Promoting livestock production sustainability - through integrated approaches

Sustainable Production The world's livestock sector is undergoing a massive transformation, fuelled by high demand for meat and milk, which in developing countries is likely to double over the next two decades. Global food demand is shifting from grains and other staple crops to processed food and high-value agricultural products, such as vegetables, fruits, meat and dairy. The major driving force behind this soaring demand for livestock products is a combination of population growth, urbanization and income growth and the increasing demand for variety to meet the changing consumer preferences, especially in emerging economies in Asia and Latin America. The challenge facing today’s farmer therefore is how to double food production using less land, less water, fewer nutrients, simple technology and all without adversely effecting the environment.

Sustainable development has been defined as “development that meets the environmental, social and economic needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. The changes in production, procurement, processing and retailing of food, along with environmental and food safety concerns, erosion of animal genetic resources, climate change and the risk of emerging infectious diseases, threaten the potential of the small-scale farmer to benefit from the on-going livestock revolution.

The Animal Production and Health Sub-programme assists Member States to improve livestock productivity through the efficient use of locally available feed resources, adequate management practices and breeding programmes for indigenous and upgraded animals, and diagnostic tools and prophylactic measures for the control and prevention of animal and zoonotic diseases.

If future food demand is to be met, increased outputs will have to come mainly from intensified and more efficient use of the land, water and plant and animal genetic potential, fisheries and forestry resources that smallholder farmer in developing and transition countries have at their disposal. Smallholder farms around the world are home to approximately two billion people, making up one third of the global population thus representing a major component of local and national consumption and international trade. The synergies in the integration of crop and livestock production system offer many opportunities for farmers in mixed crop-livestock systems that produce about half of the world