|Livestock to 2020 - The Next Food Revolution. 2020 Vision for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment. Discussion Paper 28. (IFPRI, 1999, 79 p.)|
Increases in the productivity of animal food production come from the development and transfer of animal production technologies, particularly for animal health; improved feed and feed use; genetic enhancement; and better postharvest handling. Livestock technology policy faces two challenges in its efforts to raise productivity. First, appropriate existing and new technologies and production systems have to be adapted and disseminated to the developing world to eliminate low productivity. Second, the limits of livestock production technology and systems have to be extended to increase efficiency further and the environmental and public health problems that have appeared in high-intensity livestock production have to be solved. This chapter surveys the technologies and policies available or in development to meet these challenges.
Addressing Animal Health Constraints
Infectious and parasitic diseases affecting livestock remain important constraints to profitable livestock operations in many developing regions. Diseases reduce incomes directly by causing considerable livestock losses and indirectly by necessitating health restrictions on exports. In some areas (including the former socialist countries) the problem is worsening because of weak veterinary and administrative services, the absence of accountable local government, and civil strife.
Infectious diseases such as rinderpest, foot and mouth disease (FMD), contagious bovine pleuro-pneumonia (CBPP), and peste des petits ruminants (PPR) still pose major threats to livestock production in developing countries. These epizootic diseases, so-called because they often manifest themselves as epidemics affecting large numbers of animals of the same species in a given area, are most prevalent in production systems in which animals move uncontrolled and unmonitored over large distances. Vaccination and surveillance programs are needed to keep these diseases in check. The global eradication of rinderpest by 2010, for example, remains an achievable and important goal for developing countries.
Livestock disease control has undergone a paradigm shift in recent years. More flexible control strategies that focus on regions of highest returns within a country are replacing countrywide eradication programs. Risk analysis and animal health economics help determine where disease control investment will have its greatest benefit. The acceptance of disease-free or low-risk status for regions (rather than for entire countries) in international agreements such as the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO) illustrates this trend. The treaty makes possible export of meat and other livestock products from a country where a disease such as FMD exists, as long as the disease is either not present in the region where the meat is produced or the risk of transmission through multiple controls is extremely low.
Biotechnology offers promise for the improved diagnosis and treatment of animal disease. Even as the incidence of zoonotic diseases rises because of increased concentrations of animals near people, livestock health research benefits from the greater resources available to human health research (Fitzhugh 1998). For example, genomics is a new science applicable to humans and livestock that permits sequencing and mapping of the genome (a genetic map of a living organism). Genomics takes advantage of the work on the genomes of disease organisms and permits the development of new generations of vaccines, including those that use recombinant antigens to pathological agents. Livestock disease organisms can also provide useful models for studying human health (Ole Moi-Yoi 1995).
African swine fever is a major constraint to expanding pork production in Africa. In a series of recent outbreaks, pig numbers have been reduced by between 30 and 70 percent in a wide range of coastal African countries. Movement and sanitary control can limit future outbreaks but require more effective veterinary institutions.
Farmers in developing regions typically lack low-cost, easy-to-use diagnostics, vaccines, and control strategies for disease organisms and vectors. Among the parasitic diseases, trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) transmitted by tsetse flies, poses an enormous constraint to cattle production in most of the humid and subhumid zones of Africa.
Combinations of aerial insecticide sprays, adhesive pyretheroid insecticides, impregnated screens and traps, sterile insect mating, and trypanocide drugs hold the promise of gradually recovering infested areas for mixed farming and increased livestock output. These strategies also are likely to improve crop output.
Other important parasitic disease groups include helminthiasis and tick-borne diseases. Helminths are rarely fatal, but they limit productivity in many production systems. They become a limiting factor in the intensification stage but can be controlled. Ticks have the capacity to transmit diseases, notably east coast fever in Eastern and Southern African countries. An effective vaccine for this disease may soon be available, with a potentially large impact on ruminant productivity in these countries (ILRI 1998).
