Swimming Upstream The Livestock – Water Nexus, November 2008


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"Swimming Upstream The Livestock – Water Nexus," November 2008, by ILRI Director General Carlos Seré

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Swimming Upstream The Livestock – Water Nexus, November 2008

  1. 1. Swimming Upstream The Livestock – Water Nexus Carlos Seré, Don Peden, Gabrielle Persley, Nancy Johnson l Global Forum on Water and Food, Addis Ababa, November 10 2008
  2. 2. Key messages Livestock - water nexus  1. Livestock are a key component in improving agricultural water management, currently playing both positive and negative roles  2. Livestock and water intersect at all levels – global, river basin, farming system, animal, and household levels of water management  3. Better co-management of livestock water productivity will contribute to food security and poverty reduction and reduce negative impacts of livestock on the environment
  3. 3. Presentation Overview  1. Context  2. New paradigm of agricultural water productivity  3. Why livestock - water interfaces matter  4. Future research issues  5. Conclusion 
  4. 4. 1.Context
  5. 5. Context (1) Livestock – water nexus  Livestock progressively included in agenda of Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF)  Phase 1- One out of 33 CPWF projects on livestock Results to be presented by Don Peden here  Phase 2 – One of six priority areas on livestock i.e.  “Research to quantify livestock use of, and impact on, water resources in diverse production systems”
  6. 6. Context (2) Livestock – water nexus  Water also increasingly included in ILRI’s livestock and poverty agenda  Water affects ability of livestock to provide pathways out of poverty for more than 600 million people who depend on livestock for their livelihoods  Water is a key factor in 3 of the 7 global issues on which ILRI focuses its research agenda: Sustainable intensification in crop/livestock systems Vulnerability of the poor in marginal systems Climate change adaptation and mitigation
  7. 7. 2.New paradigm of agricultural water productivity
  8. 8. 2. Agricultural Water Productivity  2007 CGIAR comprehensive assessment of water management in agriculture highlights new paradigm  Historically, irrigation investments critical driver of the Green Revolution in Asia  In future, 75% world food demand likely to come from increasing production in rain fed agriculture  Rainfed agriculture is not only crops but also livestock, in multiple use agricultural water systems  Ultimate water resource to manage is rainfall, and its role in agricultural systems
  9. 9. Livestock Water Productivity  Livestock water productivity = net benefits from livestock per unit of water depleted Grain-fed beef: 100,000 lt water per kg beef Average globally: 10,000 to 20,000 lt water per kg  Extensive beef production is based on grazing rangelands and crop residues, rather than grain
  10. 10. 3. Why livestock - water interfaces matter?
  11. 11. Livestock-water interfaces Examples  1. Global level  2. River basins and watersheds  3. Farming systems  4. Animal level  5. Household level  
  12. 12. Global level Climate change  Livestock (ruminants) also contribute towards climate change by methane production  Livestock in the developing world is a minor contributor to global climate change  Mitigation options include alternative uses of rangelands, such as ecosystem services  Reducing grazing pressure on world’s overgrazed rangelands would sequester large amounts of carbon 
  13. 13. Livestock – water interfaces Basin/watershed In arid conditions, livestock dominates agriculture; risk of overgrazing in upstream regions, leading to soil erosion, excess run off and flooding downstream Inter country trade/ markets can encourage specialized water use in basins e.g Livestock upstream, high value crops downstream
  14. 14. Livestock – water interfaces Farming system level Pastoral systems – rangeland management critical e.g. more watering points to enable livestock to use biomass Crop/livestock systems – multiple uses water; need to restrict livestock access to primary water supply to prevent contamination of drinking water
  15. 15. Livestock – water interfaces Animal level Match animal species and breeds with environment: e.g. African cattle breeds such as Ankole cattle of central Africa better adapted to hot/dry conditions than exotic breeds
  16. 16. Livestock – water interfaces Household level Household water harvesting can be integrated with small scale dairying to increase income Household production of animal foods (meat and milk) improves human health and nutrition, important for women and children
  17. 17. 4. Future Research Issues
  18. 18. Future research directions  1. Need to better understand main drivers shaping nature of trade offs amongst water and livestock  2. Quantifying relative importance of possible interventions in technology, policy and institutions to improve system performance and facilitate multiple uses of water  3. Engaging social change processes to turn new knowledge into action on the ground and in the water.
  19. 19. Research management
  20. 20. Research management challenges for Challenge Program on Water and Food  CPWF addresses complex agenda - physical, biological, economic and social dimensions  Phase 1 – Competitive grants used successfully to mobilise new sources of expertise and address new areas, including livestock
  21. 21. Research management challenges for Challenge Program on Water and Food  Phase 2 – Areas of synergy emerging where specific commissioned research more appropriate  Need to balance participatory approaches with transaction costs of multiple consultations  New challenge of building effective partnerships with local communities, civil society, diverse branches of government, national and international research systems and investors
  22. 22. 5. Conclusions
  23. 23. Conclusions: Potential for impact  Rapidly increasing water scarcity globally and growing demand for livestock products in the developing world,  Improved livestock management presents many opportunities to increase agricultural water productivity and leads to better livelihoods and improved environmental sustainability  R&D investments at the water-food-livestock intersection will have significant pay off in terms of benefits for people, livestock and the environment
  24. 24. www.ilri.org