption in developing and developed countries from 1980 to 2050. Total meat consumption in developing countries tripled from 47 million to137 million tons between 1980 and 2002. It is projected that from 1980 to 2050, total meat consumption in developed countries will increase from 86 million to 126 million tons while total meat consumption in developing countries will increase from 47 million to 326 million tons. The committee acknowledges that there are regional differences in per capita animal product consumption patterns that are important to consider (Table 4-1); however, it was not able to discuss this in great detail. For background on food animal production in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the committee refers readers to the report by the National Research Council Emerging Technologies to Benefit Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia (NRC, 2008).
4-1 Animal Science Research Priorities
Existing animal science research priorities have been generated primarily in the United States (Chapter 3; FASS, 2012) and the European Union (EU; Figure 4-1; Scollan et al., 2011). The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) have ongoing global projects directed at improving food security and reducing poverty in developing countries through the more sustainable use of food animals. In general, animal science research can be grouped into the following broad categories: animal health, food safety, food and feed security, climate change, animal well-being, and water quantity and quality. An EU Animal Task Force identified the following four areas as priorities for research: (1) resource efficiency, (2) responsible livestock farming
1 A fragile region or state has weak capacity to carry out basic governance functions and lacks the ability to develop mutually constructive relations with society (OECD, 2013).
systems, (3) healthy livestock and people, and (4) knowledge exchange toward innovation (Animal Task Force, 2013). The Animal Task Force defined livestock as animals farmed in both agriculture and aquaculture. The goals established by the EU Animal Task Force under each of the main topics and subtopics are provided in Appendix I. These research priorities and subtopics can be applied globally and are also applicable to developing countries (Figure 4-1).
TABLE 4-1 Global and Regional Food Consumption Patterns and Trends
|Region||Meat (kg/year: 1997-1999)||Milk (kg/year: 1997-1999)|
|Near East and North Africa||21.2||72.3|
|Latin America and the||53.8||110.2|
a Excludes South Africa
SOURCE: WHO (2014).
FIGURE 4-1 Key areas for and priority topics as prime areas for further research.
SOURCE: Animal Task Force (2013, updated 2014). Reprinted with permission from the Animal Task Force.
In broad terms, the animal science research goals of the United States and Europe are similar, with a focus on food safety, global food security, sustainability, and animal well-being. These are global goals and are applicable to developing countries as well. A holistic approach where systems analysis, among others, is used to assess the benefits and/or tradeoffs in meeting these goals is advocated. Additionally, a group of scientific experts identified 100 of their most important questions for global agriculture, of which 9 pertained to aquaculture, food animals, and poultry (Pretty et al., 2010), a subset of which includes concerns identified by U.S. and EU animal task forces:
- “What is the appropriate mix of intensification and extensification required to deliver increased production, greenhouse gas reduction and increased ecosystem services?
- What evidence exists to indicate that climate change will change pest and disease incidence? How can intensive food animal systems be
designed to minimize the spread of infectious diseases among animals and the risk of the emergence of new diseases infecting humans?
- How can middle- and small-scale animal production be made suitable for developing countries in terms of environmental impact, economic return and human food supply, and what should be the key government policies to ensure that a balance between the two is implemented?
- How can aquaculture and open water farming be developed so that impacts on wild fish stocks and coastal habitats are minimized?
- What are the priority efficiency targets for food animal production systems (e.g., the appropriate mix of activities in different systems and optimal number and types of animals) that would enable these systems to meet the demand for food animal products in an environmentally sound, economically sustainable and socially responsible way?
- What are the effective and efficient policies and other interventions to reduce the demand for animal products in societies with high consumption levels and how will they affect global trade in food animal products and the competitiveness of smallholder food animal production systems in poor countries?
- In addition to food animal production, how can inland and coastal fish farming contribute to a more sustainable mode of animal protein production in developing countries?
- What are the best means to encourage the economic growth of regional food animal markets, while limiting the effects of global climate change, and what can industrialized countries do to improve the carbon footprint of its food animal sector?
- What are the environmental impacts of different kinds of food animal-rearing and aquaculture systems?”
From a funding perspective, there are several important points to consider for the future of animal sciences research worldwide. In general, the public and private sectors tend to support different kinds of research. A review of the roles of public and private sectors in animal research is found in Fuglie et al. (2008). The public sector is the source of most basic research (i.e., original investigation that advances scientific knowledge but with no immediate application), while the private sector focuses on market-oriented applied and development research (Fuglie et al., 1996). Over the past 20 years, governments throughout the world have continued to reduce spending for research infrastructure
development and training (Green, 2009), despite the fact that large-animal research is expensive.
The committee notes that per capita consumption of animal protein will be increasing more quickly in developing countries than in developed countries through 2050. Animal science research priorities have been proposed by stakeholders in high-income countries, with primarily U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), World Bank, FAO, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) individually providing direction for developing countries. A program such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) demonstrates progress toward building better planning in agricultural development in developing countries, through the composite inclusion of social, environmental, and economic pillars of sustainability.
In addition, for at least the last two decades, governments worldwide have been reducing their funding for infrastructure development and training for animal sciences research. Countries and international funding agencies should be encouraged to adapt an integrated agricultural research system to be part of a comprehensive and holistic approach to agricultural production. A system such as CAADP can be adapted for this purpose.
To sustainably meet increasing demands for animal protein in developing countries, stakeholders at the national level should be involved in establishing animal science research priorities.
Priorities for Research Support
Countries in different regions are affected by different circumstances (e.g., political, demographic, and climatic) that correspondingly impact their animal science research priorities. One priority for research support in this area includes:
- Governments—both domestic and international—as well as international funding organizations, should increase respective commitments to funding animal sciences research and infrastructure that focus on productivity while following an integrated approach (e.g., the CAADP) to meet the increasing needs of global societies.
4-2 Food Security Considerations
Food animal production directly affects food security through food provision and risk reduction, and indirectly as a means of agricultural production, providing employment, income, capital stock, draft power, fertilizer (manure), and energy through burning of manure (Hoddinott and Skoufias, 2003; Erb et al., 2012). A summary of the positive and negative aspects of food animal production on food security can be found in Erb et al. (2012). Additionally, food animal production and marketing can help stabilize the global food supply by acting as a buffer to economic shocks and natural disasters; however, the food supply can be destabilized by animal diseases and bioterrorism (McLeod, 2011). McLeod (2011) describes three food security situations: (1) livestock-dependent societies, (2) small-scale mixed farmers, and (3) city populations. Food animal–dependent societies such as pastoralists (120 million people) and ranchers will face finite global land area that is becoming decreasingly available for grazing, because of population growth and settlement into current land, nature conservation, change in climatic conditions, and declining soil fertility. Small-scale farmers face limits to intensification and difficulties in competing with large-scale producers. They may have to diversify, consider becoming contract farmers, and/or find a high-value niche or specialty markets. Half of the world’s population lives in urban areas and falls under the “city population” segment. Feeding this segment is accomplished primarily through intensified animal production systems. This segment is concerned about zoonoses, food safety, environmental pollution and regulations (Birch and Wachter, 2011).
In different parts of the world, food security concerns differ, as do levels of animal production technologies utilized. Amongst Asian nations, China has the largest number of poultry, pigs, goats, and sheep with poultry and pigs accounting for about 50 percent and 80 percent, respectively, of the total food animal production and 66 percent of the total meat production in Asia (Cao and Li, 2013). In 2010, food animals accounted for 30 percent of the total agricultural output in sales in China (Cao and Li, 2013). Rapid growth and technological innovations have resulted in opportunities to improve food security in Asia. The increasing demand for food animal products has become a driver to shift from small-scale farms to large-scale corporations (Cao and Li, 2013). Larger-scale units have proven to be more resilient to market volatility, weather effects, and consumer demand, and more ready to adopt new
technologies (Cao and Li, 2013). Krätli et al. (2013) make a case for the necessity of pastoralism in food security in sub-Saharan Africa. They conclude that unless investments are shifted from replacing pastoralism to developing pastoralism on its own terms, food security is jeopardized beyond the limits of the drylands. Pastoralism can turn environmental instability into an asset for food production.
Poultry meat and eggs are and will be very important in meeting food security needs in both developed and especially developing countries (Ianotti et al., 2014). Within the next 10 years, poultry meat is projected to represent 50 percent of the increase in global meat consumption, and global demand for poultry meat and eggs is projected to increase by 63 percent by 2030 (Global Harvest Initiative, 2014). Poultry production for export has been increasing in some of the developing economies (e.g., Thailand and Argentina), while in Africa demand continues to be greater than production capacity, with imports forecasted to increase by 4.8 percent in 2014 (FAO, 2014a). Along with an increase in production, the industry will need to provide food and feed safety (Fink-Gremmels, 2014). Globalization of the feed and food markets will demand a harmonization of feed and food safety standards as well of assurance of food safety throughout the food chain.
In addition to traditional food animal raising, other sources of animal protein are currently utilized worldwide and may play a key role in ensuring protein security in the future. Using raised insect protein as a means of meeting global protein demand has been a topic of recent discussion (Box 4-1).
Increasing Insect Protein to Combat Food Insecurity
The FAO received a great deal of publicity after releasing its 2013 report, Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security. The report describes in detail the environmental and economic benefits of the wider use of insect protein for nutritional purposes. This report establishes the historical role of insects as a protein source for humans, and examines societies that regularly consume insect protein in modern times. Additionally, the FAO provides details on related topics such as the logistics of insect farming (van Huis et al., 2013). It is suggested that insect protein should be further integrated into human diets as well as used for purposes such as animal feed to alleviate food insecurity (van Huis et al.,2013). Despite social aversion to the consumption
of insects in many Western countries, there are an increasing number of studies examining the benefits and logistics of animal protein consumption. It has been noted that insects contain proteins and fats, as well as nonnegligible quantities of minerals and vitamins (Yi et al., 2013). A chart published by The Economist shortly after the release of the FAO report indicated the environmental and nutritional efficiency benefits of insect consumption, showing that crickets require a lower quantity of feed to produce 1 kg of edible weight than beef, pork, or poultry, and are 80 percent edible, which surpasses other meats (Economist.com, 2013).
The value of insects as a food source differs greatly by culture. In a Ugandan market, it was recorded that purchasing 1 kg of grasshoppers would cost more money than buying 1 kg of beef (van Huis et al., 2013); while in countries such as the United States, the thought of eating insects is a disturbing prospect for many people. As a result, ideas for transforming insect-derived proteins into powders, or making patties constructed by insect protein are options being discussed for Western markets. It is becoming increasingly clear that insects are an efficient and environmentally sound source of protein, leading organizations such as the United Nations to advocate for their adoption.
Aquaculture plays a key role in global animal agriculture and constituted 47 percent of global food fish production in 2010 compared with 9 percent in 1980 (FAO, 2012b). While research is needed to rebuild depleted capture fisheries stocks for many species, aquaculture production will have to continue to grow to meet global demands. Yet, the average annual rate of increase for 2012-2021 is projected to be 2.4 percent compared to 5.8 percent for the previous decade (FAO, 2014d), resulting from freshwater constraints, lack of optimal locations for production, and the increasing costs of fish meal and fish oil for feeds. In 2011, freshwater aquaculture production constituted 70 percent of the total global production (FAO, 2014d). The land-based freshwater constraints may be best addressed by a focus on an increase in marine-based aquaculture production of animal protein (Duarte et al., 2009).
The number of marine and freshwater species that have been successfully cultured is increasing at a much higher rate than that of terrestrial species. The comparatively higher number of species grown (i.e., diversification) results in different arrays of species-dependent resources being allocated, thereby yielding products with a broad range of prices. This diversification aptly succeeds in meeting the different
economic levels of the different consumers (Duarte et al., 2009). The diversification also introduces important flexibility in the choice of resource allocation and management practices to meet goals of sustainability through ecosystem management. Troell et al. (2014) discussed the contribution of aquaculture to the resilience to the global food system with impact based on selection of species composition, types of feed inputs, system designs, and corresponding operation. The committee recommends further research into the diversification of species to evaluate what species and/or combination of species feed types and management practices are best for various ecosystems and cultures. In many countries, there is also a lack of understanding and programmatic education relative to the establishment of traceability in the fish supply chain. This factor is very important in achieving consumer confidence. Therefore, educational programs on the importance of traceability in the seafood supply chain needs to be developed and communicated.
Increased demand for animal protein in developing countries has been a driver to move from extensive to intensive systems. This increased demand is also evident in the aquaculture sector, which constituted 47 percent of global food fish production in 2012 compared to 9 percent in 1980, and is facing land-based freshwater constraints that may be best addressed by a focus on a substantial increase in marine-based production of animal protein. Rapid growth of technological innovations has resulted in opportunities to improve global food security, if the innovations can be introduced and accepted. Research priorities in this area include:
- Research should focus on the identification of socioeconomic, infrastructural, and animal science issues relevant to technology adoption to achieve food security in different nations and world regions.
- Marine based production systems (aquaculture) should take on a more significant focus concerning research funding to meet food security needs in different countries.
4-3 International Trade Considerations
Animal systems occupy 45 percent of the global land area, generate output valued at $1.4 trillion, and account for between 60 and 70 percent
of the total global agricultural economy (Thornton et al., 2011; FASS, 2012). These systems employ more than 1.3 billion people globally and directly support the livelihoods of 830 million food-insecure people around the world. In the process, the systems contribute 17 percent of the global kilocalorie consumption and 33 percent of the global protein consumption. The distribution of the global consumption of animal products, however, is skewed to developed countries where consumption is five times higher than in less developed countries. The demand for animal food products in low-income areas of the world is rising rapidly, such as in China, Southeast Asia, and Africa as a result of growth in both population and per capita incomes (Thornton et al., 2011). In addition, the United Nations predicts that 2.5 billion people are expected to be added to urban populations by 2050, with 90 percent of this increase being concentrated in Asia and Africa (United Nations, 2014). As a result, the potential for agricultural production to meet the demands of a growing urbanized population in the developing world is a topic of serious concern.
Nevertheless, that growth is expected to continue to outpace the growth of domestic production in those countries resulting in growing volumes of animal product imports from developed countries. Consumers in those countries will gain from an increasing supply of high-quality, relatively low-priced animal products from imports. Meanwhile, those same imports will represent almost insurmountable competition for many smallholders in developing countries and will negatively impact self-sufficiency, food-security, and employment in those countries. Also, over the longer term, use of precious foreign currency to import animal-source foods, or the feeds with which to produce them, will be in competition with other potential uses of such resources—for minerals, technology, and educational or medical supplies.
Countries with extensive land resources such as the United States, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, and India have a comparative advantage in land-using animal production activities. It is the opinion of the committee that in order to meet the growing world demand for animal products, land resources to produce live animals, along with capital for investment in the necessary technology, systems, and infrastructure will be required to efficiently produce and export those products. Thus, capital-abundant developed countries with extensive land resources have a comparative advantage in the production of animal products over developing countries that may have extensive land resources but lack the
necessary capital. At the same time, the demand for nonruminant meat (e.g., poultry and pork) is expected to continue growing faster than the demand for ruminant meat (e.g., beef and lamb). Because nonruminant production requires less land, more intensive production, higher capital resources, and a higher level of technology than the production of grazing ruminants, developed countries will easily dominate world production and export of food animal products in the coming years.
