Letter to a Forum on Role of Native AnGR in Food Security under Climate Change Scenario

I am an applied animal scientist and have been working with livestock breed issues in the context of food security and climate change. Climate change is affecting and will affect (worsen) livestock breeds and production systems. Every year new diseases enter the disease register of livestock species. Last year a fatal respiratory camel disease was reported from many quarters of Asia. The disease was linked to the dryness in the desert because of no rains.

On the other hand, introduction of exotic high yielding livestock breeds in the dry lands of the globe is a useless and wasteful exercise. Such breeds need very high inputs. While providing a favorable environment a lot of energy and water are needed. Grain feeding, high veterinary inputs, need for skilled human resources and others are limiting factors of such breeds.

Local/indigenous livestock breeds are very important and play a pivotal role in food security and livelihoods of the livestock keepers in the world. Such breeds need very low or even zero inputs. They rely on marginal lands, not suitable for agricultural activities. Local breeds are highly resistant to the climate change effects, diseases, feed/water scarcity and droughts.

Unfortunately, there is political and industrial backing for the introduction of exotic breeds.  Local livestock breeds are always neglected while formulating policies for food security and livestock production. The local livestock farmers are also neglected and never participate in policy formulation. Such circumstances make it difficult to achieve the goals of food security, especially in the climate change context. LIFE Network has introduced the idea of livestock keepers rights.

http://www.pastoralpeoples.org/docs/Declaration_on_LKRs_with_initial%20signatories_6.pdf

Also climate change issue is always dragging politically. Carbon credits, methane gas production etc, all are considered as the produce of animals, especially livestock. In this context thousands of Australian camels are proposed to be killed/shoot for carbon credits. Such methodologies are unacceptable and cannot help in reality. The same camel can be used as food aid and food security in the drought affected areas, once those camels are provided to Asia, especially Afghan people.

In short local livestock breeds can be the best tool to combat the effects of climate change on one hand and to reach the goals of food security on the other hand

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Author: raziqkakar

Currently working as Technical Manager Al Ain Dairy Camel Farm, UAE. Before, worked as Prof & Dean Faculty of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lasbela University of Agriculture, Water and Marine Sciences Pakistan. My thematic areas are; research policy, Turning camel from a beast of burden to a sustainable farm animal, extensive livestock production systems. Author is the founder and head of the Society of Animal, Veterinary and Animal Scientists (SAVES) Founder of the Camel Association​ of Pakistan Organizer of the Group Camel4Life. As a freelance scientist working (as a member of steering committee) for Desert Net International (DNI). My focused area of research is the characterization, documentation, and reporting of the indigenous livestock breeds (AnGR) and effort for recognition of the native genetic resources at policy levels. Thinking of natural resources especially, biodiversity and efforts for their judicial use and conservation in the context of climate change and food security is my dream.

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