Editorial: the livestock revolution and ICTs
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CTA. 2004. Editorial: the livestock revolution and ICTs. ICT Update Issue 15. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57645
Over the last decade the growing global demand for livestock products has given rise to a real ´livestock revolution´.
Over the last decade the growing global demand for livestock products has given rise to a real ´livestock revolution´. In many developing countries the livestock industry is expanding faster than any other agricultural sector. In order to address the environmental, health and economic challenges posed by this revolution, governments, NGOs and individual farmers need both comprehensive, up-to-date information resources and clearly defined policies and regulations agreed upon by the international community. This issue of ICT Update reports on a number of initiatives to assess how ICTs may help meet these needs. ICTs are being used in several ways to facilitate compliance with international regulations that aim to combat the spread of animal diseases, and address food safety and other public health concerns. Current EU regulations stipulate that imported livestock products must be traceable from the packing plant back to the individual animals and farms in the country of origin. Those regulations form the background of the IDEA project, outlined by Christophe Korn, which assessed the feasibility and effectiveness of electronic animal identification systems. Tinus Burger then describes the Livestock Identification Trace-back System (LITS) project in Botswana, which has installed radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to identify and monitor millions of beef cattle destined for export to Europe. Focusing on an equally valuable approach in the Pacific region, Alexandre Fediaevsky reports on the Pacific Animal Health Information System (PAHIS), a database and decision support system issued on CD-ROM. Veterinary officers throughout the region now have access to the information they need to carry out risk analyses. ICTs are potentially important tools for improving livestock management, and protecting environmental resources such as grazing land and water supplies. Alioune Kâ and Yalacé Kaboret describe the innovative ´Cyber Shepherd´ project in the Sahel, where pastoralist livestock herders are learning to address the problems of increasing drought and overgrazing using GPS devices and GIS mapping to monitor and manage their livestock. Finally, ICTs are helping small-scale farmers to play a role in the increasingly integrated livestock production and marketing chain. T.P. Rama Rao writes about Indian milk collection centres, which have introduced ´smart cards´ to help farmers improve their dairy herds and the quality and quantity of their milk. Japie van der Westhuizen then explains how the ARC Animal Improvement Institute (AII) in South Africa is using a wide range of ICTs in its schemes to assist farmers in improving their livestock. The six initiatives described in this issue are just a few of the inspiring advances being made in the use ICTs for development. They demonstrate that ICTs are playing a vital role in the livestock revolution and in enabling all those involved, from farmer to retailer, to improve the quality and quantity of livestock products and reduce the risk of potentially harmful side effects.