Livestock feed solutions

How can we improve livestock nutrition to benefit small-scale farmers in Africa and Asia?

Improved CIAT forages in Dak Lak province, in the central highlands of Vietnam, photo: Neil Palmer (CIAT

Over a billion people depend on livestock for their livelihoods. Their animals are not just a source for food, or assets to be sold, they also serve many vital roles on farms, from providing the energy for plowing to producing high-value compost. Whole food systems, most of them nomadic, are centered on livestock, and these systems make an invaluable contribution to global food security and nutrition. A productive farm depends on productive animals—and productive animals depend on good feed.

As a result, food security experts have increasingly focused their attention on how to improve the quality, the quantity, and the year-round availability of fresh livestock feed. Interventions include the introduction of more nutritional grasses and legumes and better methods to preserve fresh feed throughout the year.

This evidence synthesis looks at whether farmers have embraced these interventions. And where they have, what have the results been? Has better feed led to higher productivity? And if so, have livestock farmers seen an improvement in their livelihoods as a result? These questions need to be answered so that we can identify the most promising feed options for improved productivity.

Research team

Isabelle Baltenwick

Isabelle Baltenwick

Lead author, Program Leader, Policies, Institutions and Livelihoods Program, International Livestock Research Institute

Debbie Cherney

Debbie Cherney

Professor, Forage Utilization, Department of Animal Science, Cornell University

Alan Duncan

Alan Duncan

Principal Livestock Scientist, International Livestock Research Institute

Erin Eldermire

Erin Eldermire

Head, Veterinary Library, Cornell University

Ricardo Labarta

Ricardo Labarta

Agricultural and environmental economist, International Center for Tropical Agriculture

Edda Tanga Lwoga

Edda Tanga Lwoga

Deputy Rector, Associate Professor Information Science College of Business Education (CBE), Tanzania

James Rao

James Rao

Agricultural economist at the International Livestock Research Institute

Nils Teufel

Nils Teufel

Agricultural economist, International Livestock Research Institute

Steve Staal

Steve Staal

Economist, International Livestock Research Institute

Research protocol

The full details of the the protocol for this evidence synthesis are available on the OSF open platform run by the Center for Open Science.

 

This is one of eight evidence syntheses selected by Ceres2030 to help decision-makers choose the best interventions to achieve the UN's Sustainability Development Goal of "Zero Hunger" by 2030 (SDG 2).