VSF Belgium seeks more aid for African pastoralists

    Is it wrong to focus on crop productivity to fight poverty and hunger in developing countries? An aid group suggests doing so may not always be the most efficient and effective approach.

    The livestock that some 1 billion poor people depend on for livelihood deserves attention too, according to Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Belgium.

    VSF Belgium’s argument is in reaction to Bill Gates’ most recent defense of foreign aid. The group welcomed Gates’ defense but highlighted the lack of focus on livestock in his recommendations.

    “Livestock is often forgotten, although it is one of the most sustainable and economically viable ways of living in arid and semi-arid lands,” the group says. “If we only focus on the crops, we forget that more than one billion poor people depend on livestock to provide essential nutrition and livelihoods.”

    New seeds and technologies, as Gates suggested, are also not always the best solutions, VSF Beligum says. Instead, the international community should take into account the role of livestock in the livelihood of people in Africa’s arid and semiarid regions, it argues.

    “We don’t always have to invent new technologies; facilitating traditional knowledge and local innovation combined with ‘modern’ insights can offer sustainable solutions for pastoralists to cope with future challenges,” the group says.

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    About the author

    • Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.