While the demand for livestock-derived-foods is increasing in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), livestock productivity remains low, limiting the opportunities offered by this sector to enhance livelihoods. One of the key constraints faced by livestock keepers in these countries is limited access to affordable and quality inputs and services.
The CGIAR Research Program on Livestock (Livestock CRP), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and partners contribute to improving access to these services with the aim of maximizing livestock-mediated livelihoods and resilience to risk among smallholder and pastoral livestock producers in LMICs. To consolidate the work done, a research topic in Frontiers entitled ‘Ensuring animal health and other services for efficient and inclusive livestock value chains in LMICs‘ was started. The goal of this research topic is to facilitate research and stimulate discussion on access to affordable and quality inputs and services that ultimately improve livestock sector production and productivity in sustainable and equitable ways.
Why such a topic?
Accessing affordable and quality animal health inputs and services, feed and breeding, and extension or advisory services remains a key challenge for livestock keepers in LMICs. Different arrangements for the delivery of such inputs and services have emerged, especially in the dairy and poultry sectors. Some of these arrangements are led by the value chain actors themselves, while others have been promoted and supported by development agencies, the public sector and donors. The effectiveness of these organizational arrangements is poorly documented, limiting the opportunity to learn and apply lessons across value chains and countries.
Given the livestock sector characteristics, in particular its products’ perishability, high value and seasonality, both the public and private sectors are proposing and implementing new ways to improve delivery of inputs and services. These inputs and services include digital technologies, incentive-based payment and public private partnerships. It is therefore the opportune time to contrast these different experiences to derive recommendations on approaches for more effective and inclusive delivery of livestock inputs and services.
Out of 28 abstracts submitted following a call to contribute to the research topic (which started in February 2020), 21 were selected for submission as papers. Twelve of these papers are outputs from the research done under the Livestock CRP and nine others share perspectives on the topic from different research organizations. Eleven of the submitted papers have a focus on delivery of animal health services. Other papers cover topics such as feeds, genetics, food safety, output marketing and policy. Ten papers cover the livestock sector in general, while cattle and small ruminants are covered in three papers. Other species targeted by the papers are pigs, poultry and dairy cattle. In terms of geographical coverage, four papers take a global view while the other papers, except one, cover sub-Saharan African countries.
The journal issue about this research topic will be available in 2021 with all papers in open access. A webinar to discuss the main findings will also be organized.
The Research topic’s guest editors are Isabelle Baltenweck and Bernard Bett from ILRI and Simeon Kaitibie from Lincoln University in New Zealand.