The globe is under stressful pressure of climate change. Droughts, erratic and unseasonal rains, floods, and rise in mercury are the salient features of climate change. Some regions are under the severe affects of climate change, i.e. Saharan & and horn Africa and South-east Asia. Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are under severe floods since last few decades and each year the intensity is even higher than the earlier. In 2010, Pakistan was adversely affected with the floods and this year again, the intensity of flood is severe and havoc losses are reported from different parts of the Indus delta. The crops, villages and settlements came under the flood water and heavy losses to livestock farms.

Author with the camel keepers in Cholistan desert of Pakistan


Being involve and active in the livestock breeds, conservation and policies, I learnt great lesson for the floods and the climate change. Small-scaled farming, pastoral people and landless farmers with the native livestock breeds were either not effected at all or rarely affected. Their livestock is not tied/bound in farms. Their livestock can escape from floods with their own will and do not need farmer support. On the other hand large farms with the exotic poultry birds were severely affected and seldom saved alive. The same was the problem with the high yielding industrialized cattle breed (Frisian). The native livestock breeds can walk longer, swim in water, and resist feed and water shortage. If fresh water is not available, they can rely on muddy flood water.

Native livestock breeds can resist after shocks of the flood in a great way, as they are resistant to diseases and other challenges  They do not need special housing and can be adapted to any circumstances in a short period of time.  They are polite and nice outdoor animals and well familiar with the owner commands and in many cases understand the name given by the owner. Camel and buffalo are unique of its kind in such situation. Such livestock breeds and their production potential are the real asset of the affected people. The native livestock is not only an asset for owner but a good producer of food item in such a harsh conditions. 

Such livestock breeds and production systems needs policy support and demand for strengthening and conservation. In the present situation as FAO is promoting the concept of global agenda of  action for sustainable livestock development and a multi-stake holders meeting is going to held (15-17 January 2013, Nairobi, Kenya), it is paramount need of time to consider the role of small/landless livestock keepers and pastoral livestock keepers. The policies void of their support cannot be fruitful. The recommendations proposed as the outcome of the livestock futures conference in Bonn, Germany are well explained and practical to take the small scale livestock keepers on board. 

Further reading:


  1. Muhammad Suleman

    Very realistic analysis of the potential of indigenous breeds to withstand the possible clamities. Further, I am of the view that since most of the small landholders are the owners of the local breed animals, it is needed to strengthen their abilities of livestock keeping in terms of general husbandry as well as breeding and selection amongst the breed, so that the quantitaive traits of economic importance may come to the surface. This is also important in comparison to the today’s corporate livestock farming, where people are only concerned with the econmics and possibly, the local breed animals may not deem fit in this scenario unless and untill they are also examined for economic traits.

  2. I wrote email to many colleagues and friends (stakeholders) to discuss GAA and livestock systems in the context of Pakistani scenario. It is very crucial and utmost need of time to work out a comprehensive and concrete policy for sustainable livestock development in Pakistan.

  3. A friend from Egypt commented on the subject through DAD-Net of FAO. Below is the email I received from him.

    I think the effect of climate changes on livestock sector is the following:
    1- Heat stress and extreme climate events affecting directly on livestock production and physiology (and may be ON-OFF gens “e.g. EBVs will be affected also)
    2- Climate changes will affecting indirectly on livestock production via affecting on feed production, quality and availability, pastoral, disease, land& water resources

    In developing counties (especially in Arid and semi-arid area e.g. North Africa) will be the most counties whose will suffering from climate changes

    If we analyzing the components of these effects will found some practices is must like
    Improving livestock management and housing, found alternative feeding recourses, improve using the crop residuals, some effective legislation, applying genetic improvement programs to improve adaptability … etc.

    But each point has many constrains and problems to implement
    However, if I ask what the best housing and/or system in the hot and/or cold places? Or if I ask about the economical value of maintaining the local adapted breeds compared with exotic one under Arid condition like Egypt?
    Many and many questions need many searches (But need also large fund)

    From the other hand we have to assessed the effect of livestock on climate
    Mainly the Methane (from the rumen fermentation comes out from the mouth) and the handling of dung production may affecting on green house gases

    But if you asking under Arid condition what is the best type of animal or which kind of production purpose or system that demonstrate minimal effects on climate? You will not found it
    Adding to the scio-economic aspects and customer preferable need some assessment
    There are many searching point need to cover
    Also, I have many idea in this point
    Kind Regards

    Waael El-Desokey
    Research Assistant – Central Lab. for Agriculture Climate “CLAC” – Agriculture Research Center – Ministry of Agriculture & Land Reclamation – Cairo – Egypt
    Master of Animal Breeding – Faculty of Agriculture – Ain Shams Unive.
    SCAIU Statistical Data Analyst
    EAAP Trainee
    FAO Volunteer
    Tel: +201111469964

  4. Some more comments which I received from the DAD-Net emailing list are given below.

    Following such incredibly useful comments on climate change in Mongolia I wondered if anyone would like to see a copy of a 130 page A4 booklet that I produced in Guernsey (British Channel Islands) in 2006. The booklet covers the effect of climate change in the island of Guernsey at that time. A digital copy of the booklet that we called ‘Planet Guernsey’ is available on the following web link:

    I am currently working on a new booklet on climate change, agriculture and wildlife conservation that I hope to publish next year. We obtained local sponsorship so that we could provide 10,000 books free of charge to local residents in an effort to raise awareness of climate change and the need to take action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, etc. I believe that a number of other small island states have used a similar format to ‘Planet Guernsey’ in producing their own books for their local populations.

    Best wishes

    Dr Andrew Casebow
    States Agriculture and Environment Adviser
    Raymond Falla House
    Longue Rue
    St Martins
    GY1 6AF
    United Kingdom.

    Telephone: 0044 1481 234567
    Fax: 0044 1481 235015

    Andrew Casebow
    Agriculture & Environment Advisor
    Commerce & Employment
    A States of Guernsey Government Department
    P.O.Box 459, Raymond Falla House, Longue Rue, St Martins, GY1 6AF

    Tel: +44 (0) 1481 234567
    Fax: +44 (0) 1481 235015

    From: Sukhbaatar Jigjidpurev []

    Dear Carlos Mezzadra,

    Yes, you’re absolutely right, we need to conserve and improve the adaptive traits of our existing breeds that have been domesticated, conserved and adapted to the harsh climatic conditions of a particular region of thousands of years.

    Thank you again,

  5. Dear Dr Raziq
    You have presented valuable abilities and capabiities of the local livestock breeds in the climate change scenario. I need scientifically published papers/artices on the traits of indgenous livestock breeds to adapt to climate change. If you have, then kindly send me or point out me the links to such articles.
    Best regards

    Dr Muhammad Saleem, PhD
    Directorate General (Extension) Livestock and Dairy Development, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.


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