In seafood production, however, developing countries have an apparent comparative advantage over most developed countries. Globally, seafood is the most traded food item, and developing countries play a significant role in exports—61 percent by volume and 54 percent by value in 2012 (FAO, 2014d). U.S. imports of seafood, the largest contributor to the overall U.S. trade deficit, currently exceed $10 billion. The current annual U.S. per capita consumption is approximately 6.4 kg. Of all the seafood consumed in the United States, 91 percent (6.5 million metric tonnes) is imported and approximately one-half is farmed products. The United States produces only about 0.6 percent of the total farmed fish produced globally. The major U.S. seafood imports are shrimp, salmon, and tilapia. Most of the shrimp and tilapia originate from Asia while most of the salmon originates from Chile, Norway, and Canada. For shrimp and tilapia, two of the top seafood items consumed, the United States is highly dependent on production originating from countries in Asia, with China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Bangladesh accounting for 80 percent of the total aquaculture production globally (FAO, 2014d). In fact, a total of 15 countries produce 93 percent of all farmed fish (FAO, 2014d). This unique dependency on imported seafood from a small array of countries in Asia places the United States in a precarious situation in meeting its seafood-based protein demand and increasing per capita consumption. In addition, the major concern of the U.S. seafood consumer is the safety of the seafood imports, particularly those originating from Asian countries.
The growth of trade in animal products is one component in the process of globalization that is revolutionizing world production and trade (Otte et al., 2005). Globalization is pressuring traditional animal systems to modernize through investments in new technology, the adoption of more efficient management systems, and the development of new alliances all along the supply chain. Globalization is forcing global animal systems to search for more efficient ways of producing and delivering products to consumers or risk losing their comparative advantage. Small producers, particularly those in developing countries,
often consider such changes to be challenges because their relevance to national supply chains can dissipate over time as large and multinational firms take control of markets if, as is often the case, they lack the capital and knowledge to upgrade their engagement in markets. Despite the competition for domestic animal systems that imports may create, globalization can support producers in importing countries by creating off-farm employment opportunities, particularly for those willing to migrate, regionally, nationally, and even internationally (Otte et al., 2005). Off-farm earnings and remittances can provide rural households with access to the capital necessary to invest as needed to reap at least some benefits of globalizing food animal and meat markets (Otte et al., 2005). At the same time, such infusions of cash can reduce their vulnerability to economic shocks, reduce their relative risk aversion, and promote adoption of new practices and investments related to their food animal enterprises.
The disadvantage of developing countries in the production and export of food animal products is even more pronounced given the global changes in sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) agreements now in place under the World Trade Organization (WTO). In an effort to protect human, plant, and animal health from transmission of diseases and pests and to establish a mechanism to resolve trade disputes regarding the application of quality and safety standards to animal, plant, and food imports, the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations established the SPS Agreement in 1995. A major motivation behind that agreement was concern that some countries implement SPS measures primarily as “disguised trade barriers” for more transparent tariffs and other measures to restrict imports proscribed by the WTO agreement (Kogan, 2003; Johnson, 2014). For example, the United States continues to be concerned about the “disguised trade barrier” motivation of the European Union’s ban on imports of beef from countries that use growth hormones in cattle production (Johnson, 2014).
To avoid concerns of national sovereignty, the 1995 SPS Agreement allows countries to set the level of SPS protection they deem appropriate, provided that the measures can be justified scientifically and do not unnecessarily impede trade. While the SPS standards are aimed at risk reduction for importing countries, they also impose barriers against exports from developing countries because of the high costs of compliance and a general lack of the resources necessary to exploit the opportunities offered by the Agreement, including the necessary scientific and technical infrastructure (Henson and Loader, 2001). The
consequence is a further shifting of the advantage in the production and export of food animals and food animal products to developed countries. According to the authors, developing countries may be increasingly relegated to trade with other developing countries that may accept their SPS standards, which may provide lower levels of disease control and food safety.
Along with increasing integration of world food animal markets, globalization is bringing with it increased scrutiny of the environmental impact of animal production and the treatment of animals around the world. The comparative advantage in food animal production that extensive pastureland or large areas open to conversion pasture (e.g., deforestation) give many countries will likely generate continued extensive animal production in those areas to accommodate growth. The sharp increase in food animal feed prices in recent years is expected to continue adding to the problem by reducing the profitability of intensive production. For those areas, the challenge for the future is to create the necessary incentives and sustainable production system options that will maintain profitability of animal production while lowering its environmental footprint. Without such incentives and profitable production system alternatives, large-scale movements toward intensification and diversification of animal production, particularly in developing countries, is not likely to happen (FAO, 2012a).
The global spread of animal welfare concerns raises similar issues for food animal production, again particularly for developing countries (Box 4-2). The pressures to impose standards on methods of intensive food animal production in developed countries to protect animal welfare are increasingly focused on developing countries. The costs of compliance and the lack of the necessary science and technical assistance to adapt and implement enhanced animal welfare measures in developing countries can serve to put producers, and particularly smaller, less well-capitalized producers, at a global disadvantage in food animal production and in the possibility of more rapid movement toward production intensification. However, they can also provide producers in developing countries with increased global marketing opportunities. For example, Namibia has increased its export market for beef by producing according to EU animal welfare standards and preferences (Bowles et al., 2005).
Animal Welfare in Developing Countries
Animal welfare considerations are becoming increasingly important for the global trade in animal products. Increasingly, developing country producers are asked to meet animal welfare standards in order to supply to multinational retailers and distributors, or to meet EU animal welfare standards for export. This creates both market opportunities and challenges in developing countries (Bowles et al., 2005). Many standards (e.g., the standards produced by the World Animal Health Organisation, OIE) are focused on improving animal housing, husbandry, transport, and slaughter across a range of production systems, from intensive to extensive. Following these kinds of standards can benefit producers by increasing production efficiency, for example, via improving animal health and product quality (FAO, 2009). In the least-developed countries in the world, for example, in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, animal welfare concerns differ in character and magnitude from those in the more developed countries. They include providing for basic health and care needs of animals to reduce malnourishment and high rates of mortality due to disease, improving handling to reduce injury, facilitating the adoption of technologies that can improve the humaneness of culling and slaughter, and developing/using genetic stocks that are better suited to local/regional disease and environmental challenges. The FAO (2009) recently issued a report identifying the key capacity-building needs for implementing good animal welfare practices in developing countries. These include locally relevant education about the significance of animal welfare for successful animal production, training in skills and behavior related to improving animal welfare, and development of strategic partnerships to foster training and implementation strategies.
Smallholder livestock, poultry, and aquaculture producers in developing countries are often stymied by lack of access to supply chains and commercial markets. Unfortunately, there is limited information on the full extent of barriers to exports of animal products from developing countries (e.g., WTO SPS regulations)). Globally, fish is the most traded food item, and developing countries play a significant role in exports, 61 percent by volume and 54 percent by value in 2012. Of all the seafood
consumed in the United States, for example, 91 percent (6.5 million tonnes) is imported and approximately one-half is farmed products. The United States produces only about 0.6 percent of the total farmed fish produced globally, and increasing per capita consumption may not be met because of reduced exports combined with lack of sufficient access to markets in developing countries. Research priorities in this area include:
- Research is needed to identify and overcome barriers to enable animal producers in developing countries, including smallholders, to more effectively participate in supply chains and commercial markets These investigations should include assessment of the economic and sustainability impacts of barriers to exports from developing countries, and the implications of imports for animal systems into developing countries to guide investments in animal science research, extension, and education.
- Research should be initiated to determine the most effective approaches for the developing countries to comply with SPS and other international regulations, including investments in the necessary scientific and technical infrastructure to allow compliance.
- Policy should be developed to provide sufficient funding for research and related extension programs to stimulate a more intensive and sustainable aquaculture, including mariculture, enterprise globally. International agencies in cooperation with high-income countries should be encouraged to support policy and research approaches to disseminate technology and best practices.
4-4 Smallholder Animal Agriculture
Globally, more than half of all animal commodities and most animal-source foods are produced by the estimated 70 percent of the world’s rural poor whose livelihoods depend on animal production (MacMillan, 2014). Thus, future global food security and our ability to meet the future demand for animal protein are dependent to a large extent on smallholder animal production systems. A growing number of rural households in developing countries actually participate in commercial market activities at some level, even though household food production remains their primary goal (Otte et al., 2012; Kelly et al., 2014). For these smallholders and pastoralists, animal production represents an opportunity to earn revenue to supplement subsistence needs and pay for production inputs. The more access these producers have to markets,
usually proximity to urban areas in the region, the more opportunities there are for them to take advantage of the ongoing growth of the demand for animal products. In these areas, smallholders may benefit either directly through contract production or by supplementing the supplies of urban food wholesalers and retailers.
In more remote areas where the conditions and infrastructure are not yet suitable for large-scale commercialization of animal production, smallholders and vulnerable populations may benefit from the spillover effects of urban growth, but are more likely to service the needs of local economies for meat, eggs, and milk. In these areas, investments in infrastructure, the extension of training, and the delivery of new technology such as improved genetic material, more efficient production management systems, animal health services, and other modern inputs are likely to generate large social returns (Sanchez et al., 2007; McDermott et al., 2010; Anthony, 2014). Accordingly, some smallholders and pastoralists are enabled to participate to some degree in the benefits of the rapidly growing markets for animal products in their countries (FAO, 2008b).
However, many more smallholders are being marginalized and excluded from the benefits of growing world demand for animal protein. Small-scale livestock producers, the basis for much livestock production worldwide, are often negatively affected by the growth of commercial production of livestock. Attention to this process and the extension services or subsidies that would assist these producers during this transition of production is warranted. A host of factors combine to constrain the integration of smallholders into increasingly globalized live animal and animal product markets, including the diverse roles that animal production plays in developing countries, the risk-averse behavior of low-income producers, and the importance of small stock and aquaculture production technology (Otte et al., 2005; Steinfeld et al., 2006; McDermott et al., 2010).
Introduction and transmission of infectious diseases is tremendously varied by the husbandry type and production methods. Perry and Grace (2009) consider in detail the impacts that food animal diseases, and control of these, can have on rural poverty in poor developing countries. Low-intensity subsistence food animal farming that operates throughout the developing country’s rural households, particularly of poultry, sheep, and goats, is critical to sustaining local food supplies. Animals in this type of farming are often kept under marginal conditions with little access to modern disease control, housing, or feed supplementation.
These animals may suffer from uncontrolled diseases and may be in close contact with other species and humans, and potentially in contact with a variety of nondomestic animals. Therefore, the impact of diseases, both endemic and epidemic, on the livelihoods of these stockers can be severe, particularly if there is high mortality or the imposition of animal movement restrictions. Intensive poultry production systems where meat birds are raised in large flocks at high stocking densities have the most efficient feed-to-gain ratios of any animal production system and thus can provide cheap, high-quality animal protein for people in developing countries. Such intensive production systems, however, can only be implemented successfully if the many infectious diseases that would otherwise inflict severe losses can be prevented or controlled (Tomley and Shirley, 2009).
4-4.1 Diverse Economic Roles of Animal Production Livestock, Poultry, and Aquaculture in Smallholder Operations
Animal production plays a critical and well-documented role in contributing to the economic welfare of poor families in rural areas of developing countries (Upton, 2004; Randolph et al., 2007; Otte et al., 2012). Animal production provides meat, milk, eggs, and other products that enhance both the quantity and nutritional quality of the food consumed by poor rural families. Excess animal products can be sold to allow the purchase of additional food and other basic necessities as well as production inputs. Farm animals provide draught power for food production and manure for use as fertilizer or fuel. They also serve as a form of saving, adding to wealth and status during good years and acting as a buffer against lean years. In addition, animal production contributes to the overall economic health and viability of rural communities. The sale of animal products in local markets supports the growth of agricultural support services and related rural enterprises.
In most developing countries, the groups most dependent on animal production for at least a part of their livelihoods include smallholder farmers, subsistence farmers and landless farmers. Thus, the expected future growth in global animal product demand might well be expected to improve the lives of many of the rural poor around the world. Production increases in aquaculture, presumably achieved through systems that are more intensive than existing ones, should contribute to noteworthy increases in employment both on and off farms and contribute to rural development and alleviation of poverty (Allison, 2011). Off-farm employment would include occupations such as feed
preparation, production, and processing. The FAO (2014a) estimates that aquaculture currently supports 19 million farm jobs, 96 percent of which are in Asia. Also, with the capture fishery at a maximum sustainable yield and particular fisheries already overfished, culture fisheries have the potential to become an attractive alternative for those who have lost their jobs in the capture fishery. Women should dually benefit from expansion by increases in employment that will lead to a higher income (Williams et al., 2012). The increase in economic status should allow a greater opportunity to purchase fish, a nutritionally high quality of food for themselves and their children.
The most affordable protein food, particularly for those people living in developing countries, comes from inland freshwater fish farming (FAO, 2012b). This protein source is expected to take on the highest importance in the assurance of long-term food security and good nutrition for growing populations in developing countries. The focus should be on aquatic organisms (e.g., fish and crustaceans) at the lower levels of the food chain (e.g., omnivores and herbivores) to ensure a low-cost product. Aquaculture has become an important facet of global food security and is a major source of protein for 17 percent of the world’s population and almost 25 percent of the populations in developing countries (Allison, 2011). Overall, fish consumption provides the current 7.2 billion global inhabitants at least 15 percent of their animal protein intake (FAO, 2012b).
The extent to which the expected growth in world animal product production and demand will contribute to the alleviation of poverty and the strengthening of smallholder and family farming in developing countries depends on multiple factors. Many smallholders who depend on animal production as a mainstay of their livelihood are not engaged in commercial markets and instead are focused on survival. They rely on family labor, including children, in essential animal production activities such as herding (FAO, 2013). In addition, many small-scale producers notably operate on very small profit margins. Therefore, obtaining sufficient capital to make improvements in response to the need to meet environmental standards for sustainability is problematic.
A particular barrier to the advancement of animal production in many low-income areas of the world is the exclusion of women from publicly funded training and education opportunities. Women comprise roughly two-thirds of the 400 million poor food animal keepers in the world who rely mainly on animal production for their income (FAO, 2011b; Köhler-Rollefson, 2012). Given the low level of investment in the
human capital of women and their key role in many animal production activities in many developing countries, the return to investing in research and information delivery systems focused on women in terms of increases in animal production and the provision of animal products to meet the growing demand for protein is likely quite high (Christoplos, 2010; Meinzen-Dick et al., 2011; Jafry and Sulaiman, 2013; Ragasa et al., 2013). To achieve such a goal, extension agents, in concert with researchers and policy makers, must be trained in gender issues, particularly in the need for gender equality and equal pay for equal work. The vocational training of women is a critical component for meeting the needed increase of animal agricultural production in developing countries. These opportunities would translate to a higher economic status of women in these countries.
For all these reasons, the rapid adoption of new animal production technologies as appropriate, the development of more efficient production systems, the growth of market demand, and related changes that will continue to transform the animal industries in many countries must be developed with an eye toward improving the lives of the many subsistence smallholder animal producers in developing countries. In certain circumstances, those producers may face critical barriers to participating in the potential benefits of a growing animal industry, including rigid social institutions; fragmented markets; and the lack of access to technology, credit, resources, markets, information, and training. However, there is evidence that dairy technologies introduced in coastal Kenya as well as in other eastern African regions can benefit smallholder farmers (Nicholson et al., 1999; CNRIT, 2000).
For these and other reasons, such as climate change, the rapid adoption of new animal production technologies, the development of more efficient production systems, the growth of markets, and related changes that will continue to transform the animal industries in many countries will likely generate winners and losers among small-scale producers (Delgado et al., 2001; Aksoy and Beghin, 2005; Thomas and Twyman, 2005; McMichael et al., 2007). Marginal small-scale food animal producers commonly face critical barriers to participating in the potential benefits of a growing animal industry, including inadequate access to technology, credit, resources, markets, information, and training, and in some cases, maintain values and norms resistant to exogenous forces of change (Ferguson, 1985; Hydén, 2014).
