In sub-Saharan Africa, livestock is crucial for the livelihoods of more than 80 per cent of households that are classed as poor. As a result of a growing population, increasing income and urbanisation, demand for livestock products is rising steadily.
Climate change has a negative impact on livestock production. Rising temperatures and lower annual rainfall reduce livestock productivity and inhibit the growth of fodder crops. Due to soil degradation and water scarcity, animals no longer have sufficient food. Land-use conflicts are increasing, threatening food security and gradually eroding livestock farmers’ livelihoods.
However, livestock production is not only affected by the impact of climate change, but also contributes to it. For example, in many countries in the region, the agricultural sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The largest part often comes from livestock production, such as emissions released during the digestive process of ruminants, storage and application of manure, and fodder production. Many countries indicate in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) their willingness to implement measures for reducing livestock sector emissions; however, emission data is not yet available for accurately determining the mitigation potential of climate-smart livestock systems. These systems are better adapted to the impact of climate change and contribute to climate change mitigation. Livestock farmers and policy-makers in particular require information on possible climate scenarios and tried-and-tested solutions for their implementation.
Key actors in the livestock sector increasingly include climate change adaptation and mitigation in their farming practices, sector strategies and investment projects. Within the framework of the Paris Agreement, countries are improving the reporting of their NDCs in the livestock sector.