Project Concept Note:
Breeding and Reproduction
Table of Contents
Key Development issues and Rationale for TIA involvement
Proposed Project Development Objective(s)
Preliminary Project Description
Potential Risk and Mitigation
The SA commercial
livestock industry is highly sophisticated and implements appropriate
technologies to ensure good value
for the South African consumer. However the industry is no
longer able to keep up w
ith local demand and
meat imports have been steadily inc
reasing over time.
reflects all meat imports
between 2001 and 2011,
of which 80% is poultry.
Graph 2 below
SA is also unable to meet the demand for beef.
Graph 1: Total meat imports into South Africa between 2001 and 2011 (from Trade Map 2012)
: Beef Production vs Beef Consumption in SA between 2000
nd 2010 (from
A Profile of
Beef Market Value Chain 2012
Meat imports into SA (tons)
livestock sector contributes about 40% of the total
value of agricultural output
The data might suggest that livestock
production in the cou
ntry is quite stable,
and imports make up
any shortfalls. It is
It is estimated that almost 80% of the country is considered semi
arid with inadequate or
unreliable rainfall to sustain crop production. The South African climate and vast grassland
resources are highly sui
ted to livestock production, thus as
country we are not effectively
utilising an important competitive advantage.
About 40% of the national
herd is owned by small
scale rural farmers, yet only 10% of
this is reflected in the annual commercial off
take. This would suggest that there is huge
potential to improve farming and market systems for small
thereby facilitate socio
South African indigenous farm animal breeds have not been adequately conserve
d and risk
extinction in some cases. Certain breeds like the boer goat have been used in breeding
improvement schemes internationally but are not sufficiently utilised in SA.
South African livestock improvement schemes have been running since 1917 and hav
established an excellent database of phenotypic data. However phenotypic data has not
with genotypic information to update the estimated breeding value
. The livestock industry therefore has not yet benefitted from increased rates o
improvement that can be achieved from the recent advancements of molecular genetic
technologies. In this case we are not adequately leveraging a competitive advantage that
the country has strategically invested in over a long period.
SA has a comp
etitive advantage in Africa having adapted breeds to prevailing African
conditions and pests. As
countries in Africa invest in
development of their agricultural
, SA can play a strategic role in s
upplying the African market with
material and technologies.
South Africa has the potential to grow the livestock industry significantly and could
ultimately become a net exporter of high quality
meat, animal products
added animal products.
The purpose of
this document is to discuss the establishment of an Animal Breeding and
Platform that will provide an institutional framework to facilitate
achievement of various objectives
assist the livestock industry as a whole. The initial p
hase will be
to conduct a feasibility study and engage stakeholders on current resources, gaps and priorities for
the industry. This document provides a situational analysis, suggests a process to be followed and
estimates the costs that would be involved
. It is hoped that this will be approved for
implementation by TIA EXCO.
ey Development issues and Rationale for TIA involvement
There are various initiatives underway to support the livestock industry. These include market
infrastructure, trade suppo
rt, veld improvement strategies etc.
and breeding capability
is the foundation of a st
ong livestock industry. Thus, t
he area that TIA will have greatest
opportunity to make a meaningful contribution would be in facilitating the establishmen
t of a
ing and Reproduction
This would be an institutional structure that
would prioritize research
based on industry needs
, leverage funding for research and ensure
The discussion below illustrates the
current strategies and initiatives underway.
The Department of Agricultu
isheries and Forestry (DAFF)
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF)
Strategy in 2007. The Strateg
y noted “Research and
” as a key factor in creating an
enabling environment for the industry.
It further noted “
Biological efficiency of livestock” as a key
for that element would concentrate on:
Research and Development on sustainab
ystems for livestock production
iciency, growth and development
and enhanced genetic variation
Improved efficiency, animal nutrition
DNA technology and services
Technologies for diag
nostics, services and research
Integrated livestock and crop systems (especially in communal and resource poor farming
areas, e.g. Kwa
, Limpopo, North West
and Eastern Cape), animal health and t
management of animal waste
Consortium for Genomics in the Livestock Sector
ebruary 2012 key stakeholders from government, academia and industry met to consider
“Genomics in the livestock sector”
. The participants established an important foundation
creating a consortium with objectives to:
Improve the livestock industry
in South Africa through the use of genomic selection to
improve the breeding of the animals.
Establish the ability and capability of the South African sector to utilise this technology.
