Authors: Este van Marle-Köster, Carina Visser, Mahlako Makgahlela & Schalk WP Cloete

Keyword: food security, South Africa

SDG: SDG2

Agenda 2063: A1

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) region includes 15 member states which all face growing population numbers and a possible protein shortage within the next 20 years. Although these countries have a wealth of livestock genetic resources and mostly are quite agriculturally dependent, there exist clear limitations and challenges regarding animal recording, genetic improvement, production efficiency and the implementation of new technologies, such as genomic selection (GS). Genomic selection incorporates genomic information with phenotypic information (breeding values) to derive genomic estimated breeding values (GEBV) and leads to an increased rate of genetic improvement. The countries within the SADC region are in several stages of development with regard to agriculture and infrastructural development and this limits the implementation of advanced technologies. The establishing of reference populations seems beyond the capacity of most of these countries at present, mainly in terms of financial viability, infrastructural support and national cohesion. Genomic technology however holds potential for the introgression of favourable genes in resource-poor livestock production systems and traceability of livestock products. Furthermore,identification of traits associated with adaptability and disease resistance and unique products would contribute to food security on various levels. This review discusses interventions that may mitigate constraints, and proposes key research areas needed for addressing the limitations mentioned.