ICARDA's integrated livestock technology package includes four components: animal nutrition, feed and fodder production, preventive veterinary care, and improved genetic stock. It has proved highly successful in Afghanistan and Pakistan and can be applied (with minor local modifications) in other developing countries.
Recognizing sheep and goats are a major source of income and livelihoods for the rural poor, ICARDA helps bring to attention that small-scale farmers usually lack the resources and information needed to improve animal health, productivity, and profitability.
In both Afghanistan and Pakistan, ICARDA's approaches to integrated livestock technology have included:
low-cost feed supplements prepared from cheap, locally-available resources: e.g. hay from guar (cluster bean) and pruning from native shrubs and trees;
preventive veterinary care (vaccination, drenching, de-worming) delivered by community-based extension workers;
distribution of high-quality breeding rams through community-led schemes, to enable poor families to improve flock size and quality; and
simple, home-based dairy processing technologies for converting milk into high-value products like cheese and yogurt.
ICARDA's approaches have resulted in 80-200 percent increases in milk production, meat production and animal growth rates, a dramatic fall in animal mortality rates, and a benefit-cost ratio of 3:1. In Afghanistan, the technology package generated benefits worth over US$650,000, with a 71 percent rate of return on investment.