The role of livestock in African agriculture

Livestock production contributes about 35 percent of agricultural GDP in sub-Saharan Africa. Projected growth in the consumption of animal products is offering opportunities to improve the incomes of the livestock-dependent poor.
At the same time, poor animal keepers are faced with several challenges: Will the poor not be sidelined in the competition to satisfy growing demand for safer animal products; will a reduction of government involvement in the provision of animal health services threaten small-scale producers, and will poor producers be able to comply with more stringent quality standards required by agro-industries and retailers; will limited access to land, water, technology and high-value marketing chains become insurmountable barriers to improving small-scale animal production? A robust livestock policy is needed targeting access to natural resources, increasing production, productivity and value addition and branding, and enhancing competitiveness of the livestock sector.

Dr Simplice Nouala
Animal Resources Officer
African Union/Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources
Nairobi, Kenya

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