The role of biotechnology in animal agriculture to address poverty in Africa: The need for appropriate policies
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Nyange, N.E. and Kingamkono, R.R. 2006. The role of biotechnology in animal agriculture to address poverty in Africa: The need for appropriate policies. In: Rege, J.E.O.; Nyamu, A.M.; Sendalo, D. (eds.). 2006. The role of biotechnology in animal agriculture to address poverty in Africa: Opportunities and challenges. Proceedings of the 4th All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture and the 31st annual meeting of Tanzania Society for Animal Production, Arusha, Tanzania, 20–24 September 2005. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: TSAP and Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI.
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Livestock production currently accounts for about 30% of the gross value of agricultural production in Africa. Seventy per cent of the rural poor in Africa own livestock, including pastoralists living in arid and semi-arid zones. Of these, over 200 million rely on their livestock for income (sales of milk, meat and skins) and manure for growing crop. The livestock sector in Africa, characterised by low productivity, is struggling to keep up with the demand for food from animal sources by the expanding human population. Conventional methods of livestock improvement and agricultural research and development have in the past served the purpose of increasing livestock productivity. However, these options can no longer sustain production hence new intensive techniques including biotechnology are now required to augment productivity. Modern biotechnology has the potential to provide new opportunities for achieving enhanced livestock productivity in a way that alleviates poverty, improves food security and nutrition and promotes sustainable use of natural resources. While modern biotechnology is and will not be a panacea for solving all the problems of food insecurity and poverty, it could provide a critical component to the solution if it is guided by appropriate policies. This proposition forms the basis of this paper.
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