At the 2nd Africa Protein Summit held in Nairobi, Kenya, last week, campaigners urged governments to promote plant-based proteins arguing that the growing demand for meat is fueling the climate crisis.
The summit, organized by the international animal welfare organization World Animal Protection (WAP), was launched to raise awareness of the potential of plant-based diets to mitigate climate change — additionally, the summit called for implementing livestock farming practices at a lower scale to reach animal welfare standards.
According to Tennyson Williams, the director for Africa at WAP, large-scale animal operations produce more GHG emissions, deforestation, and biodiversity loss, fueling the climate crisis. “Climate change is one of the worlds’s biggest threats and intensive animal farming is one of the biggest contributors to climate change,” he said at the summit.
Climate-resilient food systems
Victor Yamo, farming campaigns manager at World Animal Protection, said that governments should increase awareness of alternative proteins as a nutritious source to reduce meat consumption.
As the global population increases in Africa, the demand for meat products, such as beef, chicken, and pork, is expected to rise by 30 percent by 2030. This demand is already leading to intensive livestock farming, which is detrimental to ecosystems and human health, said Yamo at the event.
Policymakers, scientists, and consumer lobby groups in the continent should agree on transitioning to climate-resilient food systems that are in harmony with nature, said Yamo calling on African governments to acknowledge and regulate greenhouse gas emissions from animal agriculture.
“Governments should also hold agricultural companies with high emissions accountable for their carbon footprint and low regard for animal welfare,” he said at the summit.
As Africa is expected to suffer significant impacts of climate change, ProVeg International launched its first office in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, to raise awareness of the benefits of a plant-based diet for human and environmental health.