Raise investments to the small-scale livestock sector commensurate with its contributions to the global economy

Contributing an average of 40% of agricultural gross domestic product worldwide, livestock must receive vastly more public investment than it does today.

Core message


Livestock’s share of agricultural gross domestic product is generally high across the world, with the global average being 40%.

While livestock’s share of agricultural GDP on average is somewhat lower in poor countries than in rich, livestock make up 40–80% of agricultural GDP in some poor livestock-dependent countries (e.g. Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia); moreover, the livestock sector is growing across all developing countries, a trend that will only increase in the years to come.

The rapidly growing livestock sector poses potential risks as well as benefits for smaller scale livestock producers in developing countries.

One risk is that small- and medium-scale producers will be confined to local and informal livestock markets while commercial livestock producers benefit from larger, more integrated markets.

Another risk is that increasing but unsustainable livestock systems create environmental hazards and degrade natural resources.


Capitalize on this livestock growth through public investments in market infrastructure and public-private-partnership mechanisms.

Provide policy support and investments commensurate with the opportunities and challenges of the livestock sector, particularly those aiming to increase livestock resource efficiencies and to mitigate any environmental threats posed by unsustainable livestock systems.