Animal source foods
byANH Academy
Open Full Event

Intro animation:

Animal source foods studies at ANH2020


Session recording:

ANH2020: Animal source foods


Speakers and presentations:

  • Session chair: Emorn Udomkesmalee, Mahidol University

  • Caroline Hambloch, ICRISAT
    @CaroHambloch @ICRISAT
    Assessing the institutional environment for inclusive livestock value chains in Malawi
    Presentation | Slides

  • Kendra Byrd, WorldFish
    @kendraabyrd @WorldFishCenter
    Contribution of inland fisheries to diet and growth of children in sub-Saharan Africa: a food systems approach
    Presentation | Slides

  • Aurelia Lepine, UCL
    @Aure_Lepine @UCL
    A study of the demand drivers of animal source food consumption in Nairobi’s lower income households
    Presentation | Slides

  • Robyn Alders, Chatham House
    @RobynAlders @ChathamHouse
    Smallholder livestock and aquaculture policy environment: what’s required to achieve economic, environmental and social sustainability?
    Presentation | Slides

  • Soledad Cuevas, SOAS University of London
    Supporting small farmers in highly industrialized broiler value chains to promote rural livelihoods and nutrition security: A system dynamics approach
    Presentation | Slides


Assessing the institutional environment for inclusive livestock value chains in Malawi 

Caroline Hambloch1

Sabine Homann-Kee Tui1

Sikhalazo Dube2

Andre van Rooyen1

Chamuka Thebulo1

1International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)
2International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)


Increasing imports of livestock products driven by population growth, demand for animal-based proteins, and unfavorable tariff structures in the region has increased the need for participation of smallholder livestock value chain (VC) actors in high value markets. However, smallholder-based livestock value chains (VCs) in Malawi are facing limited policy support and investments to improve local market structure and competitiveness (Gondwe 2005; Tebug et al. 2012; Maganga, Chigwa, and Mapemba 2015). This study assesses to what extent public policies and practices and industry behavior enable or hinder the sustainable development of smallholder-based livestock VCs in Malawi.       


The study adopts a multi-chain approach (chicken, goat, dairy) beyond the point of production. It assesses blockages in the institutional environment of these VCs, which hinder their inclusive and efficient development. Leverage points are identified to strengthen the local market structure and upgrading opportunities for value addition for small- and medium-scale VC actors. A two-step research framework is adopted:

1. Value chain mapping from a policy perspective:
1.1. Map out relevant institutions, laws/regulations, policy processes affecting the VCs.
1.2. Conduct a stakeholder analysis to identify stakeholders and their relationship to the policy process. Analyze to what extent stakeholders facilitate or impede design and implementation of policies.
2. Policy analysis and recommendations:
2.1. Conduct a policy analysis, and develop a matrix of institutional constraints, prioritized in terms of key development outcomes (e.g. poverty, nutrition, and gender).
2.2. Develop policy recommendations that consider technical feasibility, implementation capacities, impacts for VC actors, time frame, and political acceptability.

Research methods:
- Ongoing innovation platforms and policy dialogue meetings with VC actors to identify/verify solutions to institutional constraints
- Desk research, policy review
- Key informant interviews to deepen issues identified through stakeholder engagements
- Focus group discussions to benefit from shared insights from stakeholders


Preliminary analysis of collected data (data collection ongoing) suggests that livestock VCs do not receive adequate policy support. As a result, the potential of livestock to improve economic, social and nutrition outcomes for the poor are not being realized. Significant opportunities exist for small- and medium-scale producers in all three VCs, as urbanization and increasing incomes have led to vibrant demand for livestock-related products. For example, the research finds that both urban and rural consumers increasingly demand meat from village chickens due to perceived better taste and nutritional value, representing a high potential niche market. However, critical institutional constraints are identified that affect small- and medium-scale producers’ potential to take advantage of these opportunities. Public investments are critically needed in the development of adequate infrastructure (e.g. transport, local processing and storage facilities), technical support (specifically, feed to reduce production costs and health control to increase productivity), and quality control and food safety regulations. Public policies and investments can result in necessary productivity gains, reduction of wastage, and value addition, which can increase producers’ incomes and improve nutritional outcomes by increasing the availability of cheap quality protein.


The current institutional environment in Malawi is unfavorable towards developing inclusive smallholder-based livestock VCs, which are critical to increase incomes and diversify diets through animal-sourced foods. Simultaneously, Malawi is experiencing an emerging nutrition transition whereby urban consumers are increasingly able to access cheap animal-based foods (mostly imported), whilst rural populations continue to exhibit protein deficiencies and minimal income growth. The disconnect between agriculture and nutrition both within the political structure and policy implementation is a critical driver for these dynamics. Increased integration of agriculture-nutrition concerns into policy making and implementation are essential to improve economic and social outcomes.


