Livestock play an important role in global food production and in agricultural and rural economies in many developing regions. While the livestock sector is one of the fastest growing subsectors of agriculture, it is also an important contributor to anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, in which manure and manure management account for 10% of total livestock emissions.

Manure is a valuable source of nutrients, organic matter and renewable energy. However, manure management is often poor, and as a consequence, nutrients and organic matter are lost, causing environmental and climate problems and threatening public health.

Technologies for and knowledge of integrated manure management are available, but implementation has been a challenge. This study, an output of the Livestock and Manure Management Component of the Agriculture Initiative of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC), aims to help overcome those barriers.

The study assessed livestock manure policies in 34 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, then looked in depth at manure management practices in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Malawi, Argentina and Costa Rica. The authors found wide variations in practice, with particular challenges in the handling of liquid manure; they also found government policies and lack of coordination often hindered the implementation of improved practices.

The study identifies the following key barriers for improving integrated manure management:

  1.  a lack of awareness of manure’s potential;
  2. a lack of knowledge and a supporting knowledge infrastructure;
  3. ineffective policies;
  4.  dispersed expertise; and
  5.  a lack of resources and investment.

The authors recommend focusing interventions on building awareness and knowledge; developing customized solutions for simple manure storage and application equipment; and improving access to incentive mechanisms. Follow-up studies are being conducted in the focus countries; SEI is leading the work in Vietnam and Bangladesh.

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