4-4.2 Risk-Averse Behavior of Producers in Developing Countries
A critically important factor affecting the productive performance of animal systems in developing countries is the risky and uncertain nature of subsistence farming and the necessarily risk-averse profile of subsistence producers. In most developing countries across Africa and Asia and elsewhere in the world, agricultural production units are small, and crop and food animal production are dependent on the uncertainties of highly variable rainfall. Average production and yields are typically low. In poor years, producers and their families face the very real prospect of starvation. Consequently, rather than profit maximization being the motivating force in their production- and technology-use decisions as in developed countries, producers in developing countries maximize the family’s chances for survival. Given the frequently large risks and uncertainties they face, smallholders in animal production systems are often reluctant to shift from using traditional breeds and production technologies that produce more stable and reliable outcomes to new breeds and production technologies that promise higher yields but entail greater risk of production failure. When survival is at stake, producers will tend to avoid bad years rather than maximize output in good years (Miracle, 1968; Todaro and Smith, 2014). That is, they will choose low levels of technology that combine low mean yields with low variance to alternative technologies that promise higher yields but also pose the risk of greater production variance.
Many programs intended to enhance production and productivity in developing countries end in failure, precisely because they failed to recognize the risk-averse nature of subsistence farmers (Todaro and Smith, 2014). Smallholders in developing countries are not ignorant or irrational when they fail to adopt new technologies that such programs offer them. Rather they are making rational decisions to maximize family survival within the constraints of the institutional, financial, physical, cultural, social, and policy environment within which they live. Consequently, research to identify and mitigate the constraints to new technology adoption faced by small-scale producers in developing countries must go hand in hand with research to develop new production technologies if the production research investments are to realize a reasonable return. Personal food animals can play an important financial role in the developing world (Box 4-3).
Livestock as Personal Financial Capital in Low-Income Nations
Livestock held by individuals and families in low-income nations can function in a wide variety of important purposes. In a traditional view, the value of livestock for its holder is through the animal products it can produce, the physical power it can supply, its market value for sale, and/or its use for breeding. It has been documented that investing in livestock is of financial importance for the rural poor, because it allows for the creation of cash flow through the sales of animal products, such as milk or wool, which can cover necessary household expenses, and adds financial and food security in areas where limited or no formal financial services are established (IFAD, 2001). Livestock ownership is often perceived as a sign of wealth and social status in low-income nations, serving as an indicator for one’s influence and respect (Randolph et al., 2007). In this role, livestock can serve as social capital for the owner, increasing the owner’s agency and social standing. This influence plays a role in efforts that encourage livestock ownership by women, in addition to livestock often being an easier asset for women to acquire and possess in many societies than land or other forms of wealth (Herrero et al., 2013). It is worth noting, however, that despite the views of social status surrounding livestock ownership discussed, in some situations this practice can indicate poverty, since the owners may be holding livestock because of a lack of access to high-quality, arable land.
In the strictly financial sense, livestock take on incredible importance for rural people in developing nations. Livestock serve as assets that are unaffected by inflation, which plagues the currency in many of these countries, as a way for storing monetary value outside of a banking system, and a means for consumption smoothing because the animal can be sold for its value at any time (Randolph et al., 2007). In nations without a developed financial infrastructure, these options can prove to be immensely valuable and present a clear benefit to holding livestock. There have been charitable efforts to increase the prevalence of personal livestock ownership in low-income nations. Heifer International, one of the most prominent of these charities, facilitates the giving of livestock to recipients in the developing world to promote financial empowerment and greater self-sufficiency. Livestock ownership can serve as an effective form of financial capital in developing countries with limited financial infrastructure.
4-4.3 Importance of Small Stock and Aquaculture Production Technology
Investments in new technology development related to small stock such as poultry, pigs, and goats may be more important than such investments in cattle in developing areas of the world. Otte et al. (2012) argue that smallholders are more likely to raise small stock than cattle for various reasons, including the lower capital investment required and their higher efficiency in meat production; however, the production of poultry and pigs is particularly amenable to large-scale, vertically integrated operations. Not surprisingly, much of the growth in both poultry and hogs in developing countries over the last decade has been as the result of efficiencies gained from increased scale of production and vertical integration, the benefits of which have not spread much beyond a relatively few number of enterprises in those countries.
Small-scale operators are also responsible for most aquaculture production in both Asia and Africa, primarily from inland pond culture. More efficient and productive systems need to be established in those countries to meet the needs of protein and other essential nutrients. In an evolution toward the goal of efficient intensification, the value of indigenous management strategies must be respected and maintained when deemed highly effective. Improvement of these systems will contribute to the reduction in poverty and food (nutrition) security. There is a lack of any noteworthy effort to create development projects devoted to and designed for small-scale aquaculture operators. Such efforts can only come to fruition through the encouragement and support of governments (Box 4-4). A possible design for study is a satellite production model whereby a corporate entity provides guidance and information to farmers and purchases outputs from those farmers.
Small-scale (e.g., village or family) poultry production plays an important role in providing for the protein needs of poor rural households in many developing countries. In many of these developing countries, rural poultry accounts for about 80 percent of poultry stocks (Akinola and Essien, 2011; Ngeno, 2014). Village poultry can also be a source of income for poor families, particularly for women (FAO, 2014a), since village chickens are usually managed by women and children. Although the meat and egg output of village chickens is lower than that of intensively raised chickens, inputs are also low. Research that will improve outputs in these systems, or that fosters transitions to more efficient semi-intensive or small-scale intensive systems (FAO, 2014a), is important for improving food security in these countries. Sheldon
(2000) outlines critical research needs for improving small-scale extensive production: (1) effective disease control, for example, by developing efficient, thermostable, low-cost vaccines; (2) low-cost feed supplements based on local ingredients not needed for human nutrition; (3) improving socioeconomic factors that will promote successful development of small-scale poultry businesses; and (4) choice of the best poultry genotypes for use in specific environments, which will require more sustained efforts toward establishing breeding programs that conserve the genetics of locally adapted indigenous breeds (Ngeno, 2014). Research attention also needs to be directed toward adequate flock management under local conditions (Ianotti et al., 2014). Ianotti et al. (2104) estimate that vaccination for Newcastle disease, which is the primary cause of mortality in village flocks, along with modest husbandry improvements, could lead to sevenfold increases in egg production at the household level. The FAO (2014a) emphasizes that technological innovations developed to foster improvements in family poultry production will be most successful if accompanied by hands-on training and capacity building via formation of producer groups.
Policies around the world that affect livestock sectors can be classified into three groups: (1) price policies, (2) institutional policies, and (3) technical change policies (Upton, 2004). Price policies include trade policies such as import tariffs and export subsidies, exchange-rate policies and domestic price policies such as price supports and consumption subsidies. Although price policies benefit certain groups within countries, such as livestock producers or low-income consumers, they generally have a negative impact on net national welfare. Consequently, since the late 1940s, trading countries have engaged in multiple rounds of negotiations to eliminate price policies and their distortive effects on the world economy. Upton (2004) argues that even though price policies have generally failed to achieve positive gains, there is an argument for limited price policies in certain cases such as subsidies for disaster relief and for promoting the use of new inputs such as vaccines or drugs. Nevertheless, price policies distort the incentive structure in markets and can lead to inefficient outcomes. For example, in the former Soviet republics, the subsidization of livestock production led to a dependence on imported livestock feed and little incentive
for sustainable grazing or quality forage conservation (Upton, 2004). With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the loss of subsidies to support livestock production, feed imports ceased, consumer demand for meat declined, and the livestock sector largely collapsed. Consumers turned to imports of meat and milk from Europe and the United States.
Institutional policies are generally considered to be critical for economic development (Upton, 2004). Such policies include those intended to enhance physical and institutional infrastructure. Institutional policies also include the provision of production credit, animal health services, and genetic materials. Policies to promote technological change include support for research and development, the dissemination of information, and the extension of production training to producers. To enhance growth of the livestock sectors in developing countries, Upton (2004) emphasizes the importance not only of research to enhance productivity but also of research on socioeconomic issues related to the institutional constraints faced by producers as well as issues related to livestock processing, marketing, and trade. This will lead to the development of policies of all three types: price, institutional, and technical—to meet the needs of diverse populations worldwide.
Many, if not most, smallholder animal producers in developing countries worry more on a day-to-day basis about survival than about increasing productivity and profitability of their animal products. This condition may be a critical barrier to sustainable intensification of animal agriculture in developing countries. Small-scale operators are responsible for most aquaculture production in both Asia and Africa, for example, primarily from inland pond culture. However, many aquaculture producers in developing countries are still plagued by poverty and food insecurity. Small-scale poultry production is also important for food security in many developing countries, but is typically low-output due to problems with disease and inadequate husbandry. Technology adoption to improve animal production may be slowed if animal producers do not see an immediate direct benefit in terms of survivability, as well as other factors that are not currently well understood. Additionally, economic constraints may prohibit technological adoption.
Research priorities in this area include:
- Research effort needs to be directed toward the development of technologies that are locally relevant by requiring minimal risk in adoption and augmenting livestock use as a source of wealth and a means of survival during lean times. Donors to developing countries should incorporate community welfare in their considerations of animal science research.
- Research to identify and mitigate the constraints to new technology adoption, such as the lack of access to credit, production resources, markets, information, and training faced by small-scale producers in developing countries, is critical to boost the rates of adoption of new production technologies. The investigation of linkages with supply chains and markets is particularly important for aquaculture.
- Research that examines the economics of sustainable animal production is necessary to determine the optimal strategies for integrating smallholders into global animal product supply chains while mitigating negative associated environmental, social, and other impacts. Higher education and research institutions in the animal science arena should focus on creating a pool of experts capable of adapting science and technology to the local context and promoting local adoption in producing food. In particular, this means changing the current paradigm to include, in addition to teaching and research, the third mission of service to the community and close cooperation with the public and private sectors to contribute to innovation and development. Thus, the land-grant university concept of integrated research, teaching, and outreach functions should be adopted as a model, with adaptation to local circumstances.
4-5 Policy and Certification Systems
Governments impose a wide range of general economic and sector-specific policies to achieve economic and social objectives that critically affect decision making by animal producers. Such interventions include price polices intended to change production and/or consumer behavior, institutional policies intended to affect physical and institutional infrastructure, and technical change policies intended to affect the efficiency of production through research and development and the dissemination of information and training to animal producers (Upton, 2004). In the animal production sectors of most countries, however, policy measures have focused primarily on technical issues related to
animal production, animal feeding, and disease control (Otte et al., 2012).
The development and implementation of these policies, however, have failed to consider the economic and institutional constraints facing animal producers in developing countries, such as poor road networks and related infrastructure, limited information about animal diseases, and poor access to health services and production credit (Otte et al., 2012). Animal production sector policies and programs often have been designed by technical staff in food animal departments and NGOs or international organizations who have limited appreciation or understanding of the broader set of policies, markets, and institutional constraints that are relevant for farm-level decision making (Otte et al., 2012). A policy agenda for promoting equitable and efficient growth of the animal production sectors in developing countries that addresses the specific constraints faced particularly by smallholder animal producers proposed by various authors (Dorward et al., 2004a,b; Pica-Ciamarra, 2005; Otte et al., 2012) consists of three major components of animal production:
- Management policies, including measures to enhance access to basic production inputs and to help producers cope with risk, natural disasters, and other market shocks;
- Enhancement policies, including government facilitation of producer access to animal health services, credit, information, and output markets; and
- Sustainability policies, including research, environment-related, and other public measures required to foster the sustainability and competitiveness of animal production over time.
Exactly what animal sector policies should be implemented in a given country is not clear. As Otte et al. (2012) bemoan, there are “no hard and fast rules” for what animal sector policy-making institutions need to do to achieve a given general objective. There are many ways of achieving an objective and many circumstances that determine what might be the optimum policy or policy mix. Often, government authorities opt to implement those policies that are technically feasible, affordable, and politically acceptable (Otte et al., 2012). This second-best approach to policy making at least gets something done, but may not ultimately contribute significantly to development of the animal production sector and may even be welfare reducing because of all the other constraints that producers continue to face (Rodrik, 2007).
The Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, adopted almost 40 years ago, remains the principal directive for achieving global sustainable fisheries and aquaculture (FAO, 2012b). Within the code are guidelines for action based on 4 international plans, 2 strategies, and 28 technical guidelines. All of these guidelines are founded on the ecosystem sensitivity approach. Most countries have established policies and legislation that align with the Code. The idea of responsible fisheries is founded in an array of considerations that include biological, technical, economic, social, environmental, and commercial. For example, in Norway, the Aquaculture Act of 2005 was enacted to regulate the development, expansion, and management of aquaculture for inland waters, marine, and land-based aquaculture. This act promotes “competitiveness and profitability within the context of sustainability and environmental stewardship (FAO, 2010). The governments of developing countries must develop policy with the same objectives in mind.
Over the years, no land-based protein production system has been subjected to such a high level of scrutiny about sustainability as that confronting aquaculture. Being recognized as the fastest growing food production sector in the world, this high degree of oversight is a natural byproduct of its dramatic rise to become a significant contributor to global food security (Tidwell and Allan, 2001). The valid concern about the effect of aquaculture on natural and societal resources has led to third-party certification systems. These systems do not have common standards, but rather focus on a set of sustainability indices that “market” particular NGO interests. In addition, there is high competition among these systems, with success and perceived value being the basis for generating continued financial support (i.e., donations). Nonetheless, these certification systems have served the industry well in marketing to retailers and educating consumers about seafood products from both capture and culture fisheries that heed environmental and socially responsible standards. FAO (2011a) has published technical guidelines for certification of aquaculture production that can be used as a foundation for the development of certification programs by third parties. These guidelines are a natural follow-up to FAO’s 1995 Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.
The best certification efforts to realize a positive global impact for sustainable aquaculture production are founded in diverse stakeholder input leading to the adoption of common international standards. In 2006, the World Wildlife Fund introduced a global-based initiative called
Aquaculture Dialogues which consisted of 2,200 multistakeholder participants with the goal of establishing environmental and social standards for nine species of farmed seafood. Aquaculture Dialogues was successful in establishing important standards and also identified the existing problems and their detrimental effects. This substantial effort produced noteworthy results that were provided to the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), which currently uses these established standards to oversee the certification of management practices of salmon farms. These standards comply with the rigorous guidelines that have been established by the ISEAL (International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labelling) Alliance.
The standards established by the ASC, in turn, served as a stimulus for the establishment of the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI). The GSI brought together CEOs whose companies represented 70 percent of the global production of salmon and ultimately led to establishment of a salmon farming certification that adhered to the standards established by the ASC. It is hoped that other species-specific industries will mimic these efforts of establishing certification systems whereby retailers and consumers will have the information to make judicious and socially responsible decisions about the purchase of seafood. The importance of appropriate policy measures for achieving growth and development in the animal production sectors of developing countries was emphasized by a recent FAO (2008a) report:
In the 1990s, an increasing number of development aid experts and analysts came to realize that technology transfer alone was not going to transform development, especially agricultural development, in ways that would necessarily be beneficial to the poor. Policy and institutional change was identified as a pre-requisite to steer agricultural development towards meeting the needs of the poor.
By influencing the decisions of producers and consumers, policies and institutions are key drivers of economic growth and development, including in the animal production sector (Otte et al., 2012).
