Simplistic livestock solutions no help for poor people in transition from smallholders to ‘smartholders’

ILRI news

Australian Nobel laureate Peter Doherty (left), former chair of the program committee of the ILRI Board of Trustees, and Australian Lindsay Falvey, current chair of the ILRI Board of Trustees. 

Jimmy Smith, director general of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), who previously led the World Bank’s global livestock portfolio, was in Australia last week, talking to ILRI’s scientific colleagues and donor representatives in Canberra and Melbourne. ILRI is chaired by Australian Lindsay Falvey and its patron is Australian Nobel Prize laureate Peter Doherty.

Smith was in Australia for public addresses and meetings on the critical role of livestock in global food and nutrition security. In his talks, he countered some of the simplistic solutions to sustainability and health suggested for the livestock sector. Here’s some of what he had to say.

There is no moral equivalence between those who make bad food choices and consume too much…

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The uneasy step from conflict management to collaboration

Managing conflict properly is a great factor of productivity.

Maarifa - Communications and Knowledge Management

Conflict Management Tools (photo credit: Danie Becknell / Bruce Burris) Conflict management tools (photo credit: Danie Becknell / Bruce Burris).

Many development (research) organizations are seeking to understand and harness the potential of collaboration. But collaboration is not easy. Not least because it requires trust. And an alignment of interests. And a good understanding of how power relations work and how they might set people against each other.

Sometimes these elements are just not there despite the initial goodwill. Whether from the start or as a progressive process, conflict shows up.

When it does, most people have difficulty letting go of their desire for harmony and tend to ignore the elephant in the room.

When bravely we face the truth, we realize that conflict is not all easy to understand, to recognize or to apprehend – let alone to prevent when it has degenerative qualities.

In a recent team building retreat, the Communication and Knowledge Management team of the International…

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17 yrs on, did we learn anything from Kibwetere inferno?

The burnout chapel were the Kibwetere cult met its end

The events of March 17, 2000 are forever etched in my mind, the terror and horror was shocking, more than 700 people crammed up in a place that used to be there place of ‘worship’; only charred remains now permanently interred in mass graves. They had congregated to welcome or meet their maker. It had been nearly 3 months past the date which had earlier been communicated since the year 2000 had started; the world did not end as they had been promised so they waited anxiously.

Whereas there’s no evidence of any survivor who walked out of that inferno, stories recounted by members of the cult that survived the spoke of the bizzare goings, but why was there no action taken by state actors? The police, Internal Security and all other organs that carry out intelligence? Why was there no one to smell the rat? Was it too much ‘freedom of association and of worship’? A series of poisonings and killings that were either a group suicide or an orchestrated mass murder by group leaders after their predictions of the apocalypse failed to come about.

Charred remains of the massacre

The security apparatus of Uganda was taken aback by what had happened, the total intelligence failure and subsequent discoveries of bodies in pit latrines in former residences or places used by the cult leadership. The Uganda Police has to this date never concluded its investigation in the matter or declared it a cold case. The last pronouncement by the police was that Kibwetere was in Malawi, they have never caused his arrest or followed it up.

Group photo the cult leaders of the Movement for the Restoration of the 10 commandments cult.

The Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God was a breakaway religious movement from the Roman Catholic Church founded by Credonia Mwerinde, Joseph Kibweteere and others in Uganda. This Doomsday cult was formed in the late 1980s after Mwerinde, a brewer of banana beer, and Kibweteere, a politician, claimed that they had visions of the Virgin Mary. The five primary leaders were Joseph Kibweteere, Joseph Kasapurari, John Kamagara, Dominic Kataribabo, and Credonia Mwerinde.

An aerial shot of the Jonestown massacre orchestrated by ‘Rev’ Jim Jone inset

Previous cults elsewhere like that of James Warren “Jim” Jones, who was an American cult leader. Ordained as a Disciples of Christ pastor, Jones founded and led the Peoples Temple. In 1978, the cult came to a gruesome end in mass murder-suicide of 918 of its members in Jonestown, Guyana, the murder of Congressman Leo Ryan, and the ordering of four additional Temple member deaths in Georgetown, the Guyanese capital. Nearly three hundred children were murdered at Jonestown, almost all of them by poisoning. Jones died from a gunshot wound to the head; it is suspected his death was a suicide.

Other examples of cults ending badly include; David Koresh’s Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, where 87 died in 1993; the Order of the Solar Temple in Canada, Switzerland, and France, where 75 died in 1994, 1995, and 1997; Shoko Asahara’s Aum Shinrikyo, which killed 12 in Tokyo, Japan, in 1995; Marshall Applewhite’s Heaven’s Gate in San Diego, California, where 39 died in 1997. It is interesting to note that David Koresh claimed that he was a final Prophet of that sect.