Improving Feed Quantity and Quality
A large number of the worlds livestock, particularly ruminants in pastoral and low-input mixed-farming systems, suffer either permanent or seasonal nutritional stress. In many regions these pressures have been alleviated through better storage of locally available resources. Storage and conservation of forage, use of high-protein leguminous fodders and fodder trees in rations, treatment of crop residues, and addition of mineral nutrients to feed all offer ways to improve forage in some areas.
The potential to generate locally available fodder and cereal feed resources is great. But governments may need to create the scientific and transportation infrastructure necessary to reap the benefits of world feed resources and new feed technologies as they become available. The projections in Chapter 4 indicate that the necessary supplies of feed concentrates will be available on world markets without undue price rises. These projections depend on maintaining trends in technological progress that raise yields of major feedgrains such as maize.
But even if aggregate quantities are available, ensuring that hundreds of millions of small producers have access to feed markets under developing-country conditions will be no small challenge. Chinas port and grain-importation infrastructure indicates the kinds of problems requiring remedy. In 1995 China imported an additional 15 million metric tons of grain, putting considerable stress on handling and distribution facilities (Pinstrup-Andersen, Pandya-Lorch, and Rosegrant 1997). Significant bottlenecks occurred. Yet the baseline projection for 2020 indicates that China will import 45 million metric tons more cereals than in 1993 (Table 24).
Both developed and developing regions must continue to use rations more efficiently. The requirements and the quality and quantity of feed resources used for rations differ across species, breeds, systems, and regions. Research to reduce costs and improve efficiency will have to be highly targeted, but even so it will have spillover effects. Research that defines chemical composition and digestibility characteristics will contribute to crop-breeding strategies, particularly the need to change the phytochemistry of primary crop products and residues fed to livestock (Fitzhugh 1998).
New technologies that enhance the quantity and quality of available tropical feed resources are being assessed through nutrition research. The identification of suitable traits and their molecular markers help improve the quality of tropical feeds derived from foodcrops. Breeders use the markers to develop dual-purpose crops with improved grain yields and protein content for humans and nonruminants and higher-quality crop residues for ruminants.
Plant genomics and phytochemistry will tackle antinutritional factors (ANFs) in plants. Some of these ANFs can be poisonous to ruminants. Microbiological techniques will help enrich ruminant ecosystems with microbes that can better detoxify ANFs. Maize with reduced phytic acid content has recently been reported to improve feed conversion for chicks by up to 11 percent (CAST forthcoming).
The ability to increase starch content in feed-grains already evident in the developed world may become more attractive to developing countries by 2020. But these technologies for maize and sorghum are unlikely to extend feeding value per unit by more than 15 percent, even in developed countries. Pulverizing grain with steam before feeding probably will offer a more feasible and economical means for improving conversion efficiency (CAST forthcoming).
In developed countries, and increasingly also in intensive production systems in developing countries, a wide range of probiotic and antibiotic feed additives are part of the ration fed to livestock. Microbial action can help break down otherwise hard-to-digest roughage so that nutrients are better absorbed.
Finding better ways to use the vast abundance of fibrous biomass available in the world offers a particularly exciting area of research. Rumen microbiology research focuses on the isolation of fiber-degrading enzymes. Better use of fibrous feed materials will increase the availability of feed resources inedible to humans. Changing the capacity of the rumen to digest high-fiber fodders would dramatically improve the prospects of ruminant production in the subhumid savannas of Africa and Latin America, where extremely large quantities of biomass of low feed quality are produced. Inserting enhanced cellulase-producing capacity into rumen bacteria should be possible in the not too distant future (de Haan, Steinfeld, and Blackburn 1997; Cunningham 1997). Microbial genomics will increase the pace of progress in this area of research (Wallace and Lahlou-Kasi 1995; Odenyo, Osuji, and Negassa 1999).
With the great advances taking place in genetics, more progress should also be made in the feed conversion of monogastrics. During the past decade feed conversion rates for pigs and poultry have improved by 30-50 percent, in part through breeding and in part through addition of enzymes to feeds. Still, monogastrics capture only 25 to 35 percent of the nutrients in their feed. Genetic improvement and better balancing of feed will enable this trend to continue. Precision in animal feeding is foreseeable in developed countries. Nutrients excreted by animals will be greatly reduced, so that nutrients needed and supplied will be fairly equal (CAST forthcoming).
