Reducing climate emissions from livestock while improving food security

Reducing climate emissions from livestock while improving food security and livelihoods is a global challenge. A recent study on manure management policies and practices in 34 developing countries revealed that knowledge and awareness are key barriers for practice changes. Knowing the barriers also reveals the opportunities for change. The study is part of the Livestock and Manure Management Component, part of the Agriculture Initiative of the global Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC). In 2015 the Component led by Wageningen UR Livestock Research, supports six opportunities for practice change to showcase to key stakeholders that practice changes are possible.

Global Assessment
The study assessed livestock manure policies in 34 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. This was followed by an in-depth assessment of manure management practices in Bangladesh, Viet Nam, Ethiopia, Malawi, Argentina and Costa Rica. The assessments revealed the key barriers for improving integrated manure management:
1. lack of awareness
2. low levels of knowledge and missing knowledge infrastructure
3. limited access to financial credits or other incentives
4. ineffective policies and legislation
As a result of the assessment, six opportunities for actual practice change will be carried out in the coming year. The aim is to improve manure related policies as well as farm practices with the overall objective of improving agricultural productivity while mitigating methane emissions at the same time.
Integrated Manure Management
Manure is a valuable source of crop nutrients, organic matter and renewable energy. It contains more components than synthetic fertilisers. Despite the importance of manure, manure management is often poor and as a consequence, nutrients and organic matter are lost, causing environmental and climate problems and threatening public health.
Integrated manure management encompasses all activities associated with management of dung and urine; from excretion; collection, housing, and storage; anaerobic digestion, treatment, transport to application, and includes losses and discharge at any stage along this ‘manure chain’. Integrated manure management improves the use of manure for energy production and nutrients use. This reduces the emission of greenhouse gases and can improve soil quality to boost agricultural productivity.
Climate and Clean Air Coalition
The actions for practice change will be carried out under the Livestock and Manure Management Component of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition’s (CCAC) Agriculture Initiative. The CCAC is a world-wide effort to reduce the emission of Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs). These air pollutants have a relatively short lifetime in the atmosphere – a few days to a few decades – and have a warming effect on climate. They include black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons. Most of them are also hazardous air pollutants with detrimental impacts on human health, agriculture and ecosystems.
The Livestock and Manure Management Component is coordinated by Wageningen UR Livestock Research in close collaboration with the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the Stockholm Environmental Institute in Bangkok, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) in Costa Rica.
Source: Wageningen UR