No javascript detected! Our online shopping basket requires javascript. You can also complete your order by phone at 855.9HUNGER
You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security. You can also complete your order by phone at 855.9HUNGER
Return to World Ark Blog Landing

WASHINGTON, D.C.—“So why livestock?” asked Heifer International’s President and CEO Pierre Ferrari, in his introduction to the Capitol Hill summit Livestock for Livelihoods on July 23. The Livestock Revolution is as important as the Green Revolution in feeding the world, he said. It’s demand-lead rather than supply-lead and provides substantive income increases for smallholder farmers in addition to improved nutrition.

“Livestock supports the livelihoods of a billion people in the world,” Ferrari said. “It provides food and income. It is a major source of protein. It provides essential micronutrients, which are difficult to get and absorb through other agricultural products. It’s a valuable asset to large populations. It provides a measure of wealth, … is culturally significant in all sorts of ways and of course it provides status.”

The discussion, sponsored by Sen. John Boozman, (R-Ark.), co-chair of the Senate Hunger Caucus, and hosted by the Alliance to End Hunger and Heifer International, focused on five issues including food security, nutrition, women’s empowerment, environment and resilience for smallholder farmers.

(From left) Pierre Ferrari, Heifer International; sponsor Sen. John Boozman, (R-Ark.); and Ambassador Tony Hall, the Alliance to End Hunger.

“Livestock play a crucial role to rural economies and small farmers in the developing world,” Boozman said in his keynote address. “Heifer International has been leading the way on this front and showing how livestock can revolutionize the fight against hunger.”

Muquarrab A. Qureshi, of the United States Department of Agriculture, reminded the audience of the sobering statistics: In the world, 1 billion people go hungry and 1 billion more are malnourished. According to the FAO, 239 million people go hungry in Africa every year. “In my opinion, livestock, poultry, aquaculture and perhaps other animal commodities, are the answers, and I’ll give you some examples of that.

“We have now genetically superior dairy cows that produce 34 percent more milk with 48 percent fewer dairy cows than in the 1960s. … Also we have genetically superior laying hens, that can lay 500 to 600 eggs in one laying cycle which is about 100 weeks, almost one every day. … With just one egg per day, children are proven to have higher test results, were larger and as a whole much healthier.”

Panelists and sponsor Sen. John Boozman at the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.

On the topic of nutrition, panelist David Bunn of the University of California, Davis, emphasized that livestock and poultry are critical for the nutrition and livelihoods of the poorest 1 billion people living in rural Africa and Asia. Including poultry in the livestock discussion with policymakers is key, he added.

“One of the big trends among international nutrition organizations is that they support homestead food production—dark leafy greens and potatoes—but in the last 10 years they’ve turned to livestock,” Bunn said. “The reason is very clear: Science has proven that for the micronutrients that are key for children under 3 years of age, the best possible source of those nutrients are animal-based sources.”

Discussions such as this one are critical to educate policymakers so they can see the value of allocating research funding and investment to livestock work, Bunn said.

“A crops-only approach dooms smallholders to subsistence farming and endless poverty,” said Steve Denne, Heifer’s COO, after the event. “Livestock are high value-add products that can enable smallholder farmers to be competitive (with the right organization and infrastructure) and generate enough wealth to be lifted out of poverty.”

Steve Denne of Heifer International and Rebecca Middleton of the Alliance to End Hunger after the event.

Farmer and D.C. panelist Cody Hopkins, of Falling Sky Farm in Marshall, Ark., emphasized the potential. “We need to train farmers to build economic systems. In return those economic benefits are returned to rural communities desperately in need of that support. Being able to bring capital into these communities creates a multiplier effect that makes a big impact.”

“Farming is an inherently risky business, but food is a necessity,” Hopkins said.

This is especially true for women farmers, who often don’t have the same access to land or business loans as men.