Finally, using growth hormones, such as bovine somatotropin (BST), with high-energy feeds has the potential to increase milk yields. But the technology is likely to benefit farms in developed countries more than those in developing countries. Estimated yield responses for BST vary widely, favoring farms with feeds, breeds, and management practices that are already extremely productive (Jarvis 1996). The harsh conditions in developing countries are unlikely to provide the environment necessary for large-scale benefits from BST. This will change in the long run, however, once livestock productivity in developing regions has benefited from other, less sophisticated technologies (Jarvis 1996).
Improved Reproductive and Genetic Technologies
Artificial insemination has been used for more than 50 years in developed countries, primarily on commercial dairy herds. An established technology, its further spread is likely to occur primarily through market processes. In the early 1990s, no more than 17 percent of the 50 million first inseminations given annually took place in developing countries. But usage is advancing rapidly in Asia, especially India, where growing milk demand has made it economical (Chupin and Thibier 1995; Chupin and Schuh 1993). Artificial insemination has considerably spurred genetic upgrading as large-scale testing of the progeny of bulls and the subsequent use of valuable breeders has become possible. Widespread adoption of artificial insemination is likely to occur in the more favored production environments of developing countries, such as temperate highlands and peri-urban commercial production areas. The demand for milk will provide returns for its introduction and the necessary technology and infrastructure are becoming available.
The use of embryo transfer, allowing cows of high genetic potential to produce a much larger number of calves than with normal reproduction, is currently limited to only a small part of the commercial herds in some developed countries. This form of reproduction probably will not become widespread in the developing countries within the next 20 years (Cunningham 1997).
Crossing of local breeds in developing countries with highly productive varieties from the developed countries has become commonplace for dairy cattle in the tropics. Considerable gains in productivity per animal (25 percent) have been obtained. Those gains can be maintained with judicious interbreeding or rotational breeding. However, the gains are typically lost in subsequent generations (Cunningham 1997). Other authors report gains of up to 50 percent, but stress the one-shot nature of the transfer and the restricted number of breeds that can be drawn upon (CAST forthcoming). Selection from local breeds, especially for mutton and goat meat, may hold considerably more promise.
The characterization, conservation, and use of tropical animal breeds are vital to the ability to respond to inevitably changing production environments. Adapted livestock are more resistant to disease and environmental challenges. They can maintain productivity without the need for high-value inputs, increase farm income, and contribute to poverty alleviation (Rege 1997; Hammond and Leitch 1995).
Advances in genetics also offer new means to improve livestock. Marker-assisted selection and detection of quantitative trait loci, for example, combine results from molecular and quantitative genetic research. Interactions between genetic traits and the environment need to be addressed in order to employ adaptation traits, such as genetic resistance to parasites, as production traits. As with disease resistance, insights from human genetics research can be brought to bear on the genetic improvement of livestock (Fitzhugh 1998).
It became possible during the past decade to produce maps of genetic linkages in order to identify the gene locations of economically important traits (disease resistance, performance). This technology, which is being developed for a large range of traits by a number of research institutes worldwide, carries the promise of a shortcut to genetic improvement in developing countries. Livestock can be bred for specific productive traits and the ability to adapt to harsh climates and resist diseases.
Genetic research in developed regions focuses less on producing the hearty animals that are necessary in stressful developing-country environments and more on making animals that produce higher quality products at minimum cost. Understanding the genetic make-up of animals has allowed particular product traits, such as low cholesterol levels or the ability to produce high concentrations of a pharmaceutical, to be added to animals. Recent advances in cloning of embryos could potentially have a large impact on livestock production, particularly of dairy cattle in developed countries. But this is still an area where a number of complex ethical and scientific issues have yet to be resolved (Cunningham 1997).
Postharvest Technology: Protecting Public Health and Increasing the Value of Livestock Output
In the next 20 years the transfer of meat and milk processing technology to developing countries by the private sector under public regulation is likely to be especially important for food production. Growth rates for the output of processed products will probably be even higher than the growth rates for meat and milk production in developing countries. An increasing share of total food production is expected to pass through marketing and processing channels.