Although the objectives of animal science research are not necessarily to produce policy outcomes, such research can impact and is impacted by policy decisions. For example, research to develop an animal disease vaccine could lead to significant growth in animal production in rural areas where the disease has been endemic. In areas
that lack adequate roads and related infrastructure and marketing systems, the increased animal product output will end up in local markets, leading to lower prices and leaving producers potentially worse off than before. In addition, overgrazing and other negative environmental and social consequences may result. Over time, however, the negative pressure on rural incomes, survivability, and sustainability could induce a change in policy to enhance the infrastructure and marketing systems in those areas to allow greater access of rural producers to commercial markets. In turn, the greater access to markets could induce research to develop animal breeds that better meet the needs of commercial markets in urban areas. The bottom line is that for animal science research to have the expected impacts on animal production and on the livelihoods of animal producers, particularly in developing countries, animal science research projects and agendas must recognize and be responsive to the policy environment in which the producers operate. At the same time, research on policies and policy alternatives related to animal production must be incorporated into animal science research projects, particularly those focused on developing-country issues.
4-5.1 Certification and Technology Development and Transfer
Technology has been and will continue to be important in meeting the increasing demands for producing safe, affordable food in an environmentally sustainable manner that is socially accepted. Adopted technological advancements including health, genetics, breeding, nutrition, physiology, management, and food and feed safety in animal agriculture have resulted in improved production, efficiency, and environmental and water footprints for food animals (see Chapter 3). Reproductive technologies (Hernandez Gifford and Gifford, 2013) and technologies to enhance global animal protein production (Lusk, 2013) have contributed to food security and sustainability in developing countries. Technologies used to reduce environmental impact of animal wastes associated with feeding for maximum productivity (Carter and Kim, 2013) and to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) through manure management (Montes et al., 2013) are being evaluated.
Many of these advancements that have been adopted in developed countries have had limited success in developing countries. For example, animal breeding has made significant progress in developed countries with nutrition and management developments helping those animals to express their genetic potential. However, these genetically elite animals
from developed countries have not performed or even survived when put into developing countries’ environment with existing feed, water, disease, and management conditions. Animal breeding and genetic progress should be conducted utilizing in-country indigenous breeds, especially for pastoralists and smallholder farmers. Sustainable intensive operations may successfully utilize breeds and genetic advancements that have global utilization, such as for pigs and poultry.
Typically, developing countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, have underinvested in animal science research, infrastructure, and technology. As a result, there has not been much progress in animal health, productivity, and efficiency. For example, mean aquaculture productivity in Africa in 2005, expressed as tons of fish per worker, was 5.5. In contrast, North Africa averaged 8.8 tons per worker compared to 0.5 ton per worker in sub-Saharan Africa (Valderrama et al., 2010). These areas have a high need for aquaculture to meet protein needs but low productivity. The ability to innovate, test, adapt, and adopt technologies and innovations in these countries remains marginal; however, some countries are now realizing the benefits and are investing in the assessment of these technologies. For example, Asia is exploring new technologies to improve yields and product quality, such as the use of feed enzymes, transgenic crops, and breeding of transgenic animals (Cao and Li, 2013). Latin America’s beef industry has evolved to incorporate modern technology (Millen and Arrigoni, 2013). Genomic selection for beef cattle breeding in Latin America has made some progress but has had its challenges (Montaldo et al., 2012). Uruguay’s sheep production system is a nice case study of how the adoption and intensification of technology results in a more profitable and environmentally friendly sheep production system (Montossi et al., 2013). Rege (2009) provides a discussion of the available biotechnologies with potential application in food animal improvement and identifies those that have been or may be applied in developing countries with special attention to sub-Saharan Africa (Table 4-2). There is a need to build biotechnology capacity in developing countries; however, many of these developing countries especially in sub-Saharan Africa are heavily influenced by the European Union.
TABLE 4-2 Possible Applications of Biotechnology to the Solution of Problems of Food Animal Production in Developing Countries
|Problem||Possible Solution1||Scale of Economic Impact||Probable Time to Commercial Use (years)|
|Animal diseases||New vaccines and new diagnostics||Large||<5|
|Poorquality forages||Microbial treatment of forages||Moderate||5-10|
|Modification of rumen microflora||Moderate/Large||>10|
|Genetic improvement of forages and their symbionts||Moderate||5-10|
|Difficulty of implementing selection programs||Selection of nucleus herds, using AI, ET, embryo sexing||Large||5-10|
|Difficulty of maintaining dairy cattle performance after F1 cross||Use of IVF, ET, and embryo sexing Selection among local breeds using AI, MOET||Large Medium||>10|
|Development of composite breeds||Large||>10|
|Cost and environmental challenge to imported cattle||Use of ET to import embryos||Small||<5|
|Need for increased efficiency in intensive systems||Use of rbST and rpST in dairy and pig production||Large||<5|
NOTE: AI, artificial insemination; ET, embryonic transfer; IVF, in vitro fertilization; rbST, recombinant bovine somatotropin; rpST, recombinant porcine somatotropin; MOET, multiple ovulation embryo transfer.
SOURCE: Rege (2009).
In Asia, the development of animal production largely depends on research in animal genetics, nutrition, and feed science. Cao and Li (2013) suggest the following four primary areas be investigated: (1) improved nutrient utilization, (2) enhanced carcass and other food animal product quality via optimized nutrition, (3) reducing excrement waste, and (4) use of biotechnology for improving efficiency of feed and food animal production to increase food security.
Poultry production is also a global industry providing a major source of meat in both developed and developing countries. It faces competition for feed ingredients from other animal industries such as pork and aquaculture and now biofuel. With this increased pressure, the need arises to seek out alternative feed ingredients, increase the digestibility of existing ingredients, and research ways to better utilize the fiber component of feed ingredients (D’Souza et al., 2007). Chadd (2007) discusses the future trends and developments that are needed in poultry nutrition including feed industry, feed manufacturing technology, country focus, feed intake predictability, nutrient relationships, genotype by nutrient interactions, nutrient support of immunocompetence, feed diversity and characterization, pro-nutritional factors, and redefining the systems approach. Besbes et al. (2007) provide a look at the trends for poultry genetic resources on a global basis, including regional distributions of avian breeds, attempted breeding programs for indigenous poultry, development and trends in organized poultry breeding, indigenous and commercial line selection criteria, increased demand for poultry products, increased threat of disease epidemics, environmental issues and climate, increased competition for feed resources, erosion of poultry genetic resources, and developments based on new biotechnologies. The following gaps were highlighted: (1) data on production systems, phenotypes, and molecular markers should be used in an integrated approach to characterization; (2) a comprehensive description of production environments is needed in order to better understand comparative adaptive fitness; (3) field and on-station phenotypic characterization is needed; (4) to facilitate the search for genetic variants, characterization of specific traits of local populations is needed; (5) use of a reference set of microsatellite markers is recommended; and (6) within country, or even within region, all genotyping should be concentrated in a common reference laboratory (Besbes et al., 2007).
Poultry production and the environment are reviewed by Gerber et al. (2008). The paper analyzes the global environmental impacts arising
from intensive poultry production and provides technical mitigation options involving farm management, animal waste management, nutrition management, and feed production. One must look beyond the farm level to fully understand the poultry industry’s impact on the environment. Researchers worldwide have suggested that the following technologies be researched: (1) use of exogenous enzymes to improve animal productivity (Meale et al., 2014); (2) fundamental research on the biology of birds, microbial genetics, and genetic diversity (Fulton, 2012); (3) mining of genomes and merging of genomic and quantitative approaches (Hocquette et al., 2007; Green, 2009); (4) influences of human technical, societal innovations and environments on each other (Garnett and Godfrey, 2012); (5) conversion of co-proteins into animal protein (Zijlstra and Beltranena, 2013); (6) animal models (Lantier, 2014); (7) major targets for food animal production (Hume et al., 2011); (8) current drivers and future directions for global animal disease dynamics (World Bank, 2012; Perry et al., 2013); (9) interrelatedness of environmental, biological, economic, and social dimensions of zoonotic pathogen emergence (Jones et al., 2013); (10) food animal production including recent trends and future prospects; (11) food animal science and technology as a driver of change (Thornton, 2010); and (12) major gaps in understanding of GHG emissions of seafood products (Parker, 2012).
Animal science research should be focused in world regions with low feed efficiencies and high emission intensities, such as sub-Saharan Africa and parts of South Asia and Latin America with the objective to (1) improve the efficiency of food animal production through improved feeding and management; (2) increase the sustainability of agriculture and enhance food security by researching the shifts between production systems; and (3) conduct research on which food animal should be consumed, how much is consumed, and the production system in which it is raised (Herrero et al., 2013a). Research is needed to evaluate different food animal production systems, different use of resources, tradeoffs, and land-use change (Herrero et al., 2009) and to develop sustainable intensification methods that improve efficiency gains to produce more food without using more land, water, and other inputs (Herrero et al., 2010).
On a global basis, FABRE TP (2006) advocated for a research agenda focused on the genetics and genomics of farmed species, quantitative genetics, data collection and management, operational genetics, breeding program design, numerical biology, genetics of
relevant traits, and biology of complex biological systems. Research on reproduction that underpins breeding and the effective dissemination of genetic improvement would benefits all producers. Ideally, it would build genome-to-phenotype predictive models. All world regions need to maintain a continued focus on reproductive biology and the responsible use of biotechnologies.
4-5.2 Technology Improvements
The committee is aware of several examples of animal technologies that have increased production, ranging from poultry production technologies that have dramatically increased production in virtually every region of the world to dairy production that has dramatically increased milk yield per cow. Madan (2005) notes that “the major technologies that are used effectively in livestock production in the developing world include conserving animal genetic resources, augmenting reproduction, embryo transfer and related technologies, diagnosing disease and controlling and improving nutrient availability.”
In 2008, the National Research Council published a report that addressed technologies for improving animal health and production in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia (NRC, 2008). Areas highlighted included reducing preweaning mortality; improving grass and legume forage; using existing and evolving technologies for improving animal germplasm; leapfrogging selective breeding with molecular sampling, including DNA-derived pedigrees; genetically engineering disease resistance in animals; using RNA interference for virus control; using germ cell distribution and spermatogonial stem cell transplantation; and improving health through neonatal passive immunity, animal vaccine development, and animal disease surveillance. This committee supports these previous NRC recommendations.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation chose animal health and genetics to focus on as the greatest opportunities to increase smallholder productivity. Genetics was valued at $83 million, animal health at $20 billion, and the remaining disciplines at $10 billion. Immediate benefits should be seen with the adoption of crossbreeding in cattle and in poultry (Nkrumah, 2014). Genetics and breeding technologies have also been mentioned by others (Hume et al., 2011; Thornton et al., 2011). Hume et al. (2011) predicts that there will be (1) whole-genome selection programs based on linkage disequilibrium for a wide spectrum of traits and genetic selection based on allele sharing rather than pedigree relationships to make breeding value predictions early in the life of the
sire; (2) selection will be applied to a wider range of traits, including those that are directed toward environmental outcomes; (3) reproductive technologies will advance to allow acceleration of genetic selection; (4) transgenesis and/or mutagenesis will be applied to introduce new genetic variation or desired phenotypes; and (5) there will be a shift toward more sustainable intensive integrated farming to improve efficiency. To realize the full benefits of the improvements in genetics, advances must also be made in animal health and reproductive health, proper nutrition, management, and animal comfort.
At one time, there was resistance to the use of artificial insemination, which is now commonplace in agriculture and human medicine. As Foote (2002) wrote:
At the initial stages of attempting to develop AI there were several obstacles. The general public was against research that had anything to do with sex. Associated with this was the fear that AI would lead to abnormalities. Finally, it was difficult to secure funds to support research because influential cattle breeders opposed AI, believing that this would destroy their bull market. The careful field tested research that accompanied AI soon proved to the agricultural community that the technology applied appropriately could identify superior production bulls from lethal genes, would control venereal diseases and did result in healthy calves. Thus, fear was overcome with positive facts. The extension service played an important role in distributing these facts.
Technologies that are deemed safe by regulatory authorities and that have been demonstrated not to have negative effects on animal health and welfare should be reconsidered for global use and adoption. Growth promotants have been safely used in beef cattle production for over 50 years in the United States, and bovine somatotropin has been used in lactating dairy cattle as a productivity enhancer for over two decades in the United States and other countries. These technologies contribute to enhanced food security and sustainability. Increased production, improved feed efficiency and enhanced lean tissue results in a more affordable and desirable animal protein product for the consumer. Adoption of these technologies reduces the carbon and water footprints, reduces GHGs by reducing the number of animals to produce equivalent
amounts of product, and reduces the effects of land change to feed the world (Johnson et al., 2013; Neumeier and Mitloehner, 2013). If the use of the growth technologies (i.e., steroidal implants, ionophores and in-feed hormones) were to be withdrawn in the United States, significant negative consequences on the environment and environmental sustainability would occur. Capper and Hayes (2012) stated that without these technologies, land use required to produce 454 million kg of beef would increase by 10 percent. Adopting biotechnological advancements in developing countries is important to achieve food security and environmental sustainability (Rege, 2009). Technologies, tools, and research areas to consider include:
- Technologies to reduce environmental impact of animal wastes associated with feeding and maximum productivity (Carter and Kim, 2013);
- Genetic and omics-based tools (Green, 2009; Niemann et al., 2011; Fulton, 2012; Spencer, 2013);
- Semen technologies and cryopreservation (Rodriquez-Martinez and Vega, 2013), (e.g., rapid adoption of semen sexing in developing countries such as India would accelerate genetic gain toward higher productivity, more efficient herd composition, and less waste (e.g., male calves left to starve);
- Reproductive technologies (e.g., faster genetic progress and improved fertility) (Niemann et al., 2011; Hernandez Gifford and Gifford, 2013);
- Improvement in feed efficiency, especially improved utilization of fiber (Niemann et al., 2011);
- Reduction in maintenance cost per unit of animal protein;
- Better utilization of wastes streams from other industries (e.g., human food processing and biofuels) into animal products;
- Proteomics (Lippolis and Reinhardt, 2008);
- Improved efficiency of water utilization (Beede, 2012; Doreau et al., 2012; Patience, 2012);
- Better utilization and adoption of current technologies such as biotechnology and nanotechnology, and development and adoption of new technologies (Van Eenennaam, 2006);
- Improved forage utilization (Rouquette et al., 2009); and
- Animal health (e.g., vaccines, low-cost accurate diagnostics, antibiotics, formal vaccinology, reverse vaccinology, and vaccine discovery).
Transfer of technology through effective communication is critically important to the adoption of technology. Internationally, extension or advisory personnel can play an important role in improving the productivity of animals through knowledge transfer that can increase productivity, reduce disease, and improve food quality and safety; however, key considerations for food animal advisors, in addition to having up-to-date knowledge and education skills, are the cultural and social norms that can influence access to and trust from animal producers (Meinzen-Dick et al., 2011).
The committee finds that proven technologies and innovations that are improving food security, economics, and environmental sustainability in high-income countries are not being utilized by all developed or developing countries because in some cases they may not be logistically transferrable or in other ways unable to cross political boundaries. A key barrier to technological adoption is the lack of extension to smallholder farmers about how to utilize the novel technologies for sustainable and improved production as well as to articulate smallholder concerns and needs to the research community. Research objectives to meet the challenge of global food security and sustainability should focus on the transfer of existing knowledge and technology (adoption and, importantly, adaptation where needed) to nations and populations in need, a process that may benefit from improved technologies that meet the needs of multiple, local producers. Emphasis should be placed on extension of knowledge to women in developing nations.
Research devoted to understanding and overcoming the barriers to technology adoption in developed and developing countries needs to be conducted. Focus should be on the educational and communication role of local extension and advisory personnel toward successful adoption of the technology, with particular emphasis on the training of women.