Women are the backbone of agricultural production throughout the world, said panelist Antonio Rota of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). “If we train women, we will have healthier animals, better husbandry. As soon as there is income coming in and a woman is in control, the children are better fed. They go to school; they get medicine. This money is put in a bank account, used to better the livelihoods of more people. We must invest in the opportunity and power to women to have some control.”

Panelist Trevor Tomkins of venture | dairy added, “Wherever you go in developing world, you see lots of livestock. It’s women that are attending them. But the women are trapped. The trap is the money goes to the men. There’s not enough focus on getting financing and funding to those women.

“We all talk a lot about teaching people to do things better, teaching them to use new technology. But frankly, if they don’t have the opportunity to borrow money or get equity, they are simply trapped. That is what we have to start changing. … We have to enable farmers—including women—to start their own businesses.

“It comes back to Cody’s point. We have got to have value chains, linking producers to markets. We have to give them the wherewithal to borrow money or find investors to invest in their business. It’s not a cheap date anymore,” Tomkins said.

After the event, Tomkins added that "If policymakers understood the need to work with the private sector to develop transparent value chains that would connect smallholder farmers to markets, the results would be transformative. ... The private sector would benefit because of the growing demand for high-quality animal protein and products, and the policymakers will see the benefits of more rapid economic prosperity and food security in these developing economies."

The role of public-private partnerships was key to many of the issue points, including food security and resilience for smallholder farmers.

“If we want to support smallholders to get into production, we have to invest in changing the way they produce,” Rota said. “We need to go to a more demand-driven model. People want a safe, quality product in a consistent manner. We’re trying to get more involved into public-private partnerships, because we see the role of the private sector is a fundamental one to bring this kind of knowledge and technologies forward to smallholder farmers.”

Boozman embraced the idea, and the role of policymakers in further investment in smallholder agriculture to help feed the world. “My mission today is to emphasize the point that we have to work together,” he said. “The old days of going it alone aren’t there anymore. The public-private partnerships, which you all represent so well, we really appreciate your efforts and will do anything we can to help.” 

Author

Donna Stokes

Donna Stokes is the managing editor of World Ark magazine. She has worked for Heifer International since September 2008 when she leaped over to the nonprofit world from a two-decade career in newspaper journalism.

Free Download

You only need to enter this information once to download digital resources.

My Basket
Need Help?

Basket Summary

edit

{{ product.title }} {{ product.subTitle }}

Qty: {{ product.quantity }} @ {{ product.price | currency }} Qty: {{ product.quantity }} @ FREE Monthly
{{ (product.quantity * product.price) | currency }} Free

No products in cart.

Additional Impact {{ processingFee | currency }} Sub-total {{ cartSubTotal | currency }} Shipping Cost {{ orderShippingCost | currency }} NOT YET CALCULATED Tax Cost {{ orderTax | currency }} NOT YET CALCULATED Total {{ cartTotal | currency }} Monthly Total {{ cartSubscriptionTotal | currency }}

{{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

edit

Billing Address

{{ billingAddress.first_name }} {{ billingAddress.last_name }} {{ billingAddress.address_1 }} {{ billingAddress.address_2 }} {{ billingAddress.city }}, {{ billingAddress.state }} {{ billingAddress.zip }} {{ billingAddress.country }}

Company

{{ billingAddress.company }}

Shipping Address

{{ shippingAddress.first_name }} {{ shippingAddress.last_name }} {{ shippingAddress.address_1 }} {{ shippingAddress.address_2 }} {{ shippingAddress.city }}, {{ shippingAddress.state }} {{ shippingAddress.zip }} {{ shippingAddress.country }}

Basket Summary

Step 1 of 2 Step 1 of 3
All major credit cards and Paypal accepted

Get your free Honor Cards after checkout.
All major credit cards accepted

Get your free Honor Cards after checkout.
Your basket has been updated.
The following item(s) are now sold-out or unavailable and have been removed from your cart:
-{{ product.title }} {{ product.subTitle}} ({{ product.quantity}})

