According to a report released by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), intervening early in countries predicted to be hit by natural disasters - with new evidence that early interventions reduced the impacts of 2017 drought in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia - can prevent threats from becoming humanitarian emergencies and can reduce its impact.
For every $1 FAO spent on early livestock interventions in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia in early 2017, herders braced for another harsh drought, each family saw benefits worth up to $9 due to fewer animals dying of hunger and disease and producing up to three times more milk. Herders were also able to better safeguard their future as losing their animals would be like losing their life savings; it would fuel a dangerous spiral of poverty and the reliance on much more expensive emergency assistance.
Investing in early interventions is key as natural disasters are on the rise
In the Horn of Africa, the weather has become more and more unpredictable. One drought follows another, robbing poor communities of their limited possessions, and leaving them increasingly more vulnerable. Globally, natural disasters strike nearly five times more often than four decades ago.
"Investing in early interventions is not only humane and smart, it is also cost-effective. Protecting livelihoods before disasters strike means greater resilience to future shocks and less pressure on strained humanitarian resources," said Dominique Burgeon, director of FAO's emergency and rehabilitation division, strategic programme on resilience. "Acting early is crucial and possible, and it is also the responsible thing to do. There is mounting evidence that the earlier we respond, the greater the capacity of communities to cope," added Burgeon.
The benefits of acting early
Early 2017, when rains failed again, FAO quickly mobilized to come to the aid of thousands of most-at-risk herders.
FAO’s early interventions focused on: distributing highly nutritious emergency feed for key breeding animals; providing veterinary services to keep animals alive and healthy; rehabilitating water points and installing water tanks; and delivering training on livestock best practices and management of livestock markets to government officers.
As a result, in Kenya, on average two more animals were saved per pastoralist family compared to those who did not receive assistance; each child under five in the programme drank about half a litre of milk more per day, which represent a quarter of the daily calories and 65 percent of the daily protein needs of a five-year-old.
At the peak of the drought, herds assisted by FAO were not only surviving, but were strong and producing three times the usual amount of milk. Families who received assistance reported that their animals were in much better health and condition.
Livestock intervention investment
As previously mentioned, for every $1 FAO spent on livestock interventions for each family, the family had a return of $3.5. When the cost of avoided food assistance and restocking were added, the return on investment ratio increased to $9 per family. On the other hand, Kenyan herders who did not benefit from early assistance were forced to sell double the number of animals as prices slumped from $80 to $30. They also killed nearly triple the number of their animals, both to eat and to lessen the burden of feeding them.
In Somalia, it cost about $0.4 to provide veterinary treatment to a goat, and $40 to buy a new one. By treating over 1 million animals belonging to nearly 180,000 people in the worst-hit areas of Somaliland and Puntland, FAO’s interventions helped herders save over $40 million, and the milk was enough to nourish 80,000 vulnerable mothers and children.
These activities also helped kick-start a large-scale and effective famine-prevention programme. Overall, FAO assisted more than 7 million Somalis.
In Ethiopia, for every $1 FAO invested in protecting over 100,000 animals belonging to some 60,000 people in the worst-hit areas of Somali region, each pastoralist family gained $7 dollars in benefits.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This Message Board accepts no liability of legal consequences that arise from the Message Boards (e.g. defamation, slander, or other such crimes). All posted messages are the sole property of their respective authors. The maintainer does retain the right to remove any message posts for whatever reasons. People that post messages to this forum are not to libel/slander nor in any other way depict a company, entity, individual(s), or service in a false light; should they do so, the legal consequences are theirs alone. Bizcommunity.com will disclose authors' IP addresses to authorities if compelled to do so by a court of law.