Other Research Priorities
Technology development and transfer should be focused on needs of the developing world. In the case of aquaculture, for example, the best certification efforts to realize a positive global impact for sustainable
production have been founded in diverse stakeholder input leading to the adoption of common international standards. Other research priorities in this area include:
- Following the example of aquaculture, globalwide certification systems should be developed whereby retailers and consumers will have the information to make judicious and socially responsible decisions about the purchase of more efficient and sustainable animal proteins.
- Existing technologies that are deemed safe and efficacious in the developed world should undergo research evaluations to determine whether alteration is possible to achieve feasible use and efficacy in developing countries.
- Research in genetics and breeding, reproductive technologies, and animal health in conjunction with nutrition, management, and animal welfare required to realize the benefits of the improved genetics and health must be given priority in developing countries.
4-6 Food Losses and Food Waste
Annual global food loss and waste by quantity is estimated to be 30 percent of cereals; 40-50 percent of root crops, fruits, and vegetables; 20 percent of oilseed, meat, and dairy products; and 35 percent of fish (FAO, 2014c). One-third or 1.3 billion tons of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally (Gustavsson et al., 2011). Food loss and waste are important for multiple reasons. As Buzby and Hyman (2012) summarized: (1) food is needed to feed the growing population and those already in food-insecure areas; (2) food waste represents a significant amount of money and resources; and (3) there are negative externalities (i.e., GHG emissions from cattle production, air pollution and soil erosion, and disposal of uneaten food) throughout the production of the food that affect society and the environment. A recent FAO (2013) report provides a global account of the environmental footprint of food loss and waste along the food chain with a focus on climate, water, land, and biodiversity. Results of the study included the following: (1) global amount of wasted edible food is estimated to be 1.3 gigatonnes (Gtonnes); (2) carbon footprint of food produced and not eaten, without accounting for GHG emissions from land-use change, is estimated to be 3.3 Gtonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents or third to the United States and China as the top emitters; (3) blue-water footprint of
food loss is about 250 km3; and (4) uneaten food represents 1.4 billion hectares or about 30 percent of the world’s agricultural land area.
Food is lost or wasted throughout the food chain (Figure 4-2). Food losses refer to both qualitative (i.e., reduced nutrient value and undesirable taste, texture, color, and smell) or quantitative (i.e., weight and volume) reductions in the amount of and the value of the food. Food loss represents the edible portion of food available for human consumption that is not consumed. Food waste is a subset of food loss and generally refers to the deliberate discarding of food because of human action or inaction. In developing countries, most food losses occur at the beginning of the food chain because of poor harvest technologies and poor storage and transport facilities, whereas, in developed countries, most of the food loss occurs at the end of the food chain because of wastage at wholesaling and retailing and by consumers (Lundqvist et al., 2008). Since many smallholder farmers live on the edge of food insecurity, any reduction in food loss could quickly have positive impacts on their livelihoods. This section focuses mainly on the food loss and waste of animal products.
Food losses and waste have been evaluated by commodity groups, including meat, fish, and dairy; world areas; and at different phases of
FIGURE 4-2 Areas of food losses and wastage. Illustration by Britt-Louise Andersson, SIWI.
SOURCE: Lundqvist et al. (2008). Reprinted with permission from the Stockholm International Water Institute.
the food chain (Gustavsson et al., 2011). Meat and meat product losses and wastes appeared to be about 20 percent except in sub-Saharan Africa where it was about 30 percent. Developed countries had the most severe food loss and waste at the end of the food chain with large wastage (11 percent) by retailers and consumers, especially in Europe and the United States (Figure 4-3). The relative low level of wastage during animal production (~3 percent) is due to low animal mortality. Losses in all developing regions are more evenly distributed among the food chain segments. The sub-Saharan Africa region had significantly more loss during the animal production phase (15 percent) due to higher animal mortality caused by diseases such as pneumonia, digestive diseases and parasites. All developing countries had more meat loss (10-12 percent) during the processing and distribution phases of the food chain as compared to the developed countries (9 percent).
Fish and seafood losses appeared to be about 30 percent, except for the region of North America and Oceania where food losses were about 50 percent (Figure 4-4). For all three industrialized regions, food losses in production due to discard rates were between 9 and 15 percent of marine catches compared to 6-8 percent in developing countries. High losses (19-24 percent) from the combined processing and distribution stages were explained by the high level of deterioration occurring during fresh-fish and seafood distribution in the developing countries.
FIGURE 4-3 Initial production lost or wasted for meat products at different stages in the food chain in different regions of the world.
SOURCE: Gustavsson et al. (2011). Reprinted with permission of FAO.
Dairy product food loss and waste were the lowest in Europe and industrialized Asia (11-13 percent), the highest in sub-Saharan Africa (27 percent), and between 21 to 24 percent in the remaining world regions (Figure 4-5). The North America and Oceania region had the highest wastage at consumption of 15 percent compared to 7 percent or less for the other world regions. For all developing regions, milk wastage was relatively high at postharvest handling and storage (6-11 percent) and in distribution (8-10 percent).
FIGURE 4-4 Initial catch (fish and seafood harvested) discarded, lost, and wasted in different world regions and at different stages in the food chain.
SOURCE: Gustavsson et al. (2011). Reprinted with permission of FAO.
FIGURE 4-5 Initial milk and dairy product lost or wasted for each world region at different stages in the food chain.
SOURCE: Gustavsson et al. (2011). Reprinted with permission of FAO.
Strategies to reduce food losses and waste will differ depending on the animal product and whether the country is developed or developing. Major gains could be expected in developing countries with research focused on (1) animal production in the developing countries and especially in sub-Saharan Africa; (2) postharvest handling and storage, especially with dairy products and fish and seafood; (3) processing and packaging for fish and seafood; and (4) distribution. For developed countries, research needs to focus on the fisheries and the retailer and consumer. All world regions would benefit from research focused on extending the animal product shelf life and product safety.
Hodges et al. (2010) reported on the postharvest losses and wastes in developed and developing countries and strategies to reduce food losses and wastes in each of the two global segments. These strategies included 1) provide incentives to reduce food loss and waste; 2) conduct consumer education campaigns to increase consumer knowledge and awareness; 3) provide more mechanization; 4) adopting/adapting improved technologies; 5) better infrastructure to connect smallholders to markets; 6) more effective value chains that provide financial incentives at the producer level; and 7) public and private sectors sharing investment costs and risks in market-orient interventions. In developing countries, new technologies can be introduced through innovation systems and learning alliances, but direct or indirect benefits need to be clearly visible and measureable (Hodges et al., 2010).
Animal product losses and wastes range from 10 to 50 percent depending on the region of the world and the animal product of focus (e.g., dairy, meat, or seafood product). A reduction in edible animal product waste can have a significant positive impact of meeting the food security needs and improving the environment. This is especially true for developing countries where the demand for food will increase as a result of the surge in projected population growth by 2050.
Global animal protein product loss and waste ranges between 20 and 30 percent. Across all world regions, caught fish have the highest food loss and waste (30 percent) compared to meat and milk (20 percent). While total animal product loss is similar between developed and developing countries, developed countries produce more waste at the end of the food chain, whereas developing countries produce more waste at the beginning of the food chain. Also, animal product loss varies by type: milk and dairy product loss was consistently greater in developing
countries than in developed countries. One research priority in this area includes:
- A holistic research approach by region and animal product type must be conducted to identify those areas in the food chain where reduction of food loss can be substantial so that the greatest return on investment can be realized.
4-7 Infrastructure Related to Food Security Concerns
4-7.1 Health and Diseases
The World Bank (2012) analyzed and assessed the benefits and cost of controlling zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic diseases account for 70 percent of emerging infectious diseases, and the cost of the six major outbreaks that have occurred between 1997 and 2009 was $80 billion. If the outbreaks had been prevented, the accrued benefits would have averaged $6.7 billion per year. One Health (the collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals and the environment) is needed to provide effective surveillance, diagnosis, and control of zoonotic diseases. The annual funding needed for the major zoonotic disease prevention and control system in developing countries to achieve OIE and WHO standards (referred to as One Health Systems) ranges from $1.9 billion to $3.4 billion. These funds would be spent among 60 low-income and 79 middle-income countries. Cost-benefit analysis indicates that an annual investment of $3.4 billion would yield an expected rate of return that ranges between 44 and 71 percent based on half or all mild pandemics being prevented. If only one in five pandemics were prevented, then the rate of return would be 14 percent; however, the funding has been spent with no new funding initiative in place.
Veterinary professionals throughout the world, mainly through their animal health services, are faced with having to fulfill a crucial role in protecting their country’s animal health status, providing sound surveillance information on the occurrence of diseases within their territories, and conducting scientifically valid risk analyses to establish justified import requirements. The majority of these tasks and activities require sound research with the aim of identifying approaches and alternatives for disease management.
As a consequence to opening trade and the signing of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade SPS Agreement, the world started to take a different shape, especially in the early 1990s. Animal health
programs were in the spotlight because the primary issue that would facilitate or impede the trade of animals and their products was their effect on the safety and health of humans, animals, and plants. Comprehensive surveillance, quantitative disease indices, and science-based risk analysis were a few of the new terms that emerged during this critical time. Modifications and adjustments to some existing scientific tools for these demanded activities require further research and transfer of technology to various parts of the world, particularly in the developing countries (Salman, 2009).
During the last two decades, the largest hurdle facing animal health has been the lack of resources available to combat several emerging and reemerging infectious diseases. Because of recent events, particularly those associated with public health, more resources than ever before are currently being directed toward pressing animal heath challenges. The available funds, however, are mainly directed at specific high-profile infectious diseases instead of animal diseases in general. Nevertheless, these resources provide an excellent opportunity to improve the infrastructure of national and global animal health programs. The emergence of diseases that receive the attention of the public and of policy makers requires technically reliable disease investigation and case findings. There also are requirements for a scientifically based approach to trade and assessing risk. Furthermore, international financial institutions have more involvement in shaping government veterinary services and have several requirements to justify plans of action.
Infrastructure is lacking in developing countries, specifically a lack of disease specialists and diagnostic laboratory facilities that would include focus on the etiology of diseases. According to Kelly et al. (2013), there is a major deficit of veterinarians involved in strategic planning at USAID and they were aware of only one veterinarian. The World Bank, with 9,000 employees working in 124 countries of the developing world, has only five veterinarians on staff. FAO has a professional staff of 1,847 that includes 27 veterinarians with only one being a U.S. veterinary college graduate. The Director General of the OIE has noted the inadequacy of veterinary education in most OIE member countries and has emphasized the importance of improving the quality of veterinary education. This is an opportunity for veterinary professionals in developed countries to provide collaborations to meet this unmet need. Translational research activities and outreach programs are required for these developing countries in order to satisfy the international animal health and food safety requirements.
There is consensus that infectious diseases are important and will continue to retain this status. Perry et al. (2013) considered two drivers that exert the greatest influence on food animal disease dynamics: increase in population size and prosperity and demand-driven increase in the consumption of animal products. They identified three trajectories: (1) intensified and worried well of the Western world; (2) intensifying and increasing market-oriented sectors of the developing world hot spots; and (3) smallholder systems dependent on traditional food animal–derived livelihoods (i.e., cold spots). Within each of these trajectories, animal health status and drive summary, animal health risks, animal health service response needs, and key drivers were determined (Table 4-3). The small- and medium-sized emergent intensifiers were identified as the hottest of the hot spots in terms of animal health risks, with high densities of animals occurring in close proximity to people.
In the majority of countries and for good reason, most public funding is given to the concerns of human health with limited focus on the animal health side. This limited funding toward animal health is one of the major factors in the spread of zoonotic diseases globally. A good example of the imbalance of resource allocation is evident in the spread of global avian influenza (AI). Far more resources have been given to the detection and control of spread of AI in human populations with relatively limited resources dedicated to the animal side, even though the disease can be prevented if the focus is on the animal side.
Aquaculture is still developing in Africa, and although it is concentrated in a few countries, it already produces an estimated value of almost $3 billion annually (FAO, 2014a). This level cannot grow and be sustained without research into the problems of disease and effective training to manage disease outbreaks. Mechanisms for biosecurity, including proper surveillance, need to be established. This need was well documented by Reantaso et al. (2002) in an animal health assessment of small-scale aquaculture practices in Southern Lao PDR.
Once new diseases arise, an early response including detection commonly ensues only after a protracted period of time has expired and extensive losses have already occurred. Funding for aquatic animal disease research is lacking (Subasinghe et al., 2001). A substantial amount of USAID funds are currently used to work with producers. However, a more effective approach resides in the development of appropriate infrastructure to establish biosecurity and preventive measure programs (USAID, 2013). Most of the disease problems are caused by
poor management practices and the lack of sufficient understanding of the pathogen and the pathogen-host relationship.
TABLE 4-3 Animal Health and Service Response by Trajectory
|Trajectory||Animal Health Status and Drivers Summary||Animal Health Risks||Animal Health Service Response Needs||Key Drivers|
|Intensified and worried well of the Western world||Well-controlled endemic disease||Increased drug resistance||Better surveillance, including for new diseases||Concerns over quality, safety, and animal welfare|
|Changing and often stretched private health service to livestock enterprises||Expanded distribution of vector-borne and other pathogens||Appropriate and acceptable disease control measures||Climate change|
|Heightened public awareness||Multisector economic impacts of disease incursions or scares||Incentives to develop new animal health products|
|Intensifying and increasingly market-oriented sectors of the developing world hot spots||Real/perceived threat from the rest of world Increasing intensification and widening of trading partnerships in an environment of endemic disease risk||Endemic disease outbreaks||Greater private-sector response capacity through vertical integration and other models||Livestock revolution (demand-driven intensification)|
|Presence of several major infectious diseases||Inability to prevent and contain disease in the broader county and regional environment||Greater interface with public-sector health authorities||Changing patterns of global trade|
|Trajectory||Animal Health Status and Drivers Summary||Animal Health Risks||Animal Health Service Response Needs||Key Drivers|
|Absence of effective veterinary infrastructure||Unachievable standards imposed by international authorities or trading partners||Greater interface with public-sector health authorities||Urbanization|
|Limited voice in national animal health programs||Emergence of new disease Erosion of genetic resources associated with disease resistance|
|Smallholder systems dependent on traditional livestock-derived livelihoods (cold spots)||Severity constrained economically||Multiple endemic diseases||Specific services targeted at smallholder and marginal producers||Population growth|
|Limited livestock/feed/health resources||Limited or no movement controls||Well-coordinated national systems bringing in NGO, private, and donor-supported services||Climate variability|
|Multiple endemic diseases||Provides source of infection to market-oriented trajectory||Particular attention to preparedness and response to shocks|
|Often in harsh environments Inadequate or total absence of animal health services||Highest vulnerability to zoonotic disease|
SOURCE: Perry et al. (2013).
For aquaculture systems, more research needs to be conducted to address the systems-specific loss due to disease. Disease can dramatically affect production. For example, early mortality syndrome in shrimp species, first reported in China in 2009, then spreading to other Asian countries such as Thailand and Vietnam, led to Thai shrimp production falling by 40 percent. In some cases, some farms lost 70 percent of the expected harvest (Waite et al., 2014). Financial losses attributed to disease are substantial. During the 1990s and the first decade of 2000, estimated losses due to some selected diseases in Asia and South America ranged from $15 million to $650 million (Reantaso et al., 2006). Given this magnitude of socioeconomic impact, financial support for research, surveillance, and control programs would provide a substantial return on investment.
