Sunday, September 04, 2011

Livestock better food security in dry areas

"Livestock provides more food security than growing crops in many arid and semi-arid areas," said Lloyd Le Page, CEO of the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centres (Cgiar), as aid organisations agreed on the importance of livestock in the current crisis in East Africa. Jeff Hill, director for policy at USAid, the US development arm, said underinvestment in pastoralist communities in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya have contributed to the extreme levels of food insecurity in the Horn of Africa's dry lands. "It is not drought, but vulnerability to drought that is eroding food security in these areas," Hill told agricultural experts at a meeting in Nairobi of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)., "and this vulnerability is a result of chronic under-investment. This is particularly true for the livestock-based systems which are and will be a dominant part of the arid and semi-arid lands." The ILRI, based in Nairobi, is a proponent of pastoralism and asserts that herding in dry areas makes better economic sense than irrigation.

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