Develop both national and international collabo
ration in the field of
The consortium also agreed a high level 5
step process for implementing genomic selection
The National Scheme for Performance Recording
Currently selection of breeding lines is based on phenotypic selection and the calculation of
. These values are based on the performance of progeny across
Performance testing is recognised as a very effective tool for increasing economic
returns of livestock production. However it is
dependent on the time it t
akes for each generation to
go through reproductive and productive cycles
and therefore improvements tend to be seen after
significant time investment as demonstrated in Graph 3.
Graph 3: Guerns
Genetic trends for milk, butterfat and protein yields
The Agricultural Research Council
Irene has been collating these records since 1917 in the
case of dairy cows, and in later years for beef cattle (since 1959), pigs (since 1955) and sheep (
1965). This database provides the foundation for the National Scheme for Performance Recordin
for South Africa.
Most modern breeding programmes augment phenotypic selection
with genetic selection
to calculate Genomic Estimated Breeding Val
ues (GEBV). The GEBV
helps to speed up the selec
of genetically superior breeding lines
. Instead of waiting a mi
nimum of 4 years
companies can use the best DNA test
ed as sires of sons
as soon as they reach
sexual maturity (about
This is considerable time saving in herd improvement and
benefits of this method have
been reported in the Australian, French and American Dairy Cattle Industries.
The ARC Molecular Genetics Platform
Estimated Breeding Values
The ARC has established a molecular genetics platform at their facility in Onderstepoort. The facility
has been fully equipped to enable sophisticated molecular genetics research.
The facility is to be
used by ARC, academic and industry based researchers
The availability of the
expertise makes the
operational activities of conducting the necessary research achievable in a
relatively short space of time.
The livestock industry needs to have access to resources that would enable the effec
tive usage of
genetic selection techniques to improve key traits in SA farm animals. However this is a costly and
complex activity that needs animal science, molecular biology and computational
effectively utilise research information.
ppropriate technology transfer mechanisms will then need
to be deployed and the benefits recovered.
TIA through it
deep and extensive engagement in the
biotechnology sector is ide
ally positioned to facilitate this.
TIA will be able to draw the various st
akeholders together to focus objectives, leverage funding to
ensure greater investment and promote effective management of the consortium towards
technology development and commercialisation. TIA is also an objective facilitator because it
involved in the industry,
and agriculture is only one of its multiple areas of investment. TIA
would be able to bring together both public and private sector investors and ensure technology
diffusion to both public and private sector beneficiaries.
as an organisation
is thus ideally suited
to facilitate the establishment of the Animal Breeding and Reproduction
Proposed Project Development Objective(s)
Biotech sector proposes that an intensive
feasibility study be cond
ucted. The investigators
consult all major stakeholders in the private sector, public sector, academia, and in relevant
community based structures.
An assessment of current resources and gaps in the livestock industry,
with respect to genetics, breed
ing and reproduction, will need to be done.
This study will ultimately
provide an assessment of the pressing issues facing the sector and suggest an institutional structure
and mechanisms to enable the achievement
of the objectives.
The Business Case for
establishment of the Animal Breeding and Reproduction
Platform will be derived from
the feasibility study and presented to EXCO.
The Animal Breeding and Reproduction
Platform, if successful will provide an
structure that will:
Prioritize research in genetics and animal breeding towards industry needs
Ensure long term
sustainability of the SA livestock industry;
Ensure effective transfer of technology from research environments to farmers,
Ensure capacity development, training and skills development programmes are in place to
provide for the needs scientific and technical needs of the industry;
Provide a financial mechanism for both government and private sector to
and ensure that funds are used effectively to the benefit
of the SA producer and consumer;
Have a structured impact analysis capability to ensure that achievements towards the set
objectives of the initiative are always monitored and rep
orted to key stakeholders who can
then actively direct necessary change.
The diagram below suggests that consumer demand for good quality and value will drive the
selection process of for research investment within the platform. The outputs of the
ch will be targeted towards producers who will realise production improvements and
be able to deliver towards meeting consumer demand.
Sci ence counci l s, Uni versi ti es, NGO’s
techniques, marker assisted breeding)
Sci ence counci l s, Uni ver
si ti es, NGO’s
(artificial insemination, embryo transfer, etc.)
Provide direction on market demands
Provide direc瑩on on new marke琠oppor瑵ni瑩es (local/foreign)
FARMER / PRODUCER
Provide direction on production challenges
Provide evalua瑩on on 瑥chnology
Preliminary Project Description
4.1 Feasibility Study
It is proposed that
Breeding and Reproduction Technology P
latform will be established
to provide academia, government and industry with access to a network of technologie
expertise. This will assist with the strategic development of animal
production capability in South
, towards meeting expanding local and international market demand for good quality protein
and other animal products.
