KENYA – The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is collaborating with the African Union InterAfrican Bureau (AU-IBAR) for Animal Resources to develop evidence-driven solutions to address the adverse effects of crises on African feed and fodder systems, Capital News reports.
According to AU-IBAR, the move follows the livestock crisis in Kenya and the Greater Horn of Africa region that has reached alarming proportions, with more than 8 million animals lost due to feed and fodder shortages.
To address this pressing issue, therefore, the Bureau is convening a crucial five-day consultative workshop called the Resilient African Feed and Fodder Systems, which will be held in Naivasha, Kenya.
According to AU-IBAR, the workshop aims to produce actionable strategies that will not only alleviate the immediate impacts but also build long-term resilience in the animal feed industry and boost the region’s livestock industry.
The Bureau attributes this shortage to the adverse effects of climate change, which have led to unpredictable weather patterns and prolonged drought seasons in Kenya and Africa.
This devastating situation has not only resulted in significant economic losses for thousands of families, but it has also made highly nutritious livestock products such as milk, meat, and eggs unaffordable.
Experts report that feed constitutes 60-70 percent of the total cost of animal production, making it crucial to find sustainable solutions to ensure business continuity and livelihoods in the region.
To achieve the objective, the workshop will bring together experts in AU-IBAR and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in an evidence-based forum critical to shaping coordinated action to respond to feed and fodder shortages.
Among the expected experts include Dr. Nick Nwankpa, the Ag Director of AU-IBAR, Dr. Christopher Wanga, the Director of Livestock Policy Research and Regulations, State Department for Livestock, and representatives from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, including Dr. Shannon Mesenhowski, Senior Program Officer of the Livestock Team.
According to experts, feed and fodder shortages have forced farmers in Kenya and the Greater Horn of Africa to feed their livestock with low-quality feeds, resulting in reduced animal productivity.
Additionally, climate change’s unpredictable weather patterns have also affected farmers who prefer to grow maize, leading to crop failures and a subsequent decline in feed quality and quantity.
Therefore, the workshop looks after the urgency of the situation and necessitates collective efforts and innovative measures to address the feed and fodder crisis in Kenya and the Greater Horn of Africa.