Digitalizing the African Livestock Sector

New study on the status quo and future trends for sustainable value chain development

Cover photo: Rendille using an eBook
© Petra Dilthey/ethno e-empowerment (eeem.org)

Livestock has a key role in supporting the livelihoods of millions of rural households in Africa. Overall it contributes substantially to the food security on the continent.

The livestock sector is the backbone of many African economies and the projected strong increase in demand for animal-source foods offers tremendous opportunities for economic growth and the creation of new jobs in livestock value chains.

To tap into this potential, the sector will need to increase its productivity and invest in the expansion of value chains — while simultaneously finding answers to challenges that come with the changing climate, the loss of biodiversity and a degrading resource base.

Heat, droughts, depleting water resources and the spread of disease all negatively impact livestock productivity and demand that strategies are adapted to cope with a changing environment.

At the same time, the sector needs to promote the sustainable production of animal source foods to mitigate its own negative impact on the climate and natural resource degradation.

Where does digitalization come into play?

Digitalization has a great potential to support the development of a productive, climate-resilient and low-emission livestock sector in Africa.

Digitalization is already revolutionizing the way livestock value chain actors work, connect and do business together. The impact of digitalization is probably most incisive for livestock keepers in remote areas who get never experienced access to information, modern production inputs, services and markets.

Note for SNRD colleagues

Are you thinking about using digital applications in your agriculture project but you feel you’re rather new to the field and unsure where to start?

This is exactly how the authors felt two years ago and it led them to create this report.

The publication aims at digital newbies and digital natives who want to get a comprehensive overview of the quickly expanding market of digital applications for African livestock value chains.

Information and communications technology applications range from simple SMS to remind livestock keepers of upcoming due dates to notifiers to get their cattle vaccinated, all the way to showing satellite-based vegetation maps to guide pastoralists to the best grazing grounds during droughts as well as complex platforms to virtually aggregate animal-source foods produced across the country.

What this report will help you with

  • You get an overview of ICT for agriculture as well as the most important underlying technologies
  • You can identify available digital solutions for sustainable livestock value chain development
  • You better understand how digital solutions work in practice
  • You learn from start-ups who give insights why they developed applications, their functions, underlying business models and lessons learned during development and implementation
  • You get an overview of opportunities as well as the risks and challenges of using ICT in your project

Contact

Gesine Haensel, Advisor Programme for Climate-Smart Livestock Systems (PCSL)

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