Scottish researchers donate £16m to improve cattle genetics


Scottish researchers donate £16m to improve cattle genetics

September 30, 2022

Improved genetics will be used to help smallholder farmers in developing countries

Scottish researchers dedicated to supporting smallholder farmers in the global south through advances in animal genetics research are beginning a new phase in their endeavour, according to Press release from Rural College of Scotland.

The Center for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health CTLGH, of which Scottish Rural College (SRUC) is a founding partner, has been awarded approximately* additional funding to support its work over the next five years in bringing the benefits of genetics research to livestock production in low- and middle-income countries ( LMICs).

Building on the success of the first phase of CTLGH’s work, the organization has secured approximately £13 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and approximately £3.1 million from the UK Government through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCDO).

The funding will be applied in partnership with a global network of farmer-facing organizations, to deliver the benefits of genetic gains in dairy cows, poultry and other livestock.

Experts at CTLGH centers in Scotland, Kenya and Ethiopia will seek to apply insights from genetics research to enable purpose-bred animals that are more productive, healthier, more nutritionally efficient and resilient in the face of climate and environmental challenges, helping the livelihoods of tropical livestock producers.

The funding tranche supports the center’s current strategic plan, which will focus on developing tools and innovations for resilient livestock systems for smallholders over the next decade.

CTLGH’s founding partners – The Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh, SRUC and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) – will focus on research, capacity building and knowledge sharing to strengthen partnerships and achieve strategic goals.

CTLGH was created to harness the advances in genetics, genomics, animal husbandry, and data science that are driving and sustaining genetic progress in advanced economies, and apply them to livestock production systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

The launch of the new phase of CTLGH was announced at an event at ILRI’s headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

Currently, 1.2 billion people around the world depend on livestock for income and food security; It is important for poverty alleviation and economic development, said Apollinaire Djeking, Director of CTLGH and Head of Tropical Agriculture and Sustainable Development, University of Edinburgh. It can provide, and put that in the context of livestock development for smallholder farmers.”

He said, “Healthy, productive livestock that are equipped to withstand a changing climate and environment helps achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by enabling more efficient and resilient production systems that require fewer livestock.” Positive impact by translating discoveries from the laboratory into tangible benefits for many.”

Wayne Powell, President and CEO of SRUC said: “SRUC is pleased to continue to play a leadership role in this important project. For many years we have ensured that ranchers benefit from constantly improving breeding tools from new research. Furthermore, our experience in Data and digital twinning – taking lessons from a digital dairy chain led by SRUC – will be central to the center’s future as it helps farmers and tackles poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.”

* 1 British Pound = 1.12 US Dollars

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