Today, the tale-tell signs are there, the cults are back, I hope that this time the State through its security organs especially intelligence organizations are alert. The freedoms enshrined in the constitution are being abused. The modern cults today run by millennials are polished, run but white-collar crooks whose methods are highly evolved, they trade in miracles, fortune telling, holy water, holy rice and not directly coercive and brutal as the ones of the former times, the masqueraders as ‘Prophets’, ‘ Bishops’ ‘Apostles’ are all in plain view. They are so clever they’ve fooled the State, and now are in intercourse taking the sheeple and others for the ride, they even need police and military escort to transact business, how did we get to this point?

These masterful con artists dress sharply, they have horned their skills of oration to near spell-binding proportions, brilliant marketers who use the media both traditional like the radio and television; and more modern platforms of social media like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to bait people while taking advantage of their gullibility brought on by limited prospects in life, poverty driven by unemployment. It is a sad tale.

Pr Kakande under heavily armed police escort

The politicians need them for their potential political capital; but this situation breed a quasi spiritual bondage that holds all those players captive. Church or spiritual sects must be separated from the state I call for vigilance from all stakeholders, let us keep eyes and ears open, so that another Kibwetere is averted.

Uganda research-for-development work is helping to transform the country’s growing smallholder pig sector

‘The focus of the government of Uganda is to transform agriculture from subsistence to commercially oriented systems. The work being done by ILRI resonates with the government’s objectives’, the minister reported.

Kabatsi lauded ILRI for its interventions to help transform Uganda’s smallholder pig value chain and its recent research-for-development efforts in the country’s northeastern semi-arid Karamoja region, where poverty rates are high and a drought is currently ravaging pastoral livelihoods.

ILRI news

Above: Pius Kasajja, permanent secretary in the Uganda Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, makes remarks at a livestock stakeholders’ meeting in Kampala (photo: ILRI/Brian Kawuma).

Left and  below: Participants at a livestock stakeholder workshop held in Kampala in Mar 2017 (photo: ILRI/Brian Kawuma).

Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) last week commended the Kenya-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) for its research to enhance livestock value chains in Uganda. These government remarks were made at a meeting of stakeholders in Uganda’s livestock sector organized by ILRI’s Uganda office on 14 Mar 2017 in the capital, Kampala. Participants at the meeting jointly identified opportunities for further ILRI-supported research in Uganda.

Remarks by Joy Kabatsi, minister of state for animal resources, which were read by Pius Kasajja, permanent secretary in MAAIF, acknowledged that ILRI’s research work fits well with the Uganda…

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Making livestock foods safe—Lessons from Vietnam on what works—and what doesn’t

Farmers are reported to produce safe or safer foods for their own consumption, while selling unsafe foods to the public.
There is little trust among stakeholders, but this is not the fault of individual farmers and traders.
Rather, it is the predicament of a food system that has developed in a way that provides little rewards for those who practice good safety, but high rewards for those who carry out bad and unsafe practices.

ILRI news


At the Sunday market in Sapa, northern Vietnam, women butcher hogs slaughtered outside of town but still steaming when they start working on them at the market (image via Flickr/Kurt Johnson).

From ‘Background’
‘Food-borne diseases and food poisonings are attracting a lot of attention in Vietnam due to repeated episodes of adulterated and unsafe food practices receiving widespread media attention. . . .

‘The Vietnamese media gives a lot of attention to food safety issues when famous people pass away at a young age from cancers, asking whether there is something wrong with our food. The countries’ top leaders, too, have discussed food safety issues at meetings of the national assembly. . . .

‘In this paper, we wish to present a perspective on food safety in Vietnam in the context of an international research institution working on food safety with partners in Vietnam and internationally. As we work more…

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the racism behind Kampala

The British Embassy’s Physical Address in Kampala should read…Plot 1, Idi Amin Road. Kamwokya, Kampala instead of one on “Windsor Crescent”. (That should put some hair in their nostrils) Just like the President of Uganda leaves the State House in his motorcade and drives onto a road named Victoria Avenue (shame).

Without understanding this past and what it does to the psyche, we as Ugandans cannot embrace a bright future from this 2017 moving forward and we will never be truly independent in our minds.


A short while back I received a message from a young fellow called Benard Acema, requesting that I run an article here on this blog under my own pen name because the content suited me (or words to that effect).

I automatically thought, “Er…no!” but kept an open mind as decency would require, and encouraged him to email the content.

I was both flabbergasted and flattered, and by the time you are halfway you will understand why.

Here it is, by Benard Acema, with only a few mild alterations made since I first received it:

Kampala’s Racist Design and its Mental Effects on Ugandans Today

When politicians blame Uganda’s problems on Colonialism, most Ugandans especially the young people will inevitably (with immediacy and precision) sneer at such “old peoples” comments and say how these politicians simply have failed to move on and are blaming their failures on a “long ago”…

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