SLU news

Workshop on livestock systems in urbanizing environments at Ultuna

Published: 18 March 2019

In developing countries, urbanization and associated demographic changes are posing unprecedented challenges related to hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. Acquisition of livestock is widely recognized as a pathway out of poverty, a major income generating activity, a financial instrument, and a means of income diversification. At a workshop 5-6 mars at Ultuna in Uppsala livestock systems in urbanizing environments were discussed.

The workshop “Livestock systems in urbanizing environments: Impacts and implications for food security in developing countries” was organized by the Department of Economics at SLU with support of AgriFoSe2030. In total, 25 participants from 11 number of countries participated.

Demand for urban food will grow

Livestock and crop systems in cities in Africa and Asia, where urbanization is occurring most quickly, will come to face significant adjustment pressures, since poverty will increasingly become urbanized, demand for urban food will grow and cities will exert greater influence on peri-urban and rural livelihoods and environments.

– The workshop was organized as we know that acquisition of livestock is widely recognized as a pathway out of poverty. However, this is rarely discussed in an urban context, says Sofia Boqvist, programme director of AgriFoSe2030.

Research priorities for building more sustainable livestock production systems were defined and discussed. Photo: Alin Kadfak.
Nsikik-Abasi A. Etim from University of Uyo in Nigeria talks about resource use in deep litter poultry systems and the implications for urban food security. Photo: Alin Kadfak.

A workshop with four sessions on urban livestock

Carl-Johan Lagerkvist, Head of the Department of Economics at SLU opened the workshop by welcoming the participants and giving an overview of the program. Sofia Boqvist, Programme Director of AgriFoSe2030 gave an overview of the AgriFoSe2030 Program. The first research talk was given by Pablo Alarcon-Lopez from the Royal Veterinary College in London, United Kingdom. He talked about the importance of food system approach to tackle urban livestock and gave examples from Nairobi. After that the workshop was divided into two sessions 1.) Livestock production and urban food and nutrition security and 2.)

Constraints and opportunities for urban livestock production among smallholder farmers and households. The first day of the conference was concluded with dinner at the restaurant Domtrappkällaren in central Uppsala.

The second workshop day container the sessions “Livestock production in urban and peri-urban environments in developing countries” and “Policy and governance prospects for sustainable urban and peri-urban livestock production”. The workshop ended with a plenary session that was lead by Carl-Johan Lagerkvist.

– The literature has customarily concentrated extensively on livestock production and consumption and has widely ignored other elements and actors along the livestock value chain. However, the livestock value chain in low-income countries is rather complex and characterized by long marketing chains featuring large distances, many levels of traders and transactions, multiple steps and stages of processing, and a variety of employment-creating services and inputs. Particularly due to urbanization processes, traditional livestock supply chains are lengthening and becoming more complex. Thus, there is a need for research to address the “missing middle” in livestock value chains by considering the full continuum of the chain from production to consumption, including interlinkages, distributional benefits, and institutional arrangements across different production and marketing channels, says Assem Abouhatab, the organizer of this workshop.

Bringing researchers and stakeholders together

The workshop brought together researchers and stakeholders from diverse disciplines and sectors that are working in areas related to livestock, urban planning, agricultural systems and food security in developing countries. During the workshop research priorities for building more sustainable livestock production systems were defined and discussed.

– Future research aiming to understand livestock systems in the context of rapid urbanization in low-income countries should put more emphasis on addressing the full continuum of the livestock value chain and the four dimensions that drive food security in developing countries and how they possibly interrelate, says Assem Abouhatab.

– This workshop provided a platform for participants to exchange ideas, present current research and discuss challenges. I really hope that this will be a start of a research community with new research collaborations within urbanizing livestock systems, concludes Sofia Boqvist.


Sofia Boqvist, Associate Professor

Programme Director of AgriFoSe2030
Theme leader of Theme 4 in AgriFoSe2030
Dept. of Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Public Health, SLU
PO Box 7028, SE-750 07 Uppsala
Phone: +46 18-67 23 88
Mobile: +46 72-240 34 94






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