Background and objectives of the Seminar

Sheep and goat sectors are facing an uncertain future due to a general lack of competitiveness stemming from poor technical and economic results, but also due to severe social and environmental challenges.

In order to overcome this situation, innovative solutions are needed at different levels (animal, flock, livestock population, farm, territory, value chain, etc.) to make the sheep and goat industries more sustainable and profitable when faced with emerging environmental, climatic, socio-economic, demographic, policy and market challenges. These innovations may improve production techniques, labour organisation, equipment and infrastructures, as well as collective programmes for selection or health campaigns. They can also strengthen social forms of organisation such as product quality schemes or the management of communal areas. Innovative feeding strategies coupled with precision flock management practices that target the reduction of production gaps and adjust to the environmental challenges, hold promise to tackle the above mentioned objectives.

The Animal Production Department of Neiker-Tecnalia (the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development), the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza - CIHEAM, and the H2020 Project iSAGE - Innovation for Sustainable Sheep and Goat Production in Europe - organise this joint Seminar of the FAO-CIHEAM Sub-Networks on Production Systems and Nutrition on Sheep and Goats in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, from 3rd to 5th of October 2017.

The objective of the Seminar is to encourage the participation and interaction among scientists and technicians working in the sheep and goat industry with a view to introduce the conceptual framework of innovation development and adoption, as well as to analyse the innovations needed to adapt sheep and goat production systems and industry to the new demands of society. Success stories of innovations already adopted in the sheep and goat industry will be presented, and the topic of precision farming in the sheep and goat sector will be introduced and discussed, not only as a vector of innovation but also as an opportunity for the sustainability of the sector.