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Research

Plant-based solutions to integrate livestock disease control, nutrition and environmental sustainability in Africa

Abstract

This project aims to build on previous work on smallholder farming systems in Africa and determine how local plant resources can be better utilised to support health and production, and hence achieve sustainable livelihood improvements.

Description

Integration of plants with elevated antiparasitic and nutritional properties has the potential to increase resilience of livestock systems and their performance under the challenges of climate change and drug resistance. This will support food security among the rural poor in Africa, who depend on livestock for survival, and aid in the transition of subsistence agriculture to also support growing urban populations. Although plant secondary metabolites are known to have antiparasitic properties and also protect protein from degradation in the rumen, these have rarely been assessed together, nor in field settings in the context of sustainable interventions in integrated subsistence farming systems. Moreover, the indirect benefits of this integration for disease control under climate change through reduction of transmission has not been considered in quantitative terms. This project proposes to run field studies to evaluate and quantify the potential for locally grown plants to impact positively on nutrition and disease in smallholder livestock, by embedding them in existing targeted treatment approaches that have been shown already to have positive effects on health and productivity. The onward effects on transmission will be captured and predicted in well-calibrated mechanistic models of parasite population dynamics. Nonlinear effects on livelihoods will be investigated by socio-economic questionnaire surveys. Outcomes will be an improved evidence base for integrated plant-animal interventions to support sustainable and resilience smallholder production in Africa.

Funding Body

UKRI - GCRF

Lead Organisation

Queens University Belfast

Partners

Rothamsted Research; Harper Adams University, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Botswana International University of Science and Technology; University of Pretoria

Documents

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