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Supporting policy with scientific evidence

We mobilise people and resources to create, curate, make sense of and use knowledge to inform policymaking across Europe.

Publication | 29 October 2020

The story of cattle in Africa: Why diversity matters

attle are central to the lives and diverse cultures of Africa’s people. This book highlights how cattle have evolved in Africa over centuries and illustrates the varied and vital roles they have played in the past and continue to play today. Robust, genetically diverse African cattle are treasured assets for estimated 800 million livestock keepers across the continent. Cattle are a critically important daily source of food and nutrition, of much needed income, and of nitrogen-rich manure for replenishing soils and other uses. They also fulfil a wide variety of socio-cultural roles. Thanks to their rich genetic diversity, different breeds of African cattle are well adapted to a remarkably wide range of environments – from the harsh fringes of the Sahara Desert in North Africa, to the drier areas of the Horn of Africa, to the wet tropical lowlands found along the Congo River, and on to the vast savannahs of Southern Africa.