As global demand for meat and milk increases, many policies focus on promoting international trade in livestock and livestock products. How does this affect the community-based livestock services that poor people use, and who will benefit from the expanding global markets?
In areas affected by repeated droughts, donors and United Nations agencies are beginning to understand the benefits of more livelihoods-based livestock programming. This includes a shift towards long-term development approaches in which drought is predicted and planned for, rather than being regarded as an unexpected 'shock'. This move towards livelihoods-based analysis and programming is particularly important in dryland areas and as a response to climate change.
Currently, some policymakers recognise the need to promote the participation of poorer livestock producers in international trade. However, there are few examples of how to make this happen. The key is to improve government policies, including an increased commitment to poor livestock producers. An article in the latest issue of id21 insights (Issue#72 February 2008) suggest some of the policy changes within the livestock sector that will help the poorest people benefit from the predicted expansion in the sector.