Africa / Animal Breeding / Article / ASSP / East Africa / Kenya / Livestock / LIVESTOCK-FISH

Qualified livestock breeders needed in emerging economies

Julie M Ojango

Julie Ojango, Program Leader for “Capacity building for sustainable Use of Animal genetic Resources (AnGR) in Developing countries”

Efforts should be made to continuously develop and retain a critical mass of qualified breeders and geneticists to design and sustainably implement breeding programs in Africa. These professionals will greatly assist in the establishment of regional animal genetic resources recording and evaluation platforms to support uninterrupted national genetic improvement programs.

This is a key recommendation from a team of animal genetic researchers from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). The recommendation was made September 25, to the Conference on Agricultural Research Towards Sustainable Development Goals by ILRI researcher Julie Ojango, who is the project leader for the capacity building for sustainable use of animal genetic resources. The conference was held at SLU, in Uppsala, Sweden.

Reflecting on the theme “Capacity development in animal breeding and genetics – insights and opportunities from a decade of regional ‘training of the trainer; experiences”, J. Ojango, B. Malmfors, J. Philipson, I.Dror and M. Okeyo, in their paper observed that while 138 trainers from 31 countries in Africa and 15 countries in Asia, this is just but a drop in the ocean.

There is need for more resources to train extension staff and other trainers if the high demand for livestock products is to be met in the emerging economies. They noted that there is need to double meat and milk production while minimizing environmental impacts. This calls for improvement of many livestock populations to improve food security while securing the environment, exploiting the high genetic variability and creating platforms for livestock data recording and information exchange.

The team has been working on a collaborative study entitled “Capacity building for sustainable Use of Animal genetic Resources (AnGR) in Developing countries between 1999 and 2012.

ILRI Director General, Jimmy Smith spoke on the importance of Improving environmental sustainability of livestock systems in the developing world.

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