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Contribution of inland fisheries to diet and growth of children in sub-Saharan Africa: a food systems approach

L. O’Meara1

F. Simmance1

D. Mills1,4

P. Marinda2

J. Nagoli3

S.J. Teoh1

S. Funge-Smith5

P. Cohen1


K.A. Byrd1

1WorldFish, Penang Malaysia
2University of Zambia, Zambia
3WorldFish, Malawi
4ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies James Cook University, Australia
5Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome, Italy


Little is known about the contributions of inland fisheries to childhood nutrition. We aimed to spatially analyse associations of inland fisheries, access to markets, and socio-demographic factors on dietary diversity and linear growth of rural children aged 6-23 months in Malawi and Zambia.


We combined data from Demographic and Health Surveys for Malawi (2015-16, n=3995) and Zambia (2013-14, n=2333) with environmental spatial data on proximity to inland fisheries (meters from lakes, rivers and streams) and access to markets (average minutes required to reach an urban centre).


Proximity to inland fisheries was positively associated with fish consumption in children (p=<.001 for both countries). The longer it took to access a market, the more likely the child was to consume fish (p=<.001 for both countries). Fish and non-fish animal-source food (ASF) consumption were positively associated with dietary diversity (p=<.001 for both countries). Wealth was positively associated with dietary diversity in Malawi (p=.002) but negatively in Zambia (p=.022). Linear growth was positively associated with maternal height (p=<.001 in both countries) and BMI (Malawi p=<.001; Zambia p=.002) but not dietary diversity or wealth.


In low-income, rural settings, inland fisheries provided an important ASF for children to achieve adequate dietary diversity. Inland fisheries were also an important source of wealth in Malawi. We did not find a link between environmental factors and linear growth, highlighting complexities between ecosystems and human health. This study provides evidence that inland fisheries in low-income countries must be governed effectively to ensure nutrition security for children.


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A study of the demand drivers of animal source food consumption in Nairobi’s lower income households

Paula Dominguez-Salas1,2

Aurélia Lepine3

Salome Bukachi4

Suneetha Kadiyala1

Mariah Ngutu4

Juan Segura Buisán3

Ann Wambui4

1London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK
2International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya
3University College of London, UK
4University of Nairobi, Kenya


Undernutrition is a persisting problem in sub-Saharan Africa, especially in low-income households. Animal-source foods (ASFs) are high-quality nutrient-dense products that supply essential amino-acids, vitamins and minerals, reducing stunting and micronutrient deficiencies, such as anaemia. Previous research showed that the poorest households in Nairobi, Kenya, had low ASFs consumption: 75% of children 1-3 years had milk on the previous day, 11% had fish, and less than 11% had meat. Price was an important barrier to ASF consumption, but other aspects also explained low consumption. This project aims to explore these demand- and supply-side drivers, and estimate their effect on ASF consumption.


We conducted a mixed methods research in lower-income households of Dagoretti, Nairobi, grounded on the Food Environment framework by the ANH Academy Working Group. The study included a household and a retailer survey, complemented by focus group discussions (FGDs), in-depth interviews (IDIs) and key informant interviews (KIIs). Data from 300 low-income households with an existing couple and a child under-5 explore ASF consumption and associated perceptions, and choice determinants. Gender dynamics were investigated by means of different measures, such as intra-household allocation of ASF using food models. Women’s bargaining power in the couple was explored through an economic game to understand the spousal decision-making, where women were asked to choose between receiving an amount of money for themselves or receiving a greater amount for the couple received by the husband. We analysed the associations of the different drivers with nutrition outcomes, including dietary diversity (24h recall), with specific focus on ASF intake, weight, height, MUAC, and haemoglobin levels. Data from 723 meat retailers provide information on price elasticity of demand and product quality. Pre- and post-survey FGDs and KIIs informed the questionnaires and the economic game development, and explored deeper and nuanced ASF consumption drivers.


In the study population, 8% and 11% of women and children respectively had low hemoglobin values, and 18% of children were stunted while 53% of women were overweight or obese. Also, 45% of women and 16% of children were below their minimum dietary diversity threshold. The most consumed ASF was milk (by above 80% of participants) followed by beef meat (by around 15%). Preliminary data showed that spouses religion orientation and educational attainments negatively correlated with children’s and women’s ASF consumption respectively. Higher husband’s educational attainments and spousal cooperation positively correlated with healthy women’s hemoglobin levels. Higher woman bargaining power could predict better haemoglobin levels in women. Spousal cooperation improved woman’s dietary diversity and ASF consumption. Subjective consumer opinion of retailers did not affect demand.
IDIs and FGDs established that ASF cost and family size were key determinants of consumption. Milk is sold in many varieties; however, safety concerns fuelled by often unvalidated media-induced food scares hindered the community from confidently making choices. Beef was considered costly and amidst rising safety concerns linked to its production, processing and preservation, and people opted for other cheaper and safer ASF. Other challenges include time and fuel consumption of preparation.


