Goats, sheep, pigs, chickens. These are some of the small livestock that are giving millions of people opportunities. Opportunities to build a house, buy clothes, secure their children’s education, or put food on the table. But the livestock are under threat from preventable diseases.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), smallholder farmers around the world produce about a third of the world’s food. With such an important role, it is essential that these farmers have access to affordable and high-quality veterinary products to keep their animals healthy and be able not only to address their basic needs, but also to help feed the world.
The value of small livestock, such as small ruminants or poultry, has been widely reported. Small stock provides small-scale producers with food, which contributes to nutrition security, creates employment opportunities, empowers women and young people (as they tend to care for and manage small animals), and overall bolsters households’ financials.
Binita is 18 years old and goat keeping is her family’s main support. “We do not have a farm, so goat keeping is our basic means of livelihood. All our household expenses are met with the money we earn from selling goats”.
At Malti’s house, she is responsible for the goats and sheep. Her husband is a casual labourer and the additional income gained from goat keeping helps them in “supporting their children’s education and other such expenses”.
Bitti, 21, takes care of the goats owned by the family. “The income is additional and helps us in taking care of additional expenses, such as the building of our house”, she claims.
Moses is a poultry business owner who was able to build a house for his family thanks to the benefits gained from his farm, which has grown from just a few chickens in 2013 to about 2,000. “My house is built with income from my chicken business. I am no longer renting. Even though I double a bit on crop farming, much of my income comes from my chicken business”, says Moses.
These are just a few of many stories by small-scale producers, who are experiencing the benefits of keeping small livestock.
At GALVmed, we understand the value of livestock, including small livestock. Through collaboration with different partners, we implement diverse programmes which ultimately aim at providing small-scale livestock producers with the medicines, tools as well as knowledge that they need to ensure their animals’ health and secure their livelihoods.
Some examples of these programmes are the Brucellosis vaccine prize, an initiative to develop a vaccine against Brucellosis in small ruminants, The GALVmed Hester South Asia Project, a programme supporting small-scale producers in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Nepal by making available the most needed veterinary products for their livestock and poultry, and PREVENT, a project to boost poultry production in Africa through hatchery vaccination.
At least 1.3 billion people rely on animal agriculture for their livelihood and food security. By taking care of livestock, together with our partners, we are directly protecting humans, the environment, ensuring food safety and security, and contributing to improving the lives of the people who like Binita, Malti, Bitti or Moses, depend on livestock for their livelihoods.
This blog was written by Patricia Valdeón Noya as part of the campaign ”The advantage of small livestock”