Digital technologies and sustainable livestock systems in rural communities
Gwaka, Leon Tinashe
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The 43rd Committee on World Food Security (CFS) convention reiterated the importance of livestock towards eliminating food insecurity across the globe. Livestock provides extensive services and products which are critical in addressing the issues of hunger, malnutrition, health and diseases. However, despite such importance, livestock systems across the globe continue to face the challenge of sustainability. In this research article, using ethnographic research techniques, we examine the Beitbridge livestock systems to understand the vulnerabilities within the system and current efforts to overcome. The article identifies that the Beitbridge livestock system, similar to many others, faces numerous socio-ecological and political economy challenges. Also, in the past engagement of the author and the community, it emerged that there was limited use of digital technologies within the community. Therefore, this study explore whether digital technologies can contribute towards sustainability of livestock and if so, how. The major findings of the study are that, DTs have affordances which can be exploited to contribute towards the sustainability of the livestock system. However, in order for this to happen, there is need for convergence of conditions e.g. presence of supporting institutions and improvement of digital infrastructure. These findings confirm the need for context based studies on DTs. The findings of the study provide practitioners and policy makers ‘something to think about’ in the development of DTs and supporting systems.