In a recent article by SciDev.Net, it is said that smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa could increase livestock productivity if reliable data systems for livestock diseases are made available. This was recently discussed at a forum in Kenya organised by the Supporting Evidence-Based Interventions (SEBI) project, that is implemented by the University of Edinburgh and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The impact and management of diseases such as East Coast Fever on smallholder farmers can only be fully understood if enough data is available. With the livestock industry making up 40% of the total agricultural gross domestic products (GDP) the sector can transform the lives of smallholders if adequate and real-time data on livestock disease outbreaks is recorded. Although most countries in sub-Saharan Africa lack adequate data, the arid and semi-arid areas have even less.

The forum delivered a clear message that livestock data suppliers and users need to develop opportunities for sharing livestock data and innovations that can help smallholders. –Ursula Human, Stockfarm