{{ nag.title }}

{{ nag.description }}

{{ product.title }} {{ product.subTitle }} To: {{ product.giftCardRecipientName }} From: {{ product.giftCardSenderPrint }} Email: {{ product.giftCardRecipientEmail }} Delivery: {{ product.giftCardDeliveryDate }} Message: {{ product.giftCardMessage | truncate '200' }} Delivery: {{ product.additional_info['deliveryDate'] }} Message: {{ product.additional_info['personalMessage'] | truncate '200' }} 1 {{prods["title"]}}

{{ (product.quantity * product.price) | currency }}/month
You've reached the maximum number of products for this item.
You've reached the maximum number of products for this item.
${{ product.price }}
$ {{ product.price }} Free
Monthly
Remove
Subtotal {{ cartSubTotal | currency }}
Monthly Subtotal {{ cartSubscriptionTotal | currency }}
It's not a hand out. It's a hand up.

For maximum impact, try adding a few items to your basket.

Browse The Gift Catalog
Secured Checkout

Increase Your Impact with a Donation Visit the Gift Catalog

Make an even bigger impact with a donation from our Gift Catalog

Responsibly-Sourced, Artisan-Friendly Gifts Shop the Marketplace

Shop the Marketplace for responsibly-sourced, artisan-friendly gifts
Secured Checkout
Secured Checkout
Edit Basket Summary

{{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

Step 2 of 2 Step 2 of 3
All major credit cards and Paypal accepted

Get your free Honor Cards after checkout.
All major credit cards accepted

Get your free Honor Cards after checkout.
Shipping Information

If you have received a gift catalog in the mail please enter the highlighted code that begins with a "D" or a "P" in the source code box below. If you have not received a Heifer Gift Catalog please leave the source code blank.

Shipping Address
Secured Checkout
Secured Checkout
Edit Basket Summary

{{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

Step 2 of 2 Step 2 of 3
All major credit cards and Paypal accepted

Get your free Honor Cards after checkout.
All major credit cards accepted

Get your free Honor Cards after checkout.
Billing Information
Enter your company name to see if your employer will match your gift.

If you have received a gift catalog in the mail please enter the highlighted code that begins with a "D" or a "P" in the source code box below. If you have not received a Heifer Gift Catalog please leave the source code blank.

Billing Address
Secured Checkout
Secured Checkout
Edit Basket Summary

{{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

Step 2 of 2 Step 2 of 3
All major credit cards and Paypal accepted

Get your free Honor Cards after checkout.
All major credit cards accepted

Get your free Honor Cards after checkout.
Billing Information
Enter your company name to see if your employer will match your gift.

If you have received a gift catalog in the mail please enter the highlighted code that begins with a "D" or a "P" in the source code box below. If you have not received a Heifer Gift Catalog please leave the source code blank.

Billing Address
Shipping Information

If you have received a gift catalog in the mail please enter the highlighted code that begins with a "D" or a "P" in the source code box below. If you have not received a Heifer Gift Catalog please leave the source code blank.

Shipping Address
Secured Checkout
Secured Checkout
Edit Basket Summary Edit {{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

Payment Information

Step 3 of 3
All major credit cards and Paypal accepted

Get your free Honor Cards after checkout.
All major credit cards accepted

Get your free Honor Cards after checkout.

Payment Summary

Additional Impact {{ processingFee | currency }} Sub-total {{ cartSubTotal | currency }} Shipping Cost {{ orderShippingCost | currency }} NOT YET CALCULATED Tax Cost {{ orderTax | currency }} NOT YET CALCULATED Total {{ cartTotal | currency }} Monthly Total {{ cartSubscriptionTotal | currency }}

Pay By Credit Card
Pay with
Pay with
We were not able to process your request. Please try again or contact Donor Services at 855.9HUNGER (855.948.6437).
Secured Checkout