Livestock transfer initiatives in Pakistan: Building a database to guide research
Undernutrition is a daunting issue in Pakistan, but the agricultural sector, which contributes a quarter of the country's GDP [E1] and employs over two fifths of the workforce, could have a strong role in improving this situation through various pathways – such as increasing the availability of nutritious diets and generating incomes that make them more affordable too. However, in spite of Pakistan’s positive rate of economic growth, and although the agricultural sector has managed to address some aspects of national food security, there seem to be no improvements in the overall national state of undernutrition. This dilemma begs the question: what more can be done to strengthen the many pathways between agriculture and nutrition?
To explore this issue, the Pakistan-based Collective for Social Science Research is working on a feasibility study of agricultural asset transfers to rural women for improving nutrition. The study proposes that a well-designed programme of agricultural asset transfers to rural women can help to overcome some disconnects between agriculture and nutrition, and lead to positive nutritional outcomes. Through our work we have found that government agencies, international development partners, NGOs and charities in Pakistan have favoured one type of agricultural asset transfers– providing small ruminants to rural households - for a long time. However, these transfers are usually in the form of donations or are bundled together as part of livelihood programmes that target household income.
These programmes have not explicitly targeted nutrition as an outcome, despite recent global evidence showing that livestock ownership has the potential to improve nutrition. Moreover, where livestock has been provided by NGOs or by individuals with charitable intentions, many programmes remain unevaluated or undocumented.
At the Collective, we argue that there is potential to leverage these programmes for nutrition. However, in order to propose design features and identify impact pathways we are conducting a stocktaking of livestock transfer initiatives in Pakistan. To build this comprehensive database to guide this work, we are asking the research and practitioner community to please help by answering a brief questionnaire to assist us in identifying such programmes that have been conducted in the country over the last ten years.
Image: A girl and boy stand with livestock in rural Pakistan. Collective for Social Science
 The study contributes to the wider project, Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA), which investigates how agricultural interventions can improve food and nutritional outcomes.
 See (Randolph et al., 2007) (Leroy and Frongillo, 2007)