The establishment of dairy plants and slaughterhouses in producing areas, together with market development, will play an important role in stimulating market-oriented production. The increasing importance of trading meat and milk over long distances in tropical climates will also encourage technology development and transfer for food commodities such as ultra-pasteurized dairy products and vacuum-packed meat. Food safety is likely to provide the major impetus for technology development over time. Food safety concerns will occasionally conflict with the objective of small operators to remain competitive. Current debates over milk pasteurization in East Africa bear witness to this conflict. East African consumers usually boil unpasteurized fresh milk collected earlier in the day because pasteurization makes products much more expensive (Staal, Delgado, and Nicholson 1997).
In the developed countries risk analysis is typically used to help evaluate existing programs for food safety. The trend toward globalization of trade makes this kind of analysis increasingly important. Risk analysis will have to be widely introduced in developing countries over the next two decades. It involves an iterative process with three sets of elements. First is risk assessment, estimating the probability and potential severity of damage resulting from food hazards. Second is risk management, the development of policy for food safety and food safety programs. Third is risk communication, productive interactions between policymakers and stakeholders.
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) analysis is presently the tool of choice for handling the risks noted above. It identifies critical areas in the food chain that must be monitored to ensure food safety. Four steps are involved: assessment of risks in the food chain, determination of the critical control points and critical limits for ensuring food safety, development of monitoring systems, and implementation of procedures for verification. Postharvest methods that a short time ago seemed feasible only in the context of developed-country industrial processing are now becoming commonplace in the shrimp and high-value fisheries export sector of developing countries. Similar procedures for high-value meat and milk products should follow suit in the next two decades.
Technology to Improve the Environmental Effects of Livestock Production
Livestock are often cited as the source of environmental woes (Chapter 7). Not all of this negative publicity is merited, especially under developing-country conditions. Where the problem does exist, it is often a matter of fundamental economic structures and institutions that must be addressed through policy change rather than technology per se. Environmental degradation from deforestation and overstocking on the commons are cases in point. Yet technological development can offer some hope in developed countries, and will be increasingly useful in this regard in developing countries.
Livestock are cited as culprits in global climate change because they emit greenhouse gases. In developed countries livestock methane emissions can be reduced through the use of treated feeds and a ration closer to nutritional requirements. While emissions will continue to grow in absolute terms in developing countries, intensification of production will enhance the digestibility of feed, reducing emissions per unit of output.
Livestock also affect the environment by compacting the soil structure, which results in accelerated run-off and soil erosion. High stocking rates and uncontrolled grazing create this problem, especially in the hilly areas of developing countries. In order to manage the biomass needs of animals at varying grazing intensities and maintain a critical vegetative cover to minimize soil erosion, grazing options and pasture species have to be defined (Mwendera and Mohamed Saleem 1997; Mwendera, Mohamed Saleem, and Woldu 1997). Grazing systems will remain an important source of animal products for the foreseeable future. To some extent these systems can sustainably intensify production with stronger institutions, local empowerment, and regulation of access to resources.
Mixed farming systems around the world will continue to intensify and grow in size. Grazing systems may evolve into mixed farming systems where there is potential for mixed farming, as there is in the semiarid and subhumid tropics. Important productivity gains can be achieved in mixed farming by further enhancing nutrient and energy flows between crops and livestock. In mixed systems livestock substitute for natural and purchased inputs, in addition to producing meat and milk. The environmental and economic stability of mixed systems make this form of farming in developing countries a prime candidate for technology transfer and development.
Novel concepts are being developed to integrate crop and livestock production in a farming area rather than on individual farms. Areawide crop-livestock integration allows individual, specialized enterprises to operate separately but energy for farming and flows of organic and mineral matter to be linked by markets and regulations. This produces the highest efficiencies at the enterprise level while maximizing social benefits. A form of areawide mixed farming is already fairly common in developing countries, where manure is bartered for feed.
