CGIAR Systemwide Livestock Programme Report 2003. Searching for synergies in livestock research
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Permanent link to cite or share this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/2926
The Systemwide Livestock Programme (SLP) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) works to alleviate poverty, protect natural resources and achieve food security in developing countries. The SLP has completed two transregional projects designed to identify the common factors that drive crop-livestock intensification and determine access to markets for smallholders. Working across three continents, the first project looked at farming systems operating at different levels of intensity. Results show that the role played by climatic factors in influencing farm management decisions is not so important as traditionally considered. Working in Bangladesh, Kenya and the Philippines, the project showed that economies of scale in the purchase of inputs and the delivery of outputs do make large-scale farmers more competitive than smallholders. To help set research priorities, the SLP conducts ex-ante assessments to quantify the benefits that can be expected from specific interventions. Since its last report, such assessments have been completed for research on genetically improved dual-purpose cowpea in West Africa and on maize as food, feed and fertiliser in Eastern and Southern Africa,. Improved cowpea varieties were found to offer farmers little economic benefit. The best options to pursue with regard to maize are to expand the use of intercropping and to improve feed quality by combining maize stover with other available fodder. This suggests that investment in extension services would achieve more impact than further investment in genetic research. Nevertheless, more research on the management of manure is warranted, since this might help reverse the steady drain of nutrients from maize fields. Finally, the SLP has launched a 6-year project on fodder innovations in Nigeria and India. Research focuses on improving the livelihoods of the rural poor by increasing their options for feeding the livestock they keep. Initial results and feedback on the dual-purpose cowpea, sorghum and groundnut options selected by participating farmers are encouraging. Future SLP work will continue to focus on the improvement of food-feed crops as a basis for raising farm incomes in the short term while improving the long-term sustainability of production systems. While strong partnerships have been developed and the opportunities for synergies are growing, additional funding is needed to realise the full potential for impact from this research. Major topics of discussion include - searching for synergies in crop-livestock research; crop-livestock integration: a pathway out of poverty; south-south lessons on system intensification and market access; and overcoming feed scarcity improves livelihoods.