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Livestock farming matters more than ever as global hunger grows worse

France’s national development agency AFD has agreed to lend €300 million to the United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The money will go towards helping small-scale farmers in high-risk countries build up their resilience to shocks and increase their productivity.

Small-scale farmers produce 50% of the world’s calories, IFAD said on making the announcement but have herds and crops that are often at risk because of climate change and other factors.

It said that in 2019, 690 million people went hungry. This is 60 million people more than the figure for 2014. IFAD said it expects the figures for 2020 to be even worse, with the effects of covid-19 taking the total number of people going hungry this year to 825 million.

Livestock is one of the fastest growing agricultural subsectors in developing countries, accounting for about 30% of agricultural GDP.

Livestock herds contribute to the farming operations of more than 800 million poor smallholders, according to IFAD. The Rome-based organisation has said rural households can improve their livelihoods by raising a wide variety of animals, including cows, buffaloes, sheep, goats, pigs, camels, llamas, alpacas, horses, donkeys, rabbits and even bees.

It has estimated that demand for livestock products will more than double over the next 20 years because of urbanisation, economic growth and a change in consumption patterns in developing countries.

Image: IFAD

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