Industrial systems usually have a competitive edge over land-based systems. But in areas with high animal densities, industrial systems will have to absorb increased production costs as a result of more stringent regulations and pollution levies. In some cases, this will remove the competitive edge of industrial production.
Technology will play an important role in the processing of animal wastes into useful products. Such technologies, for the production of dry-pellet fertilizer from chicken waste, for example, are becoming fairly common in developed countries (CAST 1996). The economics of waste disposal in crowded developing countries are likely to evolve in this direction as well, though probably not in the next 15 years.
Likely Pathways for the Transfer of Livestock Technology to Developing Countries
A number of important technological developments are taking shape, particularly in genetics and reproduction, feeding, and animal health. By 2020 these developments probably will be widely in use. Demand-driven production systems in developing countries will likely adopt these technologies fairly rapidly. Most of these systems will be in East Asia, periurban India, and Latin America outside the An-dean areas. Where demand is growing less quickly - most of South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Andean countries - technology uptake will be slower and important pockets of technological stagnation will remain. Public-sector research and extension for livestock will have a high payoff in the fast-growing areas if they complement private-sector activity and facilitate access to small farmers. In the slow-growing areas public-sector research and extension will provide the main technological vehicle for addressing these issues.
In demand-driven settings, adoption usually occurs through market forces, as long as input prices reflect the relative scarcity of inputs and create the appropriate incentives. In particular, technologies for increased production of pork and poultry will be largely transferable.
Issues relating to livestock and the environment cannot be solved with technical innovations alone. A comprehensive policy framework is needed to facilitate the adoption of effective technologies. Technology remains the key component because future development, including that of the livestock sector, will depend upon land- and water-saving technology to substitute for use of natural resources. This trend toward knowledge-intensive systems can be widely observed. Smart technologies, supported by astute policies, can help to meet future demand while maintaining the integrity of the natural resource base. Better information on which to base decisionmaking is, therefore, urgently required.
New forms of commercial and specialized production that are based upon the resource endowments of a region and that maintain nutrient balances will have to be established. Intensive systems need to be integrated into a wider framework for land use in order to blend resource-saving technologies with the absorptive capacities of the surrounding land. This is particularly necessary for pig and poultry production. New organizational arrangements will have to be found to allow specialized units to capitalize on economies of scale. The future is likely to bring a transformation of family-based mixed farms into specialized and commercial enterprises in rural areas.
Policies will need to promote areawide integration (as opposed to individual farm integration). This kind of production organization is a long-term objective of environmentally sustainable agriculture in high-potential zones. In the developed world, excessive animal concentration is being controlled through quantitative limits on animal numbers and relocation of animal production to areas of lower density. Regulations for industrial production systems in urban and periurban environments need to enforce virtually zero greenhouse gas emissions and restrictive licensing.
To maintain the nutrient balance in nutrient-deficit mixed fanning and to enhance crop-livestock integration in developing countries, policies need to provide incentives and services for technology uptake. To reduce nutrient surplus in mixed farming systems, regulations to control animal densities and waste discharge and incentives for waste reduction are required. Often this implies that subsidies on concentrate feed and inputs used in the production of feed need to be removed.
To address environmental degradation in the grazing areas of developing countries, policies need to facilitate local empowerment and create property-rights instruments, while allowing for the flexibility of movement of pastoralists. Land-tenure arrangements can also help limit the expansion of ranching into the rainforest frontier in Latin America. Lack of market access also degrades the land and needs to be addressed. Other incentives may help to reduce grazing pressure in the semiarid zones, for example, the introduction of full cost recovery for water and animal health services. Grazing fees would provide incentives. Similarly, taxation for pasture and cropland in rainforest areas can discourage forest conversion. This needs to be accompanied by regulations protecting the most valuable areas in terms of the environment or biodiversity.
Finally, as policymakers and development partners become increasingly aware of the key poverty alleviation role of livestock in developing countries, agencies charged with facilitating increased livestock productivity are likely to put poverty alleviation concerns higher on their agenda. This in turn is likely to bind technology development more tightly with cooperatives and other small-producer institutions that help small operators overcome the transaction costs of entry into a major commercial activity.