This is a major step in the right direction,? said Ser. The international community is beginning to appreciate the seriousness of this loss of livestock genetic diversity. FAO is leading inter-governmental processes to better manage these resources. These negotiations will take time to bear fruit. Meanwhile, some activities can be started now to help save breeds that are most at risk.?
ILRI, whose mission is poverty reduction through livestock research for development, helps countries and regions save their specially adapted breeds for future food security, environmental sustainability, and human development.
Industrialized countries built their economies significantly through livestock production and there is no indication that developing countries will be any different. Worldwide today, one billion people are involved in animal farming and 70 percent of the rural poor depend on livestock as an important part of their livelihoods. For the foreseeable future, says Ser, farm animals will continue to create means for hundreds of millions of people to escape absolute poverty.
In recent years, many of the worlds smallholder farmers abandoned their traditional animals in favor of higher yielding stock imported from Europe and the US. For example, in northern Vietnam, local breeds comprised 72 percent of the sow population in 1994, and within eight years, this had dropped to just 26 percent. Of the countrys fourteen local pig breeds, five are now vulnerable, two are in critical state, and three are facing extinction.
Scientists predict that Ugandas indigenous Ankole cattlefamous for their graceful and gigantic hornscould face extinction within 20 years because they are being rapidly suppl
|Contact: Jeff Haskins|