Contents Issue #3, April 2018
Researcher's Corner: Russo Earns Honor and Leads Capacity Development
Dr. Sandra Russo, the University of Florida’s 2018 Woman of Distinction.
Congratulations to Dr. Sandra Russo for receiving the 2018 Woman of Distinction Award from the Association of Academic Women at the University of Florida (UF). This award recognizes a faculty member who has made significant contributions to the quality of life of women—and our work has been a part of her legacy. Since the inception of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems, Dr. Russo has led our efforts in Human and Institutional Capacity Development (HICD). HICD seeks to strengthen entire systems of agricultural training and education.

“We’re looking for champions of change,” said Dr. Russo. Currently our HICD team is finding where champions are needed most by conducting gap analyses with partner institutions of their systemic challenges. Taking an HICD approach means looking beyond training for individuals to the needs of organizations and the political landscapes in our focal countries.

With decades of experience, Dr. Russo has earned her new title of distinction. She serves currently as the director of the Office for Global Research Engagement at UF’s
International Center and as principal investigator on various gender and development projects about climate change adaptation, water resources management and food security. She was a co-founder of the Center for Gender, Sexualities and Women’s Studies Research at UF. An agronomist and animal nutritionist by training, Dr. Russo has worked in international development in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Middle East since 1981, when she worked on the precursor to the Livestock Systems Innovation Lab, the Small Ruminant Collaborative Research Support Program in Kenya. She has worked for USAID as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow, as an advisor for its Women in Development Fellows program from 2000 to 2008 and the principal investigator for two Feed the Future projects at UF: Innovation for Agricultural Training and Education (InnovATE) and Integrating Gender and Nutrition within Agricultural Extension Services (INGENAES). Watch Dr. Russo as she moderates the final panel at our 2017 Global Nutrition Symposium, “Aligning Donor Efforts for Greater Impact.”
Highlights of Ongoing Research-for-Development
Livestock feed industry in Burkina Faso is growing rapidly.
Urban forage demand for backyard livestock raising is high in Burkina Faso (credits: M. Eilitta)
Gates Foundation-funded Project Commences in Burkina Faso and Ethiopia

With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, early this year the Livestock Systems Innovation Lab launched a new project “Equip: Strengthening smallholder livestock systems for the future.” It features two subprojects in the countries of Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. The subproject engaged in both countries is addressing livestock feed issues and is appropriately named FEED.

The FEED research team gathered in Ethiopia (January 26-27) and Burkina Faso (February 5) to clarify objectives and roles. The Global Nutrition Symposium in Ethiopia (see below) formally launched the efforts in Ethiopia, whereas in Burkina Faso, a project launch was held on February 6, after a week-long trip by UF forage scientists to different stations of the Institut de l’Environnement et de Recherches Agricoles (INERA).

FEED subcomponents have the following aims:
  • Inventory feed resources through a landscape analysis. This component will be led by Hawassa University in Ethiopia and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Burkina Faso. The outputs will be a national feed database, feed composition tables, and feed demand and supply maps, which will provide much needed information for policy makers, academics, private sector and research, development and extension personnel.
  • Evaluate yield, quality and preservation of improved fodder varieties. This component will be led by the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) in Ethiopia and the University of Florida with INERA in Burkina Faso. It will test location-specific improved forages for the countries’ different agroecologies and provide a list of best bet varieties for optimizing the performance of ruminants in Burkina Faso and dairy cattle in Ethiopia. It will also document the willingness of farmers to pay for and adopt well-performing varieties and improved forage preservation strategies.
  • Determine and meet nutrient requirements of indigenous livestock with balanced rations. This component will be led by the University of California, Davis, in both countries. It will involve literature reviews and feeding trials that will result in documentation of the nutrient requirements of the indigenous dairy cows (in Ethiopia) and small ruminants (in Burkina Faso). Balanced rations will be formulated to optimize livestock productivity and reduce methane emissions by livestock. 
  • Improve the capacity to analyze the nutritional value of livestock feeds. This component of work will be led by ILRI in both countries. It will develop capacity to use Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS), a rapid, inexpensive method of feed nutrient analysis, and support to the development of a Community of Practice for the NIRS analysis.
  • Examine effects of synergizing feed, management and genetic interventions on milk production in Ethiopia. This study will be co-led by UF and ACDI/VOCA. It will assess synergistic improvements in milk production by dairy cows that are achievable from combining genetic, management and nutrition interventions.
Equip will also conduct research on “Campylobacter Genomics and Environmental Enteric Dysfunction (CAGED).” This study, headed by the University of Florida, seeks to confirm a causal relationship between Campylobacter, environmental enteric dysfunction, and reduced linear growth in children under two. CAGED starts with formative research and then conducts an experimental intervention that uses chicken coops to contain poultry droppings, the hypothetical source of Campylobacter. The project team held meetings in Ethiopia in January and in Florida in March with partners, including Haramaya University (Ethiopia), Ohio State University and Washington University in St. Louis.
Dr. Sarah McKune speaks at the March 1st CAGED Symposium.
Watch the CAGED Symposium about Stunting and Sanitation

