News / Africa

    Africa’s Livestock Demand Better Feeding

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Kim Lewis
    Africans will have to improve the quality and quantity of what they feed their livestock to compete in the world market and reduce the industry’s impact on climate change, says a new global study.

    The study reveals how diet and digestion in livestock impacts climate change around the world. Scientists who conducted the study say it is the newest comprehensive assessment assembled of what cows, sheep, pigs, poultry and other farm animals are eating in different parts of the world and how efficiently they convert that feed into milk, eggs, and meat while also focusing on the amount of greenhouse gases they produce. 

    In addition, the study found that animals in Africa and in many other parts of the developing world require far more food to produce a kilo of protein than animals in wealthy countries. 

    Mario Herrero of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) says farmers face more challenges in sub-Saharan Africa in trying to improve protein production, while simultaneously reducing emissions. Herrero is lead author of the study that was released at the Australian government’s offices in Brisbane, Australia.

    “First, you have relatively little biomass in some of the places,” said Herrero. It’s a matter of having enough to feed the animals, he said. Next, it’s a question of improving the quality, “developing much better feeding practices to increase productivity and incomes.”

    Most of the scientific community is working now on developing new technologies and feeding practices that will actually deal with the feed supply problem, while improving the feed at the same time, Herrero explains.

    The CSIRO data, which was published in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” found sharp contrasts in livestock production and diets. For example, cattle in Latin America, Europe and North America produced 59 million tons of beef in 2000.  In contrast, sub-Saharan Africa produced only 3 million tons of beef.

    Livestock in the more developed areas of the world consume about 1.3 billion tons of grain every year. While in sub-Saharan Africa, all of the livestock rely mostly on grasses and “stovers” - the leaf and stalk residues of crops left in the field after harvest - for nutrition.

    Herrero says you can improve the quality of grasses that would lead to potentially doubling or tripling productivity.

    The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) is studying ways to grow crops where the stover and the straws have greater nutritional value, he explains. 

    “And this is a fascinating area of research that the CGIAR centers are really contributing to. They found that with these improved stovers you can at least double productivity in some of the cases,” Herrero says. Then, the farmer has the same amount of grain but with a crop residue that is much better for the animal.

    Livestock produce 12 to 18 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, Herrero said. However, with continued increases in livestock emissions of methane gas, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide emissions, he says we could see further increases in temperatures and disruption of the climate cycles.

    To reduce the effect livestock have on climate change, especially in developing countries, Herrero says farmers need to become more market orientated, “so that they can try to produce more animal product. 

    At the same time, creating more markets also implies the provision of services, improved varieties of grasses, and other inputs.  “It’s really a whole package to help farmers intensify their production practices,” the scientist emphasizes.

    You May Like

    Video How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Scientists Detect Gravitational Waves in Landmark Discovery

    Researchers likened discovery to difference between looking at piece of music on paper and then hearing it in real life

    Prince Ali: FIFA Politics Affected International Fixtures

    Some countries faced unfavorable treatment for not toeing political line inside soccer world body, Jordanian candidate to head FIFA says

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    NATO to Target Migrant Smugglersi
    X
    Jeff Custer
    February 11, 2016 4:35 PM
    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.