There must be a new direction in meeting the challenges of aquatic animal disease because the practices of control and response that are currently being used by producers in developing countries are not based on the biology of the disease organisms but rather on what antibiotics might be conveniently available. Effective technology transfer cannot be realized when critical knowledge is lacking. The identified need is a comprehensive, step-by-step process whereby an understanding of the process is gained through research such that specific and significant control strategies can be developed and implemented. One of the needs to achieve economically viable aquaculture is the technology to address disease problems through research that yields results that lead to the improved health of cultured species.
For diseases in cultured fish, a specific model needs to be developed whereby an understanding of the basic interaction of host, agents, and their environment can be achieved. The zebrafish is an excellent candidate to serve as a model, providing the essential control to establish an understanding of basic disease mechanisms that would lead to the prescription of appropriate therapeutic and ultimately prophylactic solutions whereby disease loss in aquaculture systems is averted. Another example is the crisis facing the Chilean salmon industry resulting from the outbreak of salmonid rickettsial syndrome (Box 4-5). Effective response to disease lies in a proactive approach whereby prevention measures should have a priority over treatment, arising from a basic knowledge of the mechanisms including the interaction of host, disease agent, and environment.
Chilean Salmon Industry Threatened by Salmonid Rickettsial Syndrome (SRS)
First reported in Chile in 1989, SRS manifests as an aggressive infection affecting salmon kidneys, spleen, liver, intestine, brain, ovary, and gill integrity (Martinez et al., 2014). The pathogen causing this disease can be transmitted between fish through touch or shared water, resulting in 30-90 percent mortality in Chilean seawater netpen-raised coho salmon (Iowa State University, 2014) and economic losses of up to $10 million per year for the Chilean salmon farming industry (Martinez et al., 2014). Although lower mortality rates have been recorded in other parts of the world, it has been noted that SRS is being found in increasing numbers of farm-raised salmon worldwide (Iowa State University, 2014). New preventive measures such as sea lice baths to curb the spread of SRS have been introduced by regulatory bodies in Chile, and while these measures may help curb mortality, they have also significantly increased the production costs of Chilean salmon with the industry now dependent on prices staying high (Stewart and Tallaksen, 2013). Peter Bridson, the aquaculture research manager for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, was quoted as saying that the challenged posed by SRS is large, and that a vaccine is the only possible solution that does not involve increased antibiotics use (Wright, 2014). Chile used 993,000 pounds of aquaculture antibiotics in 2013, and has attracted concern due to their heavy dependence on the use of these antibiotics (Wright, 2014). The outbreak of SRS poses a significant problem for salmon farming, and an effective vaccine is needed for the Chilean salmon fishing industry.
There is a critical need for the capacity to support and enhance the national animal health programs in developing countries through research on infectious diseases in agricultural animals, especially in using this research as models to gain knowledge about emerging diseases in animals (Lantier, 2014) and for infectious diseases in humans (Roberts et al., 2009; Lanzas et al., 2010). Moreover, in developing countries, there is a limited number of veterinarians who specialize in fish health. A short-term solution lies in establishing fish health inspectors—individuals with doctorates in animal/veterinary science who have earned a fish health certification. Resources are available to provide a
mechanism for global fish health certification through the Fish Health Section of the American Fisheries Society.
An example of global prospective of animal health and its importance is the transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) diseases. TSE, particularly scrapie, has been recognized in animal populations for more than two centuries (Gavier-Widen et al., 2005). There was little emphasis placed on the TSEs until the recognition of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in dairy cattle in the United Kingdom in 1986. Several unique characteristics and factors associated with BSE made it a concern for researchers, regulators, policy makers, social scientists, and the general public. Without doubt, BSE has been the most important international veterinary disease in the last 20 years with an impact on national and international economics, trade, and public health (Salman, 2004; Salman et al., 2012).
As with many animal health issues, it is the association of BSE with a neurologic disease of humans, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), that had given it such a high-profile status. The complexity and seriousness of BSE has significantly stimulated those in global animal health to increase the scope of their view and what their role in control of BSE will be. Factors such as the safety of food animal feed supply, the impact on public health, and the effort as well as the expense required to protect the human and pet food supply and the environment from the infectious agent require vast amounts of information from areas not usually dealt with by the veterinary community. The veterinary role in public health maintained for the last three centuries “from stable to table” has expanded to “from conception to consumption.” Although scrapie in sheep had not received much emphasis in veterinary research, during the last couple of decades, it has come to be recognized that the prion associated with scrapie is thought to be similar to the agent causing BSE. There is limited knowledge about the persistence of the BSE agent and its impact on contamination of soil, air, water, and plants. We have learned that previous protocols for cleaning, disinfection, and biosecurity measures that were developed to control environmental contamination with viruses and bacteria have to be modified. Conventional methods for cleaning and disinfection require additional steps to inactivate the prion, the etiological agent of BSE. Infected carcasses require different precautionary measures in carcass disposition. Thus, research and technology transfer relevant to these topics are needed. The link of this disease to human health and specifically to the neuropathological manifestations in both humans and animals has built several bridges
between human and veterinary medicine. This is reflected in the need for research collaborations by both human and veterinary professionals. The medical community at large now seeks much of their information about this disease through veterinarians and their associates (Salman, 2004).
The strong scientific evidence of the association between the contamination of cattle feed with infected materials and the presence of BSE has highlighted the importance of veterinarians maintaining a role in the decisions and recommendations regarding the nutrition of animals. The role of nutritional advisor for producers has largely been usurped by other fields of specialty. Such scientific and professional activities of veterinarians are gaining more attention from both the veterinary community and users of this type of service, such as food animal producers and feed companies (Salman, 2004).
Grace et al. (2012) identified key hotspots for zoonoses in the world. Diseases were prioritized based on the burden of human disease, impacts on food animal production and productivity, amenability to intervention, and concern about the severity of emergence. They identified 24 zoonoses that hold importance in reference to poor people and focused on 13 of them. Maps of the poor food animal keepers, food animal systems, vulnerability to climate change, and emerging disease events were presented. Key findings of the study included: (1) there is a lack of evidence on zoonoses presence, prevalence, drivers, and impact; (2) literature is one of the best ways of understanding what diseases are present and their impact; (3) recent advances in technology (e.g., biorepositories, genomics, and e-technologies) offer opportunities to improve the understanding of zoonoses epidemiology and control; (4) a relatively small number of countries, such as India, Ethiopia, and Nigeria have a disproportionate share of poor food animal keepers and the corresponding burden of zoonoses; and (5) the relationship between poverty and food animal keeping with emerging zoonotic events has not been obvious, such as the role that bush meat has played in the Ebola outbreak (Box 4-6).
As seafood consumption increases globally, and the proportional contribution of seafood from aquaculture production increases, the possibility of contraction of zoonotic infections increases accordingly. Haenen et al. (2013) reviewed human cases of zoonoses arising from pathogenic organisms affecting fish and shellfish. The committee agrees that areas for further research include: (1) the relationship between controlling zoonoses and benefits to increasing access to emerging markets; (2) the implications of intensification and emerging markets for
zoonoses; (3) models for zoonoses control in emerging markets; (4) ecosystem models for management of zoonoses with a wildlife interface; (5) improvement of surveillance for existing and new diseases; (6) impacts of multiple burdens of zoonoses and the ability to better allocate resources; and (7) technologies and innovation for detection, diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and response.
Jones et al. (2013) reviewed the literature on the effect of agricultural intensification and related environmental changes on the risk of zoonoses and found several examples in which agricultural intensification and/or environmental change were associated with an increased risk of zoonotic disease emergence; however, the evidence was not sufficient to judge whether or not the net effect of intensified agricultural production would have enhanced disease emergence or amplification. Future research is needed to address the complexity and interrelationships of environmental, biological, economic, and social dimensions of zoonotic disease emergence and amplification.
Fruit Bats as a Possible Source of Ebola Virus Outbreak in Guinea
In March 2014, attention was called to the emergence of a mysterious, highly fatal disease in rural Guinea, which quickly spread to the capital city of Conakry and subsequently to surrounding countries as individuals passed the contagion in this travel hub. Ultimately identified as the Ebola virus, the outbreak likely stemmed from an original case back in December 2013 (Baize et al., 2014). There is currently no direct therapy for Ebola virus, and fatality rates have reached up to 90 percent in the nine recorded outbreaks since the discovery of the disease in 1976 (Gatherer, 2014). Locals in Guinea and throughout much of western Africa often hunt and consume giant fruit bats as bushmeat. Recent studies indicate, however, that this can be an extremely high-risk practice. Specific species of bats have been identified as reservoirs for the virus (Leroy et al., 2005; Gatherer, 2014). This means that the bats carry the disease, but are entirely unaffected and remain without clinical signs. Assessment of the strain in Guinea, which never experienced an outbreak before 2014, indicated that the virus was known to be harbored by bats with the potential to make the jump to humans (Baize et al., 2014; Gatherer, 2014). In an effort to curb the spread, Guinean officials banned the consumption of bats and temporarily shut down the
weekly markets at which locals purchase bushmeat (BBC, 2014). Despite these measures, the Guinean outbreak spread at an unprecedented rate across three countries, mainly due to the lack of hygiene and appropriate health delivery systems. Consumption of improperly cooked bushmeat likely contributed to one of the most devastating, urban pandemics in recent history (BBC, 2014; Gatherer, 2014). This scenario serves as a harrowing example of the possibilities surrounding cross-species infection; the implications regarding food safety and quality are clear. Additionally, the establishment of effective animal agricultural infrastructure in the region could facilitate dramatic change not only in diet, but also health security for the local population.
Zoonotic diseases account for 70 percent of emerging infectious diseases. The cost of the six major outbreaks that have occurred between 1997 and 2009 was $80 billion. During the last two decades, the greatest challenge facing animal health has been the lack of resources available to combat several emerging and reemerging infectious diseases. The current level of animal production in many developing countries cannot increase and be sustained without research into the incidence and epidemiology of disease and effective training to manage disease outbreaks, including technically reliable disease investigation and case findings. Infrastructure is lacking in developing countries to combat animal and zoonotic diseases, specifically a lack of disease specialists and diagnostic laboratory facilities that would include focus on the etiology of diseases. There is a lack of critical knowledge about zoonoses’ presence, prevalence, drivers, and impact. Recent advances in technology offer opportunities for improving the understanding of zoonoses epidemiology and control.
Research, education (e.g., training in biosecurity), and appropriate infrastructures should be enhanced in developing countries to alleviate the problems of animal diseases and zoonoses that result in enormous losses to animal health, animal producer livelihoods, national and regional economies, and human health.
Other Research Priorities
Aquaculture veterinarians are critically lacking in developing countries where aquaculture is an important part of livelihood, and fish
diseases result in enormous economic losses. One research priority in this area includes:
- For diseases in cultured fish, research should be directed to the identification of a specific model that can be confidently used as a standard to develop an understanding of the basic interaction of host, agents, and their environment. The lack of veterinarians specifically trained in aquatic diseases should be temporarily alleviated through a certification program in aquatic animal health disease for individuals who are PhDs in animal/veterinary science.
4-7.2 Land-Constraint Considerations
In the United States, where only small amounts of land remain available for large-scale conversion to crop production, future improvement in meat, milk, and egg production must be achieved through enhanced efficiencies and intensification and more effective use of marginal lands for feed and forage production. Such improvements will require continued innovation in genetics and breeding, reproduction, animal health and nutrition, management, and production of feedstuffs. Rangeland and pastureland, which can be poor choices for cropping, will continue to be optimal for use in cow-calf and small-ruminant operations to harvest the grass as meat. Reduced yields of corn, barley, wheat, soybeans, and other feedstuffs arise from using organic production methodologies. Thus, more land would be required in organic farming of these crops to maintain equivalent production compared to use of conventional farming techniques (Seufert et al., 2012). Organic production of meat, milk, and eggs may be viable on a local scale in developed and developing countries, but cannot be sustainable on a national or global scale because of the much lower corn, soybean, and wheat yields (Seufert et al., 2012; Rosegrant et al., 2014) and some animal production yields, such as milk. Stiglbauer et al. (2013) surveyed 192 organic and 100 conventional dairy farms in New York, Oregon, and Wisconsin and reported that cows on organic farms produced 43 percent less milk per day than conventional nongrazing cows and 25 percent less than conventional grazing herds.
In contrast, Badgley et al. (2007) reported higher yields for organically produced grains in developing countries and slightly lower yields in developed countries over conventionally grown crops. They concluded that organic agriculture has the potential to contribute quite substantially to global food supply and that leguminous cover crops could fix enough nitrogen to replace the amount of synthetic fertilizer
currently in use. However, the Badgley paper has been criticized for the following: (1) using organic crop yields from systems receiving very large amounts of nitrogen from animal manure compared to lower nitrogen inputs in the conventional system; (2) use of unrepresentative low conventional crop yields in the comparison; (3) failing to consider reduction of yield over time due to rotations with nonfood cover crops; (4) comparison of systems that did not receive the same amount of concern for management practices; (5) inclusion of nonorganic yields in the comparison; (6) multiple counting of high organic yields; and (7) inclusion of unverifiable sources from the grey literature (Seufert et al., 2012). Similarly, Allan Savory and his colleagues have developed and popularized approaches to grassland grazing and have reported local benefits. But there is controversy that needs to be resolved as to whether such approaches are efficacious over the long term or can be scaled up in a way that would have significant global benefits (Savory and Butterfield, 1999; Sherren et al., 2012; Briske et al, 2008, 2014).
Based on the results of Seufert et al. (2012) and Rosegrant et al. (2014) and a constant-to-declining base of U.S. cropland, corn, soybeans, and wheat yields would be significantly less on a regional, national, or global level under an organic program compared to conventional. This deficit is currently small to negligible because less than 1 percent of the U.S. cropland is under organic production. There are local areas where organic methods can produce as much or even more than conventional methods, but the scalability over widely diverse conditions is debatable. Any grain deficit resulting from the use of the organic program would have to be made up through converting more land to crop production or through imports that negatively impact the U.S. trade balance and land use globally. The importing option could have a negative effect on the overall carbon footprint of animal protein production. Land constraints imposed by the continuing growth of crop production for fuel, conversion of cropland to nonagricultural uses, and the impacts of climate change along with government regulations, such as public and environmental policies, will impact the rate of gain needed in improved efficiencies in the production of meat, milk, and eggs. The more constraints that are imposed on the food animal sector, the faster new technological innovations to enhance food animal production will be needed. It is important to have a variety of agricultural systems to provide products for niche markets.
Globally, meat, milk, and egg production can continue to increase using existing technologies as long as there is land available for
feedstuffs and the competition for available land relative to biofuel production, environmental limits, or impacts due to changing climate conditions are minimal; however, in developing countries where populations and meat, milk, and egg consumption are predicted to increase, there will be a limited ability to change land use at a rate necessary to meet demand without significant negative environmental effects. Thus, developing countries will either maintain their traditional extensification methods and rely on increased imports of meat, milk, and eggs from developed countries or rely increasingly on imported feedstuffs from developed countries to transition to a more sustainable intensification of their food animal systems to meet food security needs. If developing countries turn to imports of animal protein to meet their food security needs, the United States and other developed countries will become the primary global sources of animal protein and will need to achieve an even greater increase in production efficiency to meet future global animal protein needs. Traditional extensification could result in increased animal protein production through better health, genetics, and feedstuffs. On the other hand, if developing countries transition to a more sustainable intensification of food animal production, infrastructure will need to be improved and an increase in country capacity for animal research to improve production and efficiency while minimizing the environmental impact will be required. The growth of intensive aquaculture systems in developing countries has little possibility unless the availability and level of technology can be effectively provided. Successful intensification can only be achieved through concomitant growth in support facilities and services and the availability of investment funds (Box 4-7).