The CAGED project was launched in the U.S. on March 1 during a symposium, available on our website, titled “Livestock, Sanitation, Hygiene, and Child Growth: Exploring the complex underlying causes of child stunting.” The symposium was co-hosted by UF’s Center for African Studies and Institute for Sustainable Food Systems. Topics addressed ranged from causes of stunting to molecular diagnostics, and featured speakers included Dr. Mark Manary (Washington University), Dr. Derek Headey (International Food Policy Research Institute, IFPRI), Dr. Wondwossen Gebreyes (Ohio State), Dr. James Platts-Mills (University of Virginia), and Dr. Auro Gelli (IFPRI), in addition to the team from the University of Florida. Before and after the symposium, project partners met to plan research activities.
Dr. Bart Minten, second from left, shares his research at our Annual General Meeting.
Surveys Cover Dairy Sector and Animal-Source Food Prices in Ethiopia

Dr. Bart Minten, a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute, shared his research findings and plans at our Annual General Meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. On January 23, Dr. Minten’s partners from the Ethiopian Research Development Institute and the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research started a survey on the dairy value chain across Ethiopia. The survey reached 1,000 dairy producers, 65 rural butter traders, 80 rural milk traders and 240 Addis Ababa-based retailers. The survey represents phase two of this three-year research project, “Better Performing Livestock Systems in Ethiopia: Reviewing the Evidence to Improve Policies,” and was designed on the basis of exploratory interviews with the different stakeholders in major dairy producing areas.

This year, the project is supporting two PhD students, providing trainings that build local capacity and generating evidence that will drive policy making. Last year, it published a research note, “The rising costs of nutritious foods in Ethiopia.” It found that in the past decade in Ethiopia, prices of dairy, eggs and meat increased by about 30 percent, but those of other less nutritious food items, such as cereals, fell in price. A concern is that poorer diets will result from these trends.
Caring for livestock in Niger.
Long and Short-term Projects Begin in Niger and Burkina Faso

Niger and Burkina Faso, countries that share borders in the Sahel region, have the third and fourth largest livestock herds in West Africa, respectively. Livestock research therefore has great potential to bring improved nutrition and greater food security in them. Two projects in West Africa are ready to launch their activities. One multi-year Reach project, “Enabling Value Chains to Create Sustainable Income for Vulnerable People in Crop-Livestock Systems,” is led by Dr. Vincent Bado from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), with collaboration by the Burkinabe Agricultural Research Institutes (INERA), Conseil National de la Recherche agronomique du Niger (CNRA), ILRI, New Mexico State University, and USAID-funded Resilience and Economic Growth in Sahel - Enhanced Resilience (REGIS-ER). The project will use the Innovation Platform approach to drive changes for a more equitable participation of smallholder small ruminant farmers in value chains. Focus will be on animal-source food demand in the region, fodder production, animal health interventions and participative approach to design of improved systems. A second, one-year Focus project, “Improving Nutrition in Children Under 2 Through Increased Egg Consumption,” will assess gifting of chickens by community leaders as a way to improve nutrition of infants in Burkina Faso. The project is led by Dr. Sarah McKune from the University of Florida, in collaboration with INERA and Hawassa University in Ethiopia. Learn more about the livestock sector in Niger and Burkina Faso by visiting our webpage for Publications.
Dr. Keshav Prasad Sah is the principal investigator for a project on good husbandry practices to control mastitis in Nepal.
Fostering Dramatic Drops in Mastitis Levels in Nepal

