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International Treaty on Animal Genetic Resources:. LIFE Local Livestock For Empowerment of Rural People. The Perspective of Pastoralists. International Treaty on Animal Genetic Resources. Recently concluded:
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International Treaty on Animal Genetic Resources: LIFE Local Livestock For Empowerment of Rural People The Perspective of Pastoralists
International Treaty on Animal Genetic Resources • Recently concluded: International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) • Purpose: to ensure open and transparent access to the germplasm of major food and fodder crops
International Treaty on Animal Genetic Resources • Pastoralists: • People depending on livestock as main source of their livelihood, while not owning land and depending on common property resources • Pastoralism is predominant livelihood strategy in areas unsuitable for crop cultivation (deserts, steppes, high altitude zones, tundra) • Examples: Maasai, Tuareg, Bedouin, Saami
International Treaty on Animal Genetic Resources • IK of Pastoralists about Animal Breeding • “Breeding mechanisms” leading to consolidated gene-pool: no sale of female animals, shared male breeding animals, loan-system within community. • Breeding strategies: Pedigree keeping, selection criteria, offspring testing, culling/castration of undesired animals, prevention of inbreeding.
International Treaty on Animal Genetic Resources • Rajasthan famous for its indigenous breeds: • Cattle: Tharparkar, Kankrej, Gir, Rathi • 8 sheep breeds • Goat breeds: Sirohi and Marwari • Several camel breeds • Mostly developed by Raika pastoralists
International Treaty on Animal Genetic Resources Activities of Department of Animal Husbandry • “Breed improvement” by A.I. (Holstein, Jersey) since 1970s, currently 2400 A.I. Points • Cross-breeding of sheep with Rambouillet and Merino
International Treaty on Animal Genetic Resources Results after 30 years: • Cross-bred cows provide less than 1% of the state’s milk output • No population figures available for indigenous breeds • Breeding policy changed, but quota for A.I. still exists
International Treaty on Animal Genetic Resources “ERA OF GENES” Feasibility of genetic engineering is opening up new vistas: • Red Maasai sheep – worm resistance • Booroola gene for prolificacy in sheep- patent has been filed by NZ company • Fayoumi chicken
International Treaty on Animal Genetic Resources SUMMARY • Because pastoralists occupy remote and harsh areas and adhere to a different production paradigm, they act as guardians of livestock genetic diversity • Their breeds are likely to harbour many valuable genes of interest for maintaining vitality of high performance breeds in the future.
International Treaty on Animal Genetic Resources • Because of shrinking grazing resources and misguided development policies, many pastoralists are at the brink of destitution. • If they are forced to give up their way of life, their breeds will also perish.
International Treaty on Animal Genetic Resources CONCLUSION Many unique AnGR can be saved, IF • Pastoralists are given appropriate policy support (especially secure grazing areas). • Pastoralists have the opportunity to reap benefits (benefit-sharing) from the genetic material they have husbanded.
International Treaty on Animal Genetic Resources PURPOSE of an ITAnGRFA • To acknowledge that a large proportion of genetic diversity and valuable breeds with important genetic traits are found in countries with harsh environments and that have been disadvantaged • To make explicit and put on record the significant role of pastoralists and other societies embodying traditional lifestyles as custodians of livestock genetic diversity.
International Treaty on Animal Genetic Resources • To acknowledge the linkage between the conservation of locally adapted indigenous breeds and secure livelihoods of their keepers. Providing pastoralists with secure grazing rights and enabling policy frameworks will do more for the conservation of livestock genetic diversity than any breed conservation project. • Mechanisms for benefit-sharing must be worked out, so that pastoralists and others receive a fair and just compensation for the genetic assets that they have developed.
International Treaty on Animal Genetic Resources • To confirm the need and the right for decentralized breeding decisions. The control over breeding decisions must remain in the hand of individual livestock keepers, or their associations. The more the control over breeding decisions is taken away from individual farmers or livestock keepers and moves into the hands of large corporations, the more narrow our genetic base is going to become.