The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has launched the Africa Sustainable Livestock (ASL) 2050 report to develop opportunities in the livestock sector across the Continent.
The ASL initiative, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), looks in detail at 6 African countries – Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda.
It looks at what actions can be taken to ensure a sustainable development of the sector in the face of the projected rise in population, urbanisation and other factors. Africa’s population is set to rise from 1.2bn today to over 2.5bn in 2050.
The FAO report says future growth and transformation of the African livestock sector will be unprecedented, contributing to meet consumer demands for animal products, improved food security and nutrition. However, some of the challenges include outbreaks of zoonotic diseases, such as avian influenza, pollution and soil degradation, lack of water and air quality issues.
The report says poultry is one of the main agricultural industries in Burkina Faso, representing 6% of agricultural value added, with the country producing 140,000 tonnes of meat and 6,000 tonnes of eggs each year.
Statistics show that poultry meat contributed 16.47% of meat consumed in Burkina Faso with per capital consumption approximately 8kg of poultry meat and 1kg of eggs per year.
The main threats are perceived as control of enzootic disease, such as Newcastle Disease and Gumboro, and avian flu, the quality of medicines and management of biosecurity on farms.
The main opportunities for the poultry sector rely on the increase in the domestic market with an emerging middle class, the establishment of a future agricultural bank and the elaboration of policy guidance documents and investment plans. Challenges include loss of productivity caused by zoonotic diseases, greenhouse gas emissions and other damage to the environment and the improvement of economic profitability to deal with competition and fraud.
Egypt’s population is expected to grow by 65% in the next 3 decades and national projections foresee a 642% increase in GDP with GDP per capita expected to rise from USD 4,000 to USD 20,000. The larger, increasingly affluent and urbanised population will consume more high-quality foods, and in particular meat, milk and eggs. Consumption of poultry and eggs will increase by over 1100% and 480% respectively.
For example, current consumption of poultry is just 903,000 tonnes but this is set to rise to 3.19m tonnes in 2050 and 11m in 2050. Egg consumption is set to rise from 283,000 tonnes to 786m in 2030 and 1.6m in 2050
At present, commercial farms and large holdings make up less than 10% of the poultry production sector but this is set to grow. The Egyptian government is supporting livestock intensification as a way to meet growing demand for livestock products. For example, a ministerial decree was issued in 2017 to organise poultry farm operation licensing, with the aim of pulling together smallholder farmers to operate as one larger farm on new land.
However, the report does detail a number of challenges facing Egyptian poultry farming, citing the impact high pathogenic avian influenza has had on public health. Since 2006, there have been 359 human cases of HPAI, resulting in 122 deaths.
The report says demand for poultry meat and eggs is expected to rise by 179% and 88% between 2010 and 2050 and that the growing demand for livestock products will provide incentives for farmers to expand their asset and increase productivity through intensification.
Ethiopia should build on the lessons learned in Asia and take action now to avoid the negative effects a developing livestock sector can cause to society. Livestock already uses 687 billion litres annually, and if projections are correct, this could rise to nearly 4 trillion litres by 2050. The growing number of animals will also pose challenges for waste management and greenhouse gas emissions.
At present, the Ethiopian Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries is implementing the 2015-20 Livestock Master Plan, which targets raising meat and egg production from chickens to 164,000 tonnes and 3.9bn eggs. But at the same time the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is looking to reduce the number of cattle by at least 45m heads by 2030.
“In such a setting, where a rapid growth of the livestock sector could result in major consequences for public health and the environment, and policy makers take different perspectives to address livestock sector issues, articulating long-term scenarios that identify sustainable livestock development trajectories is essential for the design of policies that are more resilient for the future.”
Kenya is anticipated to face an unprecedented growth in demand for food in the next 30-40 years. The growing, increasingly affluent and urbanised Kenyan population will consume more high value food, such as meat, milk and eggs. Currently, per capita consumption of meat is low, averaging no more than 10kg for any type of meat.
Supply projections for poultry show a rise from 26,000 tonnes in 2010 to 48,000 tonnes in 2030 and 71,000 tonnes in 2050, representing a 174% rise. However, this is dwarfed when compared to the projected egg rise – from 87,000 tonnes in 2010 to 537,000 tonnes in 2050.
While there are considerable potential job creation opportunities in both the rural and urban sectors, challenges of disease control, biosecurity and water are expected to remain.
The Nigerian poultry industry is the second largest in Africa after South Africa comprising of about 180 million birds producing 454 billion tonnes of meat and 3.8 million eggs per year. About 80 million birds are raised in extensive systems, 60 in semi-intensive and the remaining 40 million in intensive systems.
Income from livestock presents a significant share of total household income across all production systems, contributing to 23, 20 and 51 per cent of total household income in extensive, semi-intensive and intensive systems. Off-farm labour is also an important source of income and can also include processing or marketing of meat or eggs.
Levels and structure of gross revenues from poultry are very different across production systems with intensive egg production faring well.
However, there is concern about welfare issues, particularly the low level of productive and use of animal health services. Only 6% of poultry farmers report to have vaccinated a single bird and 15% report diseases in their flocks, suggesting there is major potential to enhance the contribution of livestock to household livelihoods and well-being.
Poultry production is well spread around the country with an estimated 37.4 million birds. Indigenous chicken makes up 85% of the poultry population with 55% free range, 20% semi-intensive and 25% intensive.
Over 40% of the population lives in a household keeping chicken, amounting to 17m people. From these, a great majority (80%) keep birds in free-range systems.
As Uganda grows and develops the challenges will be to expand poultry operations, selling products to the market and improving livelihoods. Some smaller farmers will exit the market and look for alternative sources of employment as cheap proteins will be available. The sector will as a result intensify and become more concentrated, particularly as land will become scarce and there will be an increased reliance on peri-urban poultry production systems.
Poultry production will continue to impact positively on public health through better nutrition and income availability but also negatively through zoonotic diseases that jump the animal-human species barrier. Salmonellosis and HPAI are seen as potential threats.