A Focus project in Nepal has been examining effective ways to reduce disease incidence in dairy cows and buffaloes. Many smallholders in the intervention sites were not even aware of subclinical mastitis until contacted last year by the project led by Dr. Keshav Prasad Sah of Heifer Project International Nepal. The project developed a manual for mastitis reduction and tested effectiveness of good husbandry practices after farmer training. The project detected a mastitis infection rate of 80 percent in buffaloes, which is much higher than recorded in previous studies. After training and support from the project, some farmers were able to reduce infection rates to 25 percent or lower. Now Dr. Sah is planning to spread this practical knowledge across Nepal. 
“Mastitis is an endemic problem, and it’s everywhere in the country,” said Sah. “We’re thinking of how to replicate the lessons learned and training to other areas.” Already, a public service announcement about mastitis has reached more than 100,000 radio listeners, and a new training manual is supporting outreach in both the government and private sectors. Learn more about “Improving Dairy Animal Productivity and Income of Dairy Farmers through Effective Control of Mastitis Disease,” and read a success story about how Farmers in Nepal Learn to Fight Hidden Disease.
Capacity Building
Week in Ethiopia Builds Capacity and Friendships and Fosters Networking

Ethiopia is the research site for more projects than any of the other target countries of the Livestock Systems Innovation Lab. Therefore, it made sense to hold the 2018 Annual General Meeting and Global Nutrition Symposium in the capital, Addis Ababa. The week of January 21-27 featured presentations and discussions on the ongoing research projects and those about to start, orientations for new projects, field trips, the third multistakeholder Innovation Platform meeting in Ethiopia and even a night of Ethiopian dancing. Here we provide highlights from two of the main events of that week.
Global Nutrition Symposium Focuses on Quality Feeds

We were pleased to welcome so many new and familiar faces to our second Global Nutrition Symposium, held at the Harmony Hotel in Addis Ababa on January 24 to 25. The Symposium’s theme focused on livestock feed, an issue identified as the most urgent priority for livestock research during initial Innovation Platform meetings held in six countries by the Livestock Systems Innovation Lab, and it was titled “The Missing Link: Increasing Availability of Animal-Source Foods Through Greater Production and Marketing of Quality Feeds.”

The Symposium opened with remarks from Dr. Diriba Geleti of the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, who challenged the nearly 90 participants to explore public-private partnerships. Moderated by Dr. David Sammons from the Livestock Systems Innovation Lab’s External Advisory Board, the opening session featured introductions by Dr. Faith Bartz Tarr from USAID Ethiopia, Ms. Kristen MacNaughtan from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Oumou Sanon from Burkina Faso’s INERA, and Dr. Alan Duncan from the International Livestock Research Institute. These presentations were followed by a keynote talk on quality feeds and business models by Dr. Harinder Makkar, a member of the External Advisory Board. Presentations are available on our website. You may also watch and read all presentations from last year’s Global Nutrition Symposium, which was titled “Nurturing Development: Improving Human Nutrition with Animal-Source Foods.”

The 2018 Symposium was the first event organized by the Livestock Systems Innovation Lab that was co-funded by USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It follows the January 2 announcement of a grant to the University of Florida to create the Equip project, which focuses on improving quality feed supply for livestock and increasing food safety. “At the Gates Foundation, we’re very passionate about livestock,” said MacNaughtan. “It has become increasingly obvious that feed is that critical missing link,” she stated, noting that feed is a new interest for the foundation.

This year’s Symposium also featured 25 posters or abstracts and 10 working groups addressing the themes of “Solutions for Increasing the Supply of Quality Feed” and “Models and Tools for Feed Delivery.” The Symposium concluded with a field trip to local feed or seed suppliers, followed by a visit to Ethiopia’s remarkable National Museum.

We wish to express a grand “thank you” (in Amharic, አመሰግናለሁ) to our many partners who made this Symposium possible. Building on the successes and Tweets of #GNS2018, we hope to see you at the third Global Nutrition Symposium (#GNS2019), which we will announce later this year.
Partnerships Deepen at Annual General Meeting

Gathering for the second Annual General Meeting of the Livestock Systems Innovation Lab, 58 participants convened on January 22 and 23 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. At the ILRI campus, the Livestock Systems Innovation Lab’s researchers and management entity shared updates, progress, solutions to problems and plans to add value and scale-up projects during a series of presentations and poster sessions. Our director, Dr. Gbola Adesogan, challenged us to build resilience and find ways to turn our research into action. Smaller groups convened to discuss plans to develop journal articles or other actions on themes such as feed quality, disease surveillance, gender and enabling policies. A full group photo of attendees is available on the Events section of our website at
Monitoring and Evaluation
Visiting a dairy cooperative in Palpa district, Nepal.
Team Evaluates Progress on Research Projects in Nepal

