Climate Smart Livestock and Fisheries Production and Management

Several factors are driving changes in the demand for food. Population growth has obvious impact on food demand and urbanization and income growth have considerable effect on patterns of food consumption and dietary makeup (Delgado, 2005; Steifield et al., 2006). Global food demand is projected to increase by between 60 and 110 per cent to 2050 (Alexandratos and Bruinsma, 2012; Tilman et al., 2011). With an expected growth of the world population from 7.2 billion to 9.6 billion in 2050 (UNDP, 2013) and growing prosperity and urbanization, the demand for pork and eggs by 2030 will increase by 65-70%; demand for beef, dairy products and mutton will increase by 80-100%; and demand for poultry meat by 170% compared to consumption levels in 2000. The highest growth in total and per-capita consumption of animal-source foods is projected to occur in low and lower middle-income countries (Robinson and Pozzi 2011).
Despite the uncertainty as to how food demand will evolve in the future, the livestock production systems in general, and in developing countries in particular will of critical importance in helping to meet this demand. As an additional challenge the production response to meeting food demand has to occur in the face of changes in climate and climate variability. Production of food from animal is constrained by the effect of change in climate. Livestock production suffers due to extreme weather events that pose stress, fluctuating feed and pasture availability, quality and prices, impaired reproduction, and expansion of vector-borne disease related to climate change.
Despite its contribution to food demand, animal production is a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide contributing to climate change. Depending on the accounting approaches and scope of emissions covered, estimates by various sources (IPCC, FAO, EPA or others) place livestock contribution to global anthropogenic GHG emissions at between 7 and 18 percent.

Meeting the growing demand for food, fiber and fuel is challenging in the face of changing climate, and less opportunities for expansion of range and grazing lands due to increasing demand for land use for other purposes and land degradation. Hence, maintaining and enhancing the productivity and resilience of animals with in the scenario of changing climate should be the focus area in order to reduce the trade-offs in productivity.
To meet the goals of increased food production under the changing climate, the knowledge gap on how producers (with focus on smallholders) might adapt to changes, enabling factors that may be required, such as capacity of animals to tolerate climate stressors and individual variability and methods or techniques that enable selection for adapted species/individuals should be identified, researched, noted and documented for practical use. The thematic areas listed below are identified with the aim to orient research activities to be addressed for enhancing climate smart sustainable livestock production.

Feed evaluation for climate smart livestock production

Evaluation and selection of forage species/varieties that are adaptive/resilient to changing climate and of high biomass and quality (different grass and legume species); developing method of preservation/conservation of forage for use during scarcity; assessment of possible climate change impacts on feed (crop residues and other forages) production and quality, assessing alternative feed resources to bridge feed scarcity (industrial by-; evaluation of feeding and nutritional value of alternative feeds (untapped industrial by-products: eg. Sugar cane bagasse, cane tops, rice husk etc) to diversify feed and designing their utilization methods (physical, chemical, microbial treatments, and supplementation with quality feeds to increase nutritive value and reduce GHG emission; developing feeding strategies to reduce enteric gas emission (eg. use of feed additives, plant secondary metabolites, propionate precursor, rumen microbial manipulation, effective microbes); identification/evaluation of rumen archaea microbes (methanogens) and development of control methods (vaccine etc.)

  • Methods and practices for range and pasture land management for intensification (through fertilization, cutting regime and irrigation practices) & increased carbon sequestration: evaluation of seed bank, carbon stock, pasture regeneration capacity; evaluation of different legume species/varieties for N-fixation, nitrification inhibition, reduced use of artificial N-fertilizer on range and pasture lands; grassland productivity, species composition and dynamics, and nutrient availability at different climate scenarios.
  • Breed evaluation/improvement for climate resilience

  • Comparison between livestock species and breeds for resilience to climate stressors (temperature, heat wave, humidity etc); evaluation of genetic variability (within and among) and developing methods/models to identify resilient breeds/individuals: traits heritability and gene plasticity for climate resilience; increasing efficiency of reproduction through application of relevant reproductive technologies and reduced mortality; evaluation/selection and breeding of disease resilient animals.
  • Response of livestock breeds to reduced water availability and poor quality: tolerance of livestock species/breeds/strains to saline water, polluted water and the effect of these on animal productivity and food safety. Projecting livestock water requirement and use efficiency at different weather variability (developing model), modelling of impacts of changing weather extremes, and increased weather variability on future livestock productivity .
  • Emerging/re-emerging animal diseases and vectors

    Selection & evaluation of resistant/tolerant of species/breed/strains for emerging/re-emerging diseases; evaluation/selection and breeding of disease resilient animals; model for:-

  • Vector and vector-borne disease control & management
  • Zoonotic diseases control & management
  • Technology development to improve animal health and food safety
  • Livestock production systems/Integrated mixed crop-livestock

  • Identification/evaluation of farm management practices that enhance crop and livestock productivity in mixed crop-livestock production system (e.g. intercropping of food crops with forage species, alley cropping etc); development/evaluation of technologies for transportation, storage, processing and marketing of livestock products (milk and meat) using alternative energy sources (reduced post-harvest loss, increased marketability and reduced vulnerability of smallholders to climate variability); use of indigenous knowledge for milk and meat preservation;
  • Manure management: proper utilization and handling (storage practices, biogas, composting, dung cake etc.; evaluation as source of energy and fertilizer across seasons as strategy of reducing gas emission).