Livestock farming should not be excluded from climate change conversations and mitigation strategies, experts cautioned during the World Farmers Organisation (WFO) conference in June.
In a panel discussion on regenerating livestock farming, tackling climate change and restoring ecosystems, leading agricultural experts from around the world agreed that livestock farming is often excluded from climate change talks. The missing link, some believe, is African youth and women who are excluded from decision-making structures.
According to Shirley Tarawali, assistant director general for the International Livestock Research Institute and chair of the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock, livestock farming is a key source of income for many farmers across the globe. Yet, governments neglect the development of livestock breeders, Tarawali believes.
“It is equally important that young people and women farmers be given more attention. Initiatives of climate-smart farming on livestock should be channelled to those two groups,” she said.
Tarawali also pointed out that livestock farming training and capacity building should be prioritised.
Youth at the forefront
Meanwhile Thanawat Tiensin, director of the animal production and health division from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, said youth across the globe, especially in Africa needed to engage policy and decision makers more on investment in agriculture.
“For a sustainable agriculture that will create jobs, we need an economically, socially, and environmentally driven approach to ensure that we have a healthy herd.
“We need climate-friendly fields that not only feed livestock with good nutrition but also produces good crops, and in all these we need youth to be in the forefront,” he said.
An inclusive approach
Sareh Forouzesh, deputy director for Just Rural Transition, called for dialogues on smart agriculture to not only occur during high-level global events, but on the ground as well.
“We need to be engaging the farmers who are faced with global warming and challenges as food producers. Let the decisions that are taken at the upper structures be given to ordinary farmers,” she said.
Forouzesh believes around the world, each country should have an inclusive approach on how best to deal with climate change and the impact thereof on livestock production.
She agreed that Inclusivity is key. “Everyone should have a seat at the table, especially the marginalised and women. Not only the powerful,” she added.
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