Researchers from Scotland and Africa are to form a new research alliance to study the challenges faced by livestock farmers in tropical developing countries.

The Roslin Institute

The new Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health will initially focus on the use of genetic information to improve the health and productivity of farmed animals in tropical climates.

The aim, according to researchers, is to develop technologies to help farmers in developing countries identify the best animals to breed from to improve the economic value and quality of their livestock.

Joint teams from the University of Edinburgh and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) have joined forces with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Kenya to launch the initiative, with the centre having locations in both countries. The Scotland site will be located on the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus, the same site as the Roslin Institute, the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and SRUC.

The African site, meanwhile, will be located at the ILRI in Nairobi, Kenya.

Director of The Roslin Institute David Hume said the threat of rising temperatures meant affordable techniques to improve farming and food security in warmer climates are becoming a global challenge.

“We are delighted to announce this new partnership to address the issue, which builds on existing, successful collaborations between our three organisations,” he said.

Director general of ILRI Jimmy Smith echoed Prof Hume’s sentiments.

“ILRI is delighted to be forming this new alliance with the eminent University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute and SRUC,” he said. “Modern genetic approaches offer new opportunities to identify livestock suited to the diverse and demanding conditions under which African smallholder farmers work.

“This new alliance brings together a unique mix of skills to address these exciting and important challenges.”

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