There is currentl
y limited investment in
animal improvement in South Africa.
From a TIA perspective the Agri
Biotechnology investment portfolio is heavily skewed towards plant
There is a need to assist the animal production sector
by enabling the use of biotechnology tools
such as ma
ker assisted breeding and genomic selection towards improving the genetic resource
base that farmers utilise.
In order to develop an optimal structure, function and operational framework w
e need to
rstand the following aspects:
What are the international models of best practice and what are
the lessons we can
The EU platform hosted at INRA, France and the Australian Beef CRC have been
identified as some of the best models with effect
ive industry participation and leadership.
Seek TIA EXCO approval to fund benchmarking,
industry consultation and feasibility study for the
Animal Breeding and Reproduction Platform
Present Business Case on the Animal Breeding and
Reproduction Platform to TIA for approval
The initial opertional activities of the Animal
Breeding and Reproduction Platform will commence
What are the
available in SA that will assist this initiative?
What are the
in implementing the initiative and how can they be resolved?
Who are the major stakeholders, what are the
ir requirements, concerns and potential
commitments towards this initiative?
What would the Platform’s objectives be? How would these objectives be set, prioritised
and reprioritised if necessary?
How would the platform operationalize its work and achieve
mechanisms will be in place to develop effective strategies to enable industry to set the
research priorities such that it delivers research, technologies and products that are
demanded by the market?
What are the existing structures,
programmes and initiatives that the Platform needs to be
linked with in order to integrate effectively into the
SA livestock production sector?
How will the platform invest in technology transfer?
Would it be possible to invest in some technologies that
or are close to
market? In this way
technology transfer mechanisms
can be implemented, tested and
prepared to deliver m
edium and long term research and d
evelopment outputs through the
most effective mechanisms.
What are the
t need to be monitored immediately, in the short
medium and long term to determine
if the Platform is indeed achieving its objectives?
order to answer these questions
it is proposed that a feasibility
study be commissioned. The study
benchmarking, gap analysis,
stakeholder analysis and discussion of
options that can followed. The study will also make assessments on the funding that will be required
e the platform and present co
ll have to present both local
and international co
The study will also present the criteria for conducting
impact assessments on the effectiveness of the Platform once it has been implemented.
proposed that TIA fund this feasibil
ity in full to the value of R1, 000, 000
. The budget is discussed in
Section 7 below.
4.2 Business Case
The feasibility study wil
l then guide the development of a Business Case.
The Business Case will
address the issues required by TIA to facilitate the establishment of a platform and follow the
required processes to achieve
It is envisaged that the Business Case will be presented to EXCO
during Quarter 4 2012/13.
l Risk and Mitigation
One of the most significant risks faced by the project is that there may be inadequate
from the livestock production industry. If the strategic objectives of the Platform are not
carefully developed with full participation of i
ndustry and farmers
(the potential end users)
latform risks becoming an academic endeavour
as a result,
there would be limited
beneficial technology transfer opportunities. To prevent this from happening
industry players will have to be
engaged at the outset and continued participation
throughout the feasibility and implementation pr
ocess will be sought.
Industry together with
other stakeholders will be consulted in the development of impact assessment measures
be used to
or the project and ensure that it does
ives set by the stakeholders.
Furthermore, during the implementation phase industry
players will play an important role in prioritising and guiding research activities, thus
ensuring direct va
lue of the platform to industry.
Another risk that
phase is, whether or not the platform
would be able to access adequate funding to run sustainably over a significant multi year
period to ensure that appropriate outcomes
are achieved. If adequate funding is not
available the output and ultimate impact of the Platform would be sorely compromised. This
will be mitigated by ensuring substantial industry buy
in and by seeking local and
international donor support. We will al
so involve the best scientists in the industry to lend
credibility that would attract the necessary sponsorship.
scale farmers are often identified as the beneficiaries of various research and
development programmes, yet the consultation and technolo
ansfer processes that are
implemented do not facilitate this. Thus the central beneficiaries are completely excluded
and technology adoption and diffusion is not achieved. The risk with the Animal Breeding
platform is th
scale farmers may not experience direct
benefit. By highlighting the small
scale farmer plight within the objectives of the platform,
engaging with organised groups and monitoring and evaluating research and technology
output regularly we will be
able to mitigate this risk.
The Platform would need to develop a position on intellectual property protection in the
livestock industry where no specific legal instruments exist in SA to protect genetic
improvements. There is potential that much will be
achieved within the Animal Breeding
and Reproduction Technology Platform but there would be limited protected IP output.
Preferred institutional and governance structures that the Platform should clearly reduce
financial, regulatory and other risks.