All four active research projects in Nepal are making substantial progress. This became evident during a two-week visit in early February, when our Regional Coordinator for Asia, Varijaksha Panicker Padmakumar (Padma), joined forces with Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, Brigitte Pfluger and Communications Specialist, Jim Harper. Through semi-structured interviews, field observations and archival research, they assessed Step 1 of the Livestock Systems Innovation Lab’s evaluation framework. Future Steps 2 (Dissemination) and 3 (Impact) of the evaluation framework are scheduled for 6 and 18 months after each project’s completion. Read the updates about all ongoing projects in Nepal in the Publications section of our website.
Publications and Events
Our First Brief on a Case Study in Nepal

The first of our research briefs titled Understanding Empowerment in Order to Improve Nutritional Outcomes: Initial Findings from Nepal Case Studies, summarizes gendered conceptions of vulnerability and strength in rural Nepal. The study was a collaboration of our Innovation Lab with the Feed the Future INGENAES (Integrating Gender and Nutrition within Agriculture Extension Services) project. The authors are University of Florida student Katie McNamara and her advisor Dr. Sarah McKune, who also serves as our lead for the cross-cutting theme of Human Health and Nutrition. The initial findings in the brief arise from a study in Nepal with seven focus groups held in July and November of 2017. Participants used a technique of drawing their conceptions and discussing the meaning of these illustrations. Men and women diverged in their perceptions of “empowerment” and its formation, and only women ranked “health” as a primary factor. Interestingly, all participants connected empowerment to increased consumption of animal-source foods. The study’s method of self-reflection shows promise for assessing ingrained perceptions, and the researchers intend to conduct further analysis of the findings.
Speakers at the 2017 Global Nutrition Symposium included, from left to right, Dr. Lindsay H. Allen, Dr. Lora Iannotti, Dr. Arie Havelaar, Dr. Felicia Wu and Dr. Ian Givens.
Watch a Video on 2017 Symposium about Nurturing Development: Improving Human Nutrition with Animal-Source Foods

Watch on YouTube and share this summary of the 2017 Global Nutrition Symposium. Consider using the video to introduce recent nutrition research to students, community groups and others. For full videos of the symposium’s presentations, navigate to the webpage of the 2017 Global Nutrition Symposium, which also features the YouTube video.
Click here to watch Videos
Speaking about Safe ASF

Take a moment to share our infographic on The Importance of Consuming Safe Animal-Source Foods. The printable file charts and illustrate several risk factors, how to reduce the risks and ideas for future research.
Tackling Goat Plague in Uganda

Read this “Student Spotlight” from the University of Florida: One Health student Emi Moore tackles small ruminant plague in Uganda. Her advisor is also our Human Health and Nutrition Cross Cutting Theme Leader, Dr. Sarah McKune.
Next Innovation Platform in Rwanda

Rwanda’s third multistakeholder Innovation Platform meeting is scheduled for April 27 in Kigali after an internal project meeting involving the three main projects in Rwanda on April 26.
Meet our Regional and Country Coordinators
Have you met our representatives for Africa and Asia? These coordinators provide vital on-the-ground support across six countries in West Africa, East Africa and Asia. They are highly experienced professionals with extensive networks in their regions. Visit the Our Team section of our website for their contact information. They are:
Isidore Gnanda,
Country Coordinator for Burkina Faso

Dr. Gnanda heads INERA’s  Animal Production Department and Nutrition Lab in Burkina Faso. His research focus has been on small ruminant nutrition, including through multi-nutritional blocks. He has a PhD in Rural Development from the Polytechnic University of Bobo-Dioulasso.
Moctar Karimou,
Country Coordinator for Niger

Dr. Karimou is the Livestock Technical Advisor for Mercy Corps Niger, and a veterinarian by training. In addition to Niger, he has previously worked in Canada and Burkina Faso, and has a broad understanding of livestock issues in Niger. He has a post-graduate degree in Management and Sustainable development from the University of Montreal, Canada.
Zeleke Mekuriaw,
Regional Coordinator for E. Africa

Dr. Mekuriaw is based at ILRI in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He helped to establish Debre Tabor University, where he was an Associate Professor. Dr. Mekuriaw holds a PhD in Animal Reproductive Technologies from the University of Free State, South Africa.
Varijaksha Panicker Padmakumar,
Regional Coordinator for Asia

Mr. Padmakumar is a scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in India. He spent 21 years with Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation, working extensively with dairy cooperatives and on environmental issues. He earned a post-graduate degree in Tropical Animal Production and Health from the University of Edinburgh, UK.
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This newsletter is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and its Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems managed by the University of Florida and the International Livestock Research Institute. The contents are the responsibility of the University of Florida and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.
Copyright © 2018 University of Florida, All rights reserved.

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