Communities, Commodities and Crazy Ideas: Changing Livestock Policies in Africa

In the late 1990s a review of aid-assisted livestock projects included an assessment of sustained impact on poorer producers (Ashley et al. 1998). The review looked back over 35 years and analysed documents from more than 800 livestock projects funded by major donors, including the Department foInternational Development (UK), the World Bank, the US Agency for International Development, the European Commission, DANIDA, theNetherlands Development Cooperation and the Swiss Development Cooperation. The majority of these projects were based on a technical transfer paradigmin which constraints facing poor livestock keepers were to be addressed by the development anduptake of technologies, including new methods to control animal diseases, improve livestock breedsor raise production through a variety of other means. However, the lack of sustained impact on the poowas dramatic. In many cases, technologies were developed which livestock keepers either did nowant or could not access due to weak delivery systems. In other cases, the benefits of new technologies were captured by wealthier producers. Partly in response to these problems, a second broa category of livestock projects evolved which aimed to strengthen the capacity of organisations todevelop and deliver novel technologies and services to the poor. These projects focused on government organisations (veterinary and extension services, research centres) and aimed to promote more clientfocused and decentralised approaches. A key project activity was training middle-level managers, researchers and field-level technicians.

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