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Tropentag 2023, September 20 - 22, Berlin, Germany

"Competing pathways for equitable food systems transformation: trade-offs and synergies."

Screening for innovations that address sustainability trade-offs in Kenyan livestock systems

Louis Philipp Schwarze1, Thomas Daum1, Wellington Mulinge 2, John Mburu3, Regina Birner1

1University of Hohenheim, Inst. of Agric. Sci. in the Tropics (Hans-Ruthenberg-Institute), Germany
2Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, Socio Economics and Policy Development, Kenya
3University of Nairobi, Dept. of Agricultural Economics, Kenya


The consumption of livestock products in Africa is soaring in response to population growth, urbanisation and rising incomes, which will trigger a livestock revolution leading to the intensification and up-scaling of livestock systems. While this creates economic opportunities for livestock keepers and could alleviate pervasive nutritional deficiencies, it may come with a “long shadow”, causing challenges such as rising greenhouse gas emissions, zoonotic diseases, land-use changes, marginalisation of smallholders and environmental pollution. Innovations that minimise trade-offs and foster synergies between sustainability dimensions could help to harness the potentials of a livestock revolution while minimising its long shadow. Yet, little is known to which extent existing innovations address these sustainability trade-offs.
Taking Kenya as a case study, we explored sustainability trade-offs of typical poultry, dairy and beef livestock systems. Then, we screened for available innovations and assessed their potential to address trade-offs. Data was collected in 11 expert focus group discussions comprising 49 key informants from livestock-related research and advisory institutions using participatory matrix scoring and listing.
Matrix scoring results underscore that small-scale beef and dairy systems are highly relevant for nutrition and local livelihoods but associated with trade-offs like land degradation, land use change and vulnerability to climate change. Key trade-offs in poultry systems are low economic resilience, overuse of antibiotics and food safety risks. In total we identified 47 innovations of which most (75%) are narrowly geared to enhance productivity through intensification. These innovations often implicitly improve local livelihoods (49%) but leave environmental trade-offs such as land use change, environmental pollution and GHG-emissions as well as issues like food safety and animal welfare largely unaddressed (5-10%). Only very few innovations, for example biodigesters and insect-based feeds, are explicitly trade-off minimising while others such as chicken cages or pure breeds further exacerbate existing trade-offs. We recommend further examination of the livestock innovation systems to identify obstacles for trade-off minimising innovations.

Keywords: Innovation, livestock revolution, livestock systems, livestock's long shadow, trade-off analysis

Contact Address: Louis Philipp Schwarze, University of Hohenheim, Inst. of Agric. Sci. in the Tropics (Hans-Ruthenberg-Institute), Bergweg 6a, 34471 Volkmarsen, Germany, e-mail: louis.schwarze@uni-hohenheim.de

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