2023 C-Lock Grant Winner: CIRAD, French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development

December 19, 2023

Benchmarking Methane Emissions in Africa

C-Lock Inc. is pleased to announce the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) as one of the 2023 equipment grant recipients. CIRAD will conduct this research in Benin, Africa, at the University of Abomey Calavi livestock research facility. CIRAD is a French organization that works internationally with its partners to build knowledge and solutions and invent resilient farming systems for a more sustainable, inclusive world.

As in many developing regions worldwide, livestock agriculture is central to a country's economic and social development in West and Central Africa. Livestock farming can lift families out of poverty by diversifying their income or providing a means for an income. However, livestock agriculture contributes heavily to greenhouse gas emissions in the region. Research estimates from the United Nations show that about 90% of greenhouse gas (GHG) is from ruminant livestock on agropastoral systems, like the livestock farms in West and Central Africa (Gerber et al., 2013).

These estimates have created negative perceptions of livestock farming in the region, despite its economic relevance for native people. To combat that perception and build a database of evidence, CIRAD developed a research proposal that will use C-Lock equipment to monitor methane emissions and dry matter intake using a variety of feedstuffs that are commonly fed to native cattle in the region. Specifically, the project will utilize GreenFeed to capture and measure methane and carbon dioxide emissions and SmartFeed to measure daily feed intake. During the research project, they will collect data on fifteen two-year-old native steers for 18 months being fed a variety of feedstuff to determine which feedstuff results in the lowest methane emissions. While previous methane monitoring has been done using GreenFeed in Africa, this will be the first long-term emissions monitoring study and the first SmartFeeds used in research in Africa. Benchmarking methane emissions on cattle will give researchers, farmers, legislators, and the agricultural industry an initial emissions benchmark for emissions monitoring as they work toward implementing feeding and management strategies to improve the carbon footprint of livestock production in Africa.

In the long run, project investigators believe this research will help:

- Contribute to sustainable livestock and feeding systems in Africa.

- Create a training and knowledge-sharing platform in sustainable agro-sylva-pastoral (pasture/woodland) systems.

- Improve the lives of farmers in the region through sustainable livestock agriculture.

To accomplish this research project, CIRAD is working with various organizations, including the University of Abomey Calavi, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and several other French and African organizations that are committed to globally advancing sustainable agriculture. Collaboration with organizations with such a broad reach will This project aims to help the West and Central African livestock industry to manage the future market demand of a growing population with the environmental and social worries of greenhouse gas emissions.

The research results will arm stakeholders to develop policies to continue livestock agriculture in the region. It will contribute to improving the sustainability of animal production and its contribution to people. One of the most critical aspects of this research to C-Lock is the opportunity to collaborate with organizations serving in underfunded regions across the globe. It is the first grant C-Lock has awarded in Africa, and it is important to support this dynamic research in this world region.