Lower resources households in Nairobi are undergoing an epidemiological transition, with growing rates of overnutrition coexisting with undernutrition. These urban diets are dependent on local food systems, from which they need to obtain diverse and healthy foods. More affordable nutrient-rich foods, better nutrition knowledge, trustworthy food hygiene and safety information and practices and more equitable gender dynamics can contribute importantly to improve diets, and programmes and policies that promote these factors can leverage nutrition. More data from this project will be presented, hoping to contribute to the body of evidence to design and implement more effective interventions.


Cornelsen L. et al., 2016. Cross-sectional study of price and other drivers of demand for animal source foods in peri-urban Nairobi, Kenya. BMC Nutrition, 2:70.
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Smallholder livestock and aquaculture policy environment: what’s required to achieve economic, environmental and social sustainability?

Robyn Alders1,2

Johanna Wong1

Doreen Anene1

Scott Moreland1

Hannah Reed3

Belinda Richardson3

David Heymann1

1Centre for Global Health Security, Chatham House, London, UK
2Development Policy Centre, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
3Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, USA


Globally, society is grappling with managing the impact of climate change, emerging diseases, bio- and agro-diversity loss and extinctions, freshwater overconsumption, growing numbers of malnourished individuals, soil depletion and degradation, land system change and pollution (both biological and chemical) while also meeting society’s immediate needs within national budgets (FAO 2019; Rampa et al. 2019; Rockström et al. 2009; UNICEF 2019). In addition to planetary boundaries, the globalization of food systems along with 19th century approaches to food prices and siloing of the sectors are placing huge stresses on smallholder livestock, small-scale aquaculture and family farmers worldwide (Alders et al. 2018).


We implemented a 15-month project that focused on the aquatic and terrestrial animal production policy arena pertaining to smallholder farmer (SHF) productivity, income and food and nutrition security (Chatham House 2018). Activities included: developing a decision toolkit to identify and prioritize policies that support and facilitate the development of financially, environmentally and socially sustainable smallholder animal (ruminant and poultry) and aquaculture production systems through a nutrition- and gender-sensitive lens; policy mapping at global, regional and national levels; collation and analysis of policies made and implemented by the public sector in collaboration with private sector partners (commercial and smallholder enterprises) across the agricultural, environment, health, and trade sectors. Detailed case studies were prepared in collaboration with partners in Bangladesh in South Asia and Nigeria in Sub-Saharan Africa to identify policies that are exemplars, or that create bottlenecks and constraints to inclusive, sustainable SHF aquatic and terrestrial animal production. Roundtable discussions with and testing of the toolkit by senior representatives were undertaken in each case study country.


The key findings were: i) a lack of political support for food and agriculture manifest as inadequate public investments at national, regional and global levels; ii) fragmentation of efforts are leading to lost opportunities to achieve synergistic activities - in relatively resource-scarce environments - such as uncoordinated investments in soil, plant, water and animal health; iii) there is an urgent need to implement climate change mitigation and adaptation actions to enable animal agriculture and food systems to contribute to carbon-sequestration in soil, improved water and nutrient retention and sustainable and resilient local food production, preservation and marketing; iv) a lack of data and data robustness constrains informed decision-making; v) a simple focus on short-term economic outcomes hampers effective engagement of SHFs in global markets and fails to address the negative impact of multiplying environmental externalities. The most important key finding however was vi) a lack of inclusive governance, policy making and implementation involving key stakeholders from both the public and private sectors. This has resulted in fragmented and incoherent actions and hampered the design of SHF interventions that maximise positive synergies along value chains and efficiently contribute to climate-smart production.


Coherent and effective policy environments are essential to achieving SHF livestock and aquaculture production that will be financially, environmentally and socially sustainable into the future. There are few examples of effective implementation of existing policies that have enhanced SHF outcomes in the medium- to long-term. The lack of policy implementation plans, and inadequate funding is a major part of this problem at the national level. In addition, policies are required that facilitate evidence-based identification of agroecological SHF livestock and aquaculture production systems that promote positive linkages between water security, carbon sequestration, soil health and human health and nutrition.


