Women play role in stopping decline of indigenous breeds of livestockListen /
The role that women play in the conservation of indigenous livestock must be recognized, argues a new report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
According to the study, entitled "Invisible Guardians: Women manage livestock diversity", about two thirds of the 600 million poor livestock keepers in the world, are women.
It says men often migrate to the cities, leaving women at home with children who survive by cultivating crops and keeping indigenous small stock as chickens and goats and perhaps a cow.
The author of the report Ilse Köhler-Rollefson says that indigenous livestock is very important for these women because it provides valuable products such as food, manure and draft power.
"These women, because they are burdened with so many chores for them these locally adapted animals are so important. If they have, like a high input cow it just causes them a lot of headache because these animals get sick, they are sensitive they need a lot of food. So they love the local animals which are so disease resistant and they just go and take care of themselves. They go out in the morning, feed and come back in the evening."
The FAO report says that women's contribution to indigenous livestock breeding and conservation is poorly documented and undervalued.