CGIAR / Engagement / Fish / Livestock

Simplice Nouala on the livestock-fish research proposal

In mid-September, we submitted the ‘livestock-fish’ research proposal to the CGIAR. Before submitting the proposal, we had asked Simplice Nouala from AU-IBAR to provide his comments:

Commenting on reasons that past attempts to intensify small-scale livestock production systems in developing countries can fail, Nouala argued that the discussion “should be expanded to the prevailing policy and institutional environment that does not facilitate uptake of new technologies by smallholders. The prevailing environment is many times biased towards intensification or large-scale production systems, ignoring therefore the public good concept of certain services.”

Reacting to the proposed focus on entire value chains for selected animal source food commodities in specific areas, Nouala suggests for Africa that “regional value chains may create more opportunities for stakeholders.” Further “in the framework of the CAADP we suggested to exploit regional complementarities in utilization of resources so as to promote regional trade and integration. In West Africa for example, beef is mainly produced in the Sahel, yet consumption in the urban cities of coastal countries mainly depends on import from Brazil to meet the increasing demand.”

He also noted that Ministers responsible for animal resources in Africa recently requested that factors affecting competitiveness of animal products in Africa be identified and recommendations to address them be proposed.

Commenting on the selection criteria for value chains, he cautioned that evidence of poor people in a value chain needs to be looked at carefully: “We need to carefully look at this indicator — if not, we might be promoting what is currently observed in the crop production where the production is mainly owned by large-scale producers and the poor are being employed in the value chain with limited income security.”

Specifically on the proposed focus on small ruminant value chains in mixed crop-livestock systems in Ethiopia, he re-emphasized the need for a regional focus: “looking at the trade of small ruminant with the Gulf countries, I will suggest you consider the links to Somalia and Djibouti in your value chain analysis and make sure you have a methodology to consider in your analysis the number of small ruminants from Ethiopia sold in the Gulf through Djibouti and Somaliland which is considered illegal.”

With regard to the proposed work on animal health, Nouala emphasized that determining the suitability of an intervention should “also include the cost benefit analysis. Taking into consideration that even the return on investment is very high, smallholders will find it difficult to invest in high-cost interventions.”

Commenting on the proposed partnership strategy, he suggested that the Program work with two types of partners – Research partners and Development partners (the draft proposal identified ‘core program partners’ and ‘value chain partners’). In the category ‘development partners’, he suggests the proposal include regional and sub-regional organizations who will play a major role in dissemination of project results.

One thought on “Simplice Nouala on the livestock-fish research proposal

  1. Thanks Simplice for concentrating on the big & broader picture. One further issue comes to the mind. That relates to the extent of research that aims to produce public goods. The obvious is to enhance the competitiveness of the poor livestock producers. But how much benefit could technological advances bring to the poor small holder who runs fragmented household level hand-to-mouth business? High input high output systems are what technological advances normally bring (there is no cheap price for a rocket launcher!). The high output could be – at best- the education of the farm children who may – in most – abandon small farming and move to urban livelihoods! Only the stronger farmers who benefit from an (e.g. intensive) industry that becomes above the ability and capacity of the small famers to handle, will remain after purchasing all the assets of the weaklings. What, then, would the next agenda for pro-rural-poor research be?

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