Alders, R.G., Ratanawongprasat, N., Schönfeldt, H. and Stellmach, D. 2018. A planetary health approach to secure, safe, sustainable food systems: workshop report. Food Security, 10 (2) 489-493.
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Supporting small farmers in highly industrialized broiler value chains to promote rural livelihoods and nutrition security: A system dynamics approach

Soledad Cuevas1

Kevin Queenan2

Bhavani Shankar1

Barbara Haesler2

Tafadzwanashe Mabhaudhi3

Rob Slotow3

Gregory Cooper1

1SOAS, University of London, UK
2Royal Veterinary College, UK
3University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


This study focusses on the challenges faced by small and emerging broiler producers (SEP) in South Africa, the possibilities for intervention and its potential implications for nutrition security. Chicken is currently the most widely consumed and most affordable source of animal protein in South Africa (Delport et al., 2017). The value chain is highly dualistic. It is dominated by vertically integrated industrialized producers, which coexist with a large number of small producers (Louw et al., 2017). The latter play an important role in supporting rural livelihoods and food security, reaching vulnerable populations in rural areas and informal settlements.


A large body of literature has focussed on smallholder upgrading and support in the context of increasingly industrialised food value chains as a key pathway for the promotion of rural livelihoods and nutrition security (Bienabe et al., 2004). Research on this topic has frequently adopted a neoclassical economic approach which views causality as linear (Barrett et al., 2012). Such approaches can fail to capture dynamic feedback loops and emergent system properties which are increasingly viewed as intrinsic to how food systems operate (Thompson and Scoones, 2009). This study uses a qualitative System Dynamics approach to analyse the challenges faced by SEP and the role they play in the value chain. Semi-structured interviews with 22 stakeholders have been complemented with a review of policy documents and key literature. Stakeholders were chosen with emphasis on the inclusion of diverse and potentially conflicting views. A full thematic analysis of interviews is used to construct partial causal loop diagrams of specific mechanisms and dynamics constraining SEP’s performance and market opportunities. These causal loops are then integrated into a full system diagram depicting inter-linked challenges and policy entry points. This analysis is used to identify leverage points and obtain some preliminary insights for policy intervention.


Smallholder farmers face multiple challenges that undermine their performance. These include restricted access to key inputs, issues of market access, knowledge and non-transparent allocation of public support. Our analysis shows how attempts to overcome these challenges, including policy intervention and farmers’ own coping strategies, lead to dynamics that perpetuate the existing duality of the value chain, locking farmers into inefficient multi-age production systems and small-batch supply in the informal sector. In particular, the mapping of stakeholder interviews onto connected causal loops helps characterize the following dynamics: 1. A bottleneck for breeding inputs combined with subsidies for SEP infrastructure and the expectations this creates leads to excess capacity, undermining efficiency. 2. SEP deploy a variety of coping strategies to deal with short-term liquidity gaps which reduce longer-term efficiency by increasing transaction costs and locking producers into multi-age production systems, which are associated with higher mortality rates. 3. These coping strategies can also undermine potential aggregation schemes, leading to uncertainty about the possibility of placing the entire batch by the end of the cycle, thus reinforcing the above-mentioned dynamics. Coordinated intervention on key leverage points could help disrupt the patterns described above and promote a transition towards a less dualistic value chain.


This study highlights the importance of coordinated intervention at different points in the value chain when it comes to promoting SEP broiler producers. Such strategic intervention could lead to a less dualistic value chain, without necessarily incorporating independent producers into mainstream supply chains. This approach could potentially improve rural livelihoods while also maintaining the role played by SEP nutrition security. Further research is needed to explore the cost-effectiveness and feasibility of specific interventions. Although the analysis is highly context specific, the methodology and key insights shed light on the complexity of smallholder promotion in industrialized value chains more broadly.


Barrett, C.B., Bachke, M.E., Bellemare, M.F., Michelson, H.C., Narayanan, S., Walker, T.F., 2012. Smallholder participation in contract farming: comparative evidence from five countries. World Development 40, 715–730.
Bienabe, E., Coronel, C., Le Coq, J.-F., Liagre, L., 2004. Linking small holder farmers to markets: Lessons learned from literature review and analytical review of selected projects.
Delport, M., Louw, M., Davids, T., Vermeulen, H., Meyer, F., 2017. Evaluating the demand for meat in South Africa: an econometric estimation of short term demand elasticities. Agrekon 56, 13–27.
Louw, M., Davids, T., Scheltema, N., 2017. Broiler production in South Africa: Is there space for smallholders in the commercial chicken coup? Development Southern Africa 34, 564–574.
Thompson, J., Scoones, I., 2009. Addressing the dynamics of agri-food systems: an emerging agenda for social science research. Environmental science & policy 12, 386–397.

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