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The state of food and agriculture 2009: Livestock in the balance

State of food and agriculture 2009

Published by FAO
Website: www.earthprint.com/productfocus.php?id=FAO110188
2010, 176pp, ISBN 978 9 25106 215 9(Pb) US$75

Livestock support the livelihoods and food security of a billion people. But in many countries, the absence of strong governance and regulation, coupled with rapidly rising demand for meat and other livestock products, is increasing the risks of disease and the pressure on land, water and biodiversity. Tackling the links between livestock, food security and poverty reduction, climate change, and diseases, The state of food and agriculture 2009, FAO's annual flagship publication, argues that while the livestock sector must continue to meet rising world demand, "it must do so in an environmentally sustainable way, while managing the incidence and consequences of animal diseases and providing opportunities for rural development, poverty reduction and food security."

Growing international trade, inadequate access to veterinary services, and concentration of livestock near urban populations has increased the risk of animal disease outbreaks and the emergence of new animal-related threats to human-health, such as H1N1 and SARS. "Meanwhile," the report adds, "climate change is altering patterns of livestock disease incidence, as pathogens and the insects and other vectors that carry them enter new ecological zones". Improving early warning systems for disease outbreaks by involving animal health workers, and strengthening national and international animal health and food safety systems are among the recommendations made.

To meet the challenges and constraints highlighted, this comprehensive publication calls for appropriate institutions, research, development interventions and governance that reflect the diversity within the sector and the multiple demands placed on it. "The issue of governance is central," says Jacques Diouf, FAO director general in the foreword. "Identifying and defining the appropriate role of government, in its broadest sense, is the cornerstone on which future development of the livestock sector must build."

Date published: March 2010

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