Increasing Sustainable Practices in Thai Shrimp Farming
Shrimp importation has become a substantial component of the U.S. seafood market. The United States imported $3.8 billion worth of shrimp in 2009, with the largest share (35 percent) of imported shrimp originating from Thailand (Miranda, 2010). As a result, the quality of Thai shrimp and the practices of Thailand’s shrimping industry are of interest to U.S. consumers. Thailand has a large amount of coastline, which when combined with relatively low wages and government tax incentives, created a favorable environment for the development of a shrimping industry (Szuster, 2006). The adoption of semi-intensive farming
practices saw a “boom” in Thai shrimp production in the late 1980s and early 1990s (Szuster, 2006), but this industry has since experienced a rise in sustainability concerns. In 1996, the production boom reached a plateau and the shrimp industry began to face obstacles such as viral diseases (Smith, 1999) as well as concerns about the salinization of freshwater and the abandonment of shrimp ponds which made the need for better sustainability practices evident (Dierberg and Kiattisimkul, 1996). Measures such as the substitution of white shrimp instead of the native black tiger shrimp to combat disease concerns (Lebel et al., 2010) and limiting water discharges from shrimp ponds into the surrounding environment (Miranda, 2010) have been effective steps used to decrease the negative environmental effects of shrimp aquaculture. These actions combined with oversight and NGO-containing committees addressing topics such as feed use and biodiversity concerns (World Wildlife Fund, 2014) are moving the Thai shrimp industry in a more sustainable direction, while facilitating intensive farming practices to meet international consumer demand.
The current rate of transformation of land by agriculture is unsustainable. The suitability of land for animal agriculture will continue to change due to long-term land uses (including uses that compete with animal production) and climate change. In addition, land constraints will affect the rate of gain needed to realize improved efficiencies in the production of meat, milk, and eggs. One research priority in this area includes:
- Improve estimations and projections of land-use constraints regarding global animal protein needs and establish optimal mixes of animal and plant agriculture to meet food security needs.
4-8 Global Environmental Change
Animal agriculture will remain critical for the food and economic security of billions of people around the world over the next 40 years. While the projected increase in both population and incomes will drive demand growth for animal products, animal agriculture will be simultaneously constrained by and contribute to global environmental change. Global environmental change refers to the entirety of changes, both natural and anthropogenic in origin, under way in the earth system.
In the developing world, animal agricultural systems will continue to transition from extensive, pastoral systems to mixed and intensive systems over the next few decades (Herrero et al., 2009). Because intensification typically increases production efficiency, decreases land requirements per calorie produced, and lowers environmental impact intensities (e.g., CO2-equivalent emissions per kilogram of meat), the transition toward more intensive systems will likely have environmental benefits (Capper, 2011; Rendón-Huerta et al., 2014). There are potential negative impacts, however, on ecosystem services due to intensification, including nutrient loading and pollution due to insufficient land availability to recycle animal waste (Gerber et al., 2013). Additionally, increased animal densities without the development of proper disease surveillance practices and regulations could lead to increased risk of zoonotic disease outbreaks (Herrero and Thornton, 2013).
The need to increase productivity while simultaneously ensuring negative environmental impacts that do not threaten the food security and well-being of future generations has led many to call for sustainable intensification of animal production systems. Sustainable intensification is a new and evolving concept and is about optimizing productivity and a range of environmental and possible other outcomes (Garnett and Godfray, 2012). Barriers to sustainable intensification exist due to constraints of infrastructure, capital, knowledge, and technology transfer (Pretty et al., 2011; Garnett et al., 2013). While the concept of sustainable intensification has been evolving in the past few years, it is now widely acknowledged that the concept encompasses more than just improving productivity and efficiency, but also includes creating the necessary incentives and investments for systems to intensify, and developing regulations and limits for intensifying systems (i.e., animal welfare standards) among other considerations (Herrero and Thornton, 2013). Additionally, when considering the sustainable intensification of animal systems, there are tradeoffs between environmental impacts and the livelihoods of smallholders, which require further research to better inform policy debates (Herrero et al., 2009).
Globally, animal agriculture relies on synthetic fertilizers for crop production including nitrogen and phosphorus. Most nitrogen fertilizer is derived from the Haber-Bosch process, which utilizes molecular nitrogen from the atmosphere. Synthetic nitrogen fertilizer has allowed food productivity to make significant increases over the past several decades; however, the widespread use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer has also led to an increase in reactive nitrogen in the environment (Gruber and
Galloway, 2008). Increased reactive nitrogen can have negative implications for human and ecosystem health (Townsend et al., 2003). Phosphorus fertilizer is dependent on the mining of phosphate rock, which means synthetic phosphorus fertilizer has resource supply constraints compared to synthetic nitrogen fertilizer (Cordell et al., 2009). In the case of both nutrients, improved feed conversion efficiency and more efficient use and recycling of nutrients in crop production systems, including improved integration of crop and animal production systems, can mitigate negative environmental consequences (Bouwman et al., 2013).
Additionally, as stated in prior sections, global trade is becoming ever more important in animal agriculture and will continue to grow in the next 40 years. A potential unintended consequence of the global trade of animal products and feedstuffs is the movement and concentration of nutrients around the world, consequently altering nutrient cycles and leading to environmental change (e.g., eutrophication; Bouwman and Booij, 1998; Cordell et al., 2009). While the Green Revolution increased the use of new technologies, including fertilizers, by farmers around the world, policy incentives for and knowledge transfer on the judicious use and potential negative consequences of overuse of synthetic fertilizers were lacking in many cases (Pingali, 2012). As a consequence, although the transition to modern agricultural practices increased food production, the transition to those practices also led to environmental damage such as the degradation of water quality, salinization of soils, increased soil erosion, and loss of native habitats (Foley et al., 2005). The environmental tradeoffs of the Green Revolution illustrate the need for a more nuanced, systematic approach to meet future global animal protein demand. A focus on knowledge and technology transfer will be crucial to avoid or mitigate negative environmental consequences of intensifying animal production.
The infrastructure to address the environmental consequences of animal agriculture is inadequate in many developing countries. Often in developing countries, there is a tradeoff between animal production and resultant livelihoods and environmental and societal impacts of production. Research priorities in this area include:
- Develop and conduct tradeoff analyses of increasing productivity of animal production in regard to environment, environmental change, social issues, and livelihoods.
- Technologies of improved production should be matched by research based on human-environment conditions in the areas where they are to be introduced.
4-8.1 Climate Change and Variability
As discussed from a U.S. perspective in Chapter 3, climate change and variability will present challenges to maintaining or improving the productivity of animal agriculture. Additionally, climate change will affect food security through its impacts on plant agriculture. Bloom et al. (2014) reported that under conditions of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide, protein concentrations declined an average of 8 percent in wheat, rice, potato, and barley. All of the impacts of climate change and variability will not be negative nor will they be equitably distributed geospatially (De Silva and Soto, 2009; Lobell and Gourdji, 2012). For example, in tropical and subtropical regions, increased temperatures may translate into increase growth in aquaculture systems, while in temperate zones an increase in temperature may exceed the optimal temperature range for currently cultured organisms (De Silva and Soto, 2009). Climate change has significant impacts on feed quantity and quality, animal and rangeland biodiversity, distribution of diseases, management practices, and production systems (Herrero et al., 2009). Adaptation of animal agriculture to climatic change and variability will need to occur. Climate change will have less effect on intensified animal systems than on extensive and intensive grassland systems because of the higher degree of environmental control in many intensive animal housing systems. Droughts will force poor pastoralist and agropastoralist to sell animals and diversity (Gustavsson et al., 2011)
Climate is an important factor in animal diseases and health (Lubroth, 2012); however, our knowledge about the impact of climate change and variability on animal disease and health is deficient (Nardone et al., 2010; Heffernan et al., 2012). Literature reviews have been conducted to address the question of how climate change affects animal disease, health, reproduction, and production systems (Nardone et al., 2010; Heffernan et al., 2012), but no clear conclusions can be drawn on the effects on animal disease and health. Nardone et al. (2010) pointed out that more food animal mortality due to heat stress has been observed with increased temperature, higher incidence of mastitis has been observed during hot weather, and, indirectly, more mycotoxins have been observed in feedstuffs. High environmental temperatures also negatively
affect reproductive efficiency and animal performance in both sexes (St-Pierre et al., 2003).
Heffernan et al. (2012) identified the following knowledge gaps that need to be addressed: (1) the role of extra-climate factors on animal health, such as management issues and socioeconomic factors, and how they interplay with climate change impacts; (2) greater cross-fertilization across topics or disciplines and methods within and between the field of animal health and allied subjects; (3) a stronger evidence-base via the increased collection of empirical data in order to inform both scenario planning and future predictions regarding animal health and climate change; and (4) the need for new and improved methods to both elucidate uncertainty and explicate the direct and indirect causal relationships between climate change and animal infections. An integrated approach is needed to make the necessary advancements in the effect of climate change on animal diseases. Nardone et al. (2010) suggested that the following must occur: (1) all animal scientists must collaborate closely with colleagues of other disciplines, first with agronomists, then physicists, meteorologists, engineers, and economists; (2) selection of animals must be oriented toward robustness and adaptability to heat stress; (3) new techniques for cooling systems need to be developed; (4) new indices that are more complete than the thermal heat index need to be developed to evaluate the climatic effects on animal species; and (5) water-conserving technologies need to be developed and applied.
According to Hoffmann (2010), breeding goals may have to be adjusted to account for higher temperatures, lower-quality feed, and greater disease challenge. There may need to be a shift to species and breeds that are better adapted to the climate. Depending on the demand for food, there may need to be a shift to more efficient converters of feed in meat, milk, and eggs such as monogastrics and different breeds of poultry and ruminants. To be able to accomplish this, it is critical that animal genetic diversity be secured and better characterized. This will require a more complete compilation of breed inventories, better characterization of the production environments associated with each breed, more effective conservation measures, genetic improvement targeting adaptive traits in high output and performance traits in locally adapted breeds, increased support for developing countries in their management of animal genetic resources, and wider access to genetic resources and associated knowledge (Hoffmann, 2010). Along with genetic diversity in animal systems, production system diversity will be
critical for meeting environmental objectives and for managing risk in the face of climate change and variability, and there is a case to be made for not maximizing production efficiency at all costs everywhere (Herrero and Thornton, 2013). Further information on the effects of climate change on animal agriculture is available in the reviews of Hopkins and del Prado (2007), Tubiello et al. (2007), and Thornton et al. (2009).
Closing productivity gaps could substantially reduce the aggregate environmental impacts of animal agriculture (Steinfeld and Gerber, 2010). Improving productivity does not mean that a transition from one production system to another is necessary, however, because productivity increases can be achieved within many disparate production systems. Productivity in a given system, climate, and region can vary considerably, indicating the potential for improved production practices and technologies to reduce GHG emissions. Gerber et al. (2013) found that if producers within a given system, region, and climate adopted the technologies and practices used by the producers with the 10 percent lowest emission intensity, a 30 percent reduction in GHG emissions could be achieved.
GHG emission intensities tend to be lower for monogastic than ruminant species, and recent trends in shifting consumption toward a higher proportion of monogastric animal species protein relative to ruminant animal protein are projected to continue (Steinfeld and Gerber, 2010). De Vries and de Boer (2010) compared the environmental impacts of the production of beef, pork, chicken, milk, and eggs using life-cycle assessment (LCA). Production of 1 kg of beef used the most land and energy and had the highest global warming potential, followed by the production of pork, chicken, milk, and eggs. The differences in environmental impact among pork, chicken, and beef can be explained by three factors: (1) differences in feed efficiency, (2) differences in enteric methane emission between monogastrics and ruminants, and (3) differences in reproduction rates (de Vries and de Boer, 2010).
The LCA did not include environmental consequences of competition for land between humans and animals or the consequences of land-use changes. LCA is being used as a methodology to evaluate the effects of a food animal system on the environment globally (de Vries and de Boer, 2010). Examples of the use of LCA analysis include beef (Pelletier et al., 2010b; Lupo et al., 2013), dairy (Thoma et al., 2013), swine (Pelletier et al., 2010a; Thoma et al., 2011), broilers (Pelletier et al., 2008; Leinonen et al., 2012a; Prudêncio da Silva et al., 2014), egg
production (Leinonen et al., 2012b; Pelletier et al., 2014; Taylor et al., 2014), and aquaculture (Little and Newton, 2010; Cao et al., 2013). Despite LCA’s increased use in recent years, differences in methodology can make comparisons across species difficult. The Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance Partnership (LEAP) is a current effort that is attempting to harmonize LCA methodologies used in animal agricultural assessments. To improve LCA methodology further, there is a need for better models to predict soil nitrogen emissions and carbon storage, as well as better primary farm and environmental emission data from developing nations (Cederberg et al., 2013).
Erb et al. (2012) describe three food animal systems (landless, grassland based, and mixed farming) and their respective sustainability issues. The landless systems produce 72 percent of the global poultry, 55 percent of the pork meat, two-thirds of the global egg supply, and only 5 percent of the global beef. Extensive grassland-based systems provide around 7 percent of the world’s global beef, 12 percent of the sheep and goat, and 5 percent of the milk supply. Intensive grassland-based systems produce about 17 percent of the global beef and veal, 17 percent of the sheep and goats, and 7 percent of the global milk supply. Mixed rainfed systems contribute about 53 percent of the global milk supply and 48 percent of the total beef supply. Mixed irrigated systems produce 33 percent of global pork, mutton, and milk production and about 20 percent of the global beef production. Each of these systems has its own sustainability issues. In the landless system, there are concerns that generation of animal wastes and air and water pollution may pose a threat to smallholders regarding market access, animal welfare issues, and zoonoses. In the grassland systems, concerns exist pertaining to degradation of rangeland, effect of droughts, and livestock diseases in the extensive system, and with the intensive grazing systems, concerns about competition for highly productive land with fertile soils, overstocking, and soil degradation are important. Mixed farming systems are the most widely used systems globally. Sustainability concerns in the mixed rainfed systems include zoonoses, concentration of animal waste, and competition for water. Specific sustainability issues in mixed irrigated systems include loss of soil fertility, competition for water, zoonoses, and manure disposal.
Herrero et al. (2013) developed a global, biologically consistent, spatially disaggregated dataset on biomass use, productivity, GHG emissions, and key resource-use efficiencies for the food animal sector,
broken down into 28 geographical regions, 8 production systems, 4 animal species (cattle, small ruminants, pigs, and poultry), and three animal products (milk, meat, and eggs). Key findings included the following: (1) cattle account for 77 percent of the GHG emissions, and monogastrics contributed only 10 percent, of which 56 percent of the total emissions was from methane derived from the manure; (2) developing countries contributed 75 percent of the global GHG emissions from ruminants and 56 percent from monogastrics; (3) mixed crop-livestock systems produced 61 percent of the ruminant GHG, grazing systems 12 percent, and urban and other producers the remainder; (4) South Asia, Latin America including the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, and Russia had the highest total emissions, which was mainly driven by animal numbers and predominant production system; (5) sub-Saharan Africa is the global hotspot for high-intensity GHG emissions as the result of the use of low animal productivity spread across a large area of arid land, low-quality feeds, and feed scarcity; (6) all systems in the developed world have lower emission intensities than those in the developing world; and (7) production of meat and eggs from monogastrics have significantly lower emission intensities than milk and meat from ruminants.
Thornton and Herrero (2010) estimated that the maximum mitigation potential for reducing methane and carbon dioxide emissions from several food animal and pasture management options in the mixed and rangeland-based production systems in the tropics was 7 percent of the global agricultural mitigation potential to 2030. Based on historical adoption rates, however, a 4 percent reduction is more plausible (Thornton and Herrero, 2010). There are numerous reviews written on the role of livestock in food and nutrition security (McLeod, 2011; Smith et al., 2013). Rosegrant et al. (2014) and Ringler et al. (2014) recently published their results from a study looking at the future benefits from alternative agricultural technologies by assessing future scenarios for the potential impact and benefits of these technologies on yield growth and production, food security, demand for food, and agricultural trade. They focused on corn, wheat, and rice. They evaluated the following technologies: (1) no-till, (2) integrated soil fertility, (3) precision agriculture, (4) organic agriculture, (5) nitrogen use efficiency, (6) water harvesting, (7) drip irrigation, (8) sprinkler irrigation, (9) improved varieties such as drought tolerant, (10) improved varieties such as heat tolerant, and (11) crop protection. The technologies that had the greatest positive impact on production and yields were nitrogen use efficiency,
heat tolerance, precision agriculture, and no-till. To meet the increasing animal feed demands and challenge of climate change, three things need to happen: (1) increase in crop productivity through increased investment in agricultural research, (2) development and adoption of resource-conserving management, and (3) increased investment in irrigation. Of the eleven technologies, organic agriculture was the only one that consistently showed deceased yields across regions and crops. Production levels of animal products have expanded rapidly in East Asis, Southeast Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean, but growth in sub-Saharan Africa has been very slow (McLeod, 2011).
Havlík et al. (2014) using the Global Biosphere Management Model (GLOBIOM) simulated livestock system transitions endogenously in response to socioeconomic drivers and climate change mitigation policies. Scenarios were developed to look at livestock, GHG emissions, and food supply relationships to 2030. From 2000 to 2030, global monogastric meat and eggs demand was projected to increase by 63 percent and ruminant meat and milk to increase by 44 and 55 percent, respectively. The increases in demand take into account the dietary shifts in developing countries. The model had 64 percent of all ruminants reared in a mixed system compared to 56 percent in 2000, and 18 percent kept in a grazing system in 2030 compared to 20 percent in 2000. The remaining 18 percent of ruminants would be in other or urban systems. The results support the global transition of food animal systems from an extensive system to a more efficient, intensive system that is less land demanding to provide the best outcome for the reduction of GHG emissions.
Research that focuses on the impacts of climate change, variability, and extreme weather events on animal production systems is not sufficient for understanding the costs (economic, social, and environmental) to animal production and food security. Current knowledge is lacking for developing adaptive strategies to improve animal agriculture’s resiliency to confront the challenges of climate change and variability. Analyses of GHG emissions and other environmental impacts of animal agriculture have commonly paid inadequate attention to economic or social considerations of current production systems, as well as the effects of proposed mitigation strategies and alternative scenarios (including shifts in consumption) on the environment and livelihoods of producers. In this regard, sub-
Saharan Africa warrants special attention owing to its slow growth in animal productivity and high intensities of GHG emissions from food animal production. One research priority in this area includes:
- Sustainable animal production requires systematic assessment of its effects on and impacts of climate change, including mitigation and adaptation strategies. Research priority should be given to those regions that have higher intensity emissions of greenhouse gases, and are especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change and variability.
4-9 Water Security
Freshwater is a vital resource that must be conserved globally by all sectors of society, including agriculture. With increasing population and demand for meat, milk, and eggs, the need for water will increase as well. Currently, agricultural water use accounts for 75 percent of the total global consumption, mainly through crop irrigation (UNEP, 2008). Agriculture has been a key cause for groundwater and surface-water depletion globally (Jury and Vaux, 2005; Gleeson et al., 2012; Scanlon et al., 2012). For example, because of diversion of inlet rivers for the irrigation of farmland, the Aral Sea in Central Asia has declined by 26 meters since the 1960s, exposing the seabed to wind erosion and dust storms that have had negative health consequences for the surrounding populations (Micklin, 2007, 2010).
Where water is already scarce and populations are predicted to grow, providing sufficient water to grow crops and produce meat, milk, and eggs will be even more of a challenge. Availability of freshwater may dictate where food production occurs. Doreau et al. (2012) used LCA to assess water use by food animals. They found that the amount of water use per unit of meat, milk, or eggs ranged widely depending on the food animal systems, the type of water (blue= surface and groundwater; green = water lost from soils by evaporation and transpiration from plants directly from rainfall; gray = theoretical estimate of the amount of water necessary to dilute pollutants) with the production of beef requiring the most, followed by pork, chicken, eggs, and milk. The water footprint will be an important metric now and in the future for measuring the effects of animal production on the environment. Globally, the water footprint of animal production amounts to 2.4 billion m3/year (87 percent green, 6 percent blue, 7 percent gray) with a third of the total due to beef cattle and 19 percent to dairy (Mekonnen and Hoekstra, 2010). The largest
fraction (98 percent) of the water footprint of animal products is due to the production of feed for animal consumption, while drinking water for animals, service water, and feed mixing water account for 1.1, 0.8, and 0.03 percent, respectively (Mekonnen and Hoekstra, 2010). As with other nutrients, the movement of animal products and feedstuffs drives the movement of freshwater resources from nations such as the United States, Mexico, Japan, and South Korea (Hoekstra et al., 2012).
Consumptive use of water by aquaculture is difficult to define accurately because of the variety of production systems. Nonetheless, mean use is estimated to be within the same order of magnitude as that of chicken and pork and if expressed as cubic meters per kilogram would be considerably lower (40.4 for global aquaculture) (Waite et al., 2014). Production systems primarily consist of freshwater ponds (56 percent) and the continued increase in inland, freshwater aquaculture may ultimately be confronted with lack of sufficient water and space (land) to meet consumptive demands. Currently, agriculture’s share of the use of freshwater globally is approximately 70 percent, and the area of land that remains to increase food production to the anticipated level in 2050 is quite limited (Duarte et al., 2009). Despite increased efficiencies in land and water usage, the future of substantial increases in food and protein from sustainable intensification of aquaculture production may lie in marine habitats. The inevitable demand for freshwater and land to achieve increases in production on land would be ameliorated. Assuming maintenance of current rates of growth (7.5 percent), mariculture production has the potential to achieve levels that will exceed capture fisheries and ultimately reach a level equivalent to or greater than all of animal protein production on land (Duarte et al., 2009).
Water security is critical for the sustainability of animal agriculture and the global food system; stresses in all stocks of water (e.g., groundwater and reservoirs) have potentially negative effects on animal production. Animal agriculture’s greatest impact on water use is through the production of feedstuffs; however, reported estimates of the water footprint of animal agriculture and its subsectors (e.g., beef) exhibit a wide range, often due to different methodology. Despite increased efficiencies in land and water use, the future of substantial increases in food/protein from sustainable intensification of aquaculture production may lie in marine habitats. Animal science research and engagement across value chains (i.e. Sustainable Fisheries Initiative) is an effective
way to drive on-the-ground advancements in sustainable animal systems. Research priorities in this area include:
- Improve understanding of water withdrawal and use for animal production systems, and develop reputable footprint metrics.
- More research needs to be devoted to investigations of the feasibility of sustainable marine based aquaculture systems.
4-10 Global Partnerships and Opportunities for Leveraging Resources and Research in Animal Agriculture
Public–private partnerships (PPPs) can play an important role in leveraging funding for research and fostering technology transfer, particularly in developing countries, although as Ferroni and Castle (2011) note, very few agricultural PPPs exist, and those that do are largely experimental and “form a new field of practice and inquiry for the participants.” They also note that “partnerships enable sustainable outcomes that no single party could achieve alone” and can “overcome both the public sector’s usually limited ability to take research outputs to market, and the private sector’s limited scope for operation where there is no commercially viable market.” More broadly, partnerships among stakeholders can create a framework for integrating divergent viewpoints, identifying important research priorities, and fostering transdisciplinary research efforts. The committee has identified several select examples of global partnerships related to animal agriculture. Note that the committee is not commenting on the effectiveness of these particular partnerships, but rather discussing them as part of a broader overview of the types of partnerships that exist related to research and development in animal agriculture, particularly affecting developing countries.
The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) is a global partnership of organizations engaged in research with the goal of reducing rural poverty, increasing food security, improving nutrition and health, and sustainably managing natural resources. The ILRI, which is a member of CGIAR, has developed partnerships that address animal research. One of these brought together the public and private sectors to conduct research to develop a vaccine for East Coast fever (ECF), a devastating tickborne bovine disease found throughout parts of Africa. Beginning in 2001, ILRI enlisted the participation of the Institute for Genome Research (United States), the Ludwig Institute of Cancer Research, the University of Victoria
(Canada), Oxford University (UK), the Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine (UK), the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel), and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute. The private sector was engaged through Merial Ltd., a global company in the animal health field. Although the experimental vaccine developed by the team was only 30 percent effective, the methodologies of vaccine antigen identification and evaluation that were developed are now being explored by several research organizations (NRC, 2009). This project led ILRI to publish a new strategy for its research and development activities that included a focus on partnerships as a central approach (ILRI, 2013).
Two additional multistakeholder partnerships addressing the relationship between livestock and the environment are the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock and the Livestock Research Group of the Global Research Agenda for Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, both of which play a role in setting a common agenda for research and policy goals. The FAO also incorporated PPPs into its work on animal agriculture issues. For example, the LEAP Partnership was founded in 2012 and involves stakeholders across the food animal sectors with a shared interest in improving the environmental performance of food animal supply chains. The objective of LEAP is to develop a globally harmonized LCA methodology and guidelines that reflect a consensus among multistakeholder partners. This approach helps foster awareness and global adoption of these methodologies. The approach highlights areas of missing or limited data where further research needs to be conducted to enhance the accuracy of the values generated. This partnership promotes an exchange of information, technical expertise, and research geared toward improving and harmonizing the way in which food animal food chains are assessed and monitored. The main focus of LEAP is on the development of broadly recognized sector-specific guidelines (metrics and methods) for monitoring environmental impact of the food animal sector that will result in a better understanding and management of the key factors influencing the sector’s performance. Three stakeholder groups— the private sector, FAO member countries, and NGOs—participate in this work. Private-sector participation includes producer and processor organizations engaged in the food animal supply chain representing various subsectors such as feed, pork, beef and lamb, poultry meat and eggs, and dairy (FAO, 2014c). This partnership resulted in the development of the Global Feed Life Cycle Assessment guidelines, considered the “first feed-specific LCA guidelines that reflect
a consensus among partners in the multi-stakeholder process” (FAO, 2014c).
An integrated European Union–based partnership of global significance was the project “Integration of Animal Welfare in the Food Quality Chain: From Public Concern to Improved Welfare and Transparent Quality,” commonly referred to as Welfare Quality (Blokhuis et al., 2013). The Welfare Quality project funded research by 44 institutes and universities in 20 countries. The goals were to better understand the concerns and attitudes of consumers, retailers, and producers toward animal welfare, to develop and implement robust strategies for on-farm animal welfare monitoring and information systems, and to define and implement species-specific strategies to improve animal welfare on farms. Transdisciplinary teams of social and natural scientists were assembled to address these goals. Research institutes from Chile, Brazil, Mexico, and Uruguay were involved with a focus not only on understanding consumer attitudes toward animal welfare in Latin America but also on improving welfare during transport and slaughter to help producers in those countries meet EU animal welfare standards for export. A broad array of stakeholders, including animal producers and breeders, retailers, policy makers, and consumer and other nongovernmental groups were involved in project discussions and research activities. Accomplishments from the project included numerous scientific articles and reports, fact sheets and articles for laypersons, and the first comprehensive set of on-farm animal welfare assessment tools for use by producers, auditors, and certifiers (Welfare Quality, 2014).
Another international partnership is the International Committee for Animal Recording (ICAR)1, an international nonprofit, which was created to promote the development and improvement of the activities of performance recording and the evaluation of farm livestock. ICAR, which includes a global membership, establishes rules and standards and specific guidelines for the purpose of identifying animals and the registration of their parentage, recording their performance and their evaluation, and publishing findings. Another partnership that focuses on global agricultural issues is the BREAD Ideas Challenge, funded by the National Science Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This challenge provides small funding opportunities to support
innovative ideas by researchers working on agricultural issues facing smallholders.
Although many of the partnerships above have been productive, there are challenges associated with forging such relationships, including the possibility of increased administrative costs, cumbersome decision making, and the possibility that research focus will suffer (Spielman and von Grebmer, 2004). Another issue is that, where projects are funded either mainly by private sources or with joint public-private funding, the focus of the research will be on more near-term issues with potential product outcomes. In contrast, public research funding can focus on long-term issues and issues that provide a greater good that may not be product oriented, such as the development of net energy systems, animal genome sequencing, creation of databases, complex sustainability issues, microbial collections, and gene banks to maintain animal genetic diversity.
Despite these challenges, successful partnerships in agriculture can be a productive means of maximizing synergies between sectors. Ferroni and Castle (2011) describe several factors critical to the success of agricultural partnerships, including “contracts, planning, inter-partner relationships and the distribution of tasks.” The authors describe four key pillars to effective partnerships: initial partnering, priority setting, contractual arrangements, and transparency. Regarding initial partnering, to maximize skills and resources, selection must begin with
a realistic assessment of an organization’s own strengths and weaknesses. It is then essential to invest considerable research in identifying organizations most likely to benefit from and add to this profile. Secondly, developing agreed upon priorities is also key; discussions of these priorities should include not only the desired main goals and milestones within the project, and the order in which they are to be tackled, but also their positions on each organization’s own internal priority list. Next, contracts must describe the division of tasks and the distribution and use of any commercial rights emerging in connection with the project. Finally, transparency is key as partners need to understand and respect each other’s communication requirements. This includes communication around privacy and institutional competitiveness, as well as for scientific information-
sharing amongst public sector researchers, public awareness-building about new technology and products, and the fulfillment of public reporting obligations (Ferroni and Castle, 2011).
The International Food Policy Research Institute conducted a study of agricultural PPPs for innovation in Latin America (Hartwich et al., 2007), and identified six main conclusions regarding developing effective partnerships:
- “Capacity strengthening in partnership building is specific to the value chains and actors it involves.
- Capacity strengthening for partnership building goes beyond traditional training to include horizontal learning among the partners; it a continuous process that does not suit a one-size-fits-all approach and requires that needs be identified while taking all partners into consideration.
- Determining when to enter into a partnership depends on the partners’ analytical skills and the information available on technological and market opportunities; participation in diagnostic exercises strengthens the capacity of partners to enter into present and future partnerships.
- The choice of appropriate capacity strengthening measures depends on the existing level of cohesion among the potential partners; for example, awareness building may not be necessary if talks about potential collaboration are already occurring.
- Strengthening partnership-building capacity should predominantly focus on identifying and exploring common interests among potential partners through a variety of tools that help clarify interests in terms of technology development, production, and sales. Third-party catalyzing agents are necessary to bring partners together, motivate them, provide information, and organize space for negotiations.
- It is important to have at least one visionary leader among the partners, be it in the private sector or in the public research community. The leader supplies the capacity for sectoral analysis in the partnership and can help to clarify and communicate the advantages the partnership offers. The leader is also important in motivating and attracting potential partners. The internal leader may also eventually take over the initiative from the external promoter, but a gradual transfer process is the most successful option.”
The benefits of partnerships, particularly for advancing animal science research, are many, including the ability to leverage resources, knowledge, technology, and human capital.
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