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East Africa’s livestock sector reeling from climatic shocks

Climatic shocks have worsened poverty, food insecurity, and income losses to smallholder farmers and pastoralists in the region

Nairobi, Kenya | Xinhua | The livestock sector across the East and Horn of Africa has experienced a slump in productivity due to climatic shocks including frequent droughts, experts said at a virtual forum held in Nairobi on Wednesday.

Paul Opio, livestock officer at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), said that extreme weather events are to blame for the declining production of meat and milk that herders in the region rely on to meet their basic needs.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) organized a virtual forum to discuss the impacts of climate change in East Africa, with attendance of policymakers, researchers, and green campaigners.

Opio said that climate change is behind a spike in vector-borne diseases affecting livestock in the region besides fuelling resource-based conflicts among nomadic communities.

David Balikowa, senior livestock officer at the East African Community (EAC), said that climatic shocks have worsened poverty, food insecurity, and income losses to smallholder farmers and pastoralists in the region.

“Climate change has undermined the resilience of the livestock sector in the region leading to forced migration and displacement of nomadic communities,” said Balikowa.

Wamalwa Kinyanjui, an animal health expert at IGAD Center for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development, said that governments in the region should prioritize investments in climate adaptation in order to cushion herders from acute droughts, floods, water scarcity, and disease-causing pathogens.

“Index-based livestock insurance, the establishment of fodder banks, irrigation and water harvesting will boost the resilience of pastoralists in a region already experiencing climate-induced shocks,” said Kinyanjui.

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Xinhua

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