April 25, 2024


FAO director-general urges for more investment into more sustainable livestock sector in Africa




During the 33rd Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa held last week in Morocco, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Qu Dongyu, called for increasing collaboration and investment for a more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable livestock sector in Africa.


In a special event organised by the African Union Commission, Qu emphasised the significance of the Livestock Development Strategy for Africa, hailing it as a major transformation instrument to guide innovative actions and achieve the sustainable development of the sector as outlined in the FAO's Sustainable Livestock Sector Transformation vision.


He underscored the critical role of livestock in Africa, not only for food and nutrition security but also for livelihoods, inclusive growth, job creation for youth and women, poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability.


Qu explained that while 60-80% of rural households in most African countries rely on livestock for various purposes. The consumption of animal-source food in Africa remains relatively low but is expected to increase by 2050. This increase, Qu noted, would be driven by factors such as population growth, economic development, urbanisation and dietary shifts.


Addressing the challenges ahead, the director-general stressed the importance of implementing solutions that foster low-emission and climate-resilient livestock systems, as well as efforts to combat endemic and transboundary diseases, including zoonotic and pandemic threats.


Qu also emphasised the need for a multisectoral One Health approach to manage agrifood systems effectively and prevent future pandemics, citing research indicating the significant proportion of emergent human pathogens with animal origins.


Additionally, he highlighted collaborative milestones with the African Union and other partners, such as the global eradication of Rinderpest in 2011 and ongoing efforts to eradicate Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) by 2030. He called for sustained momentum and political commitment to these endeavours.


The director-general reiterated the FAO's readiness to support member countries in controlling animal diseases and sustainably developing the livestock sector, including with initiatives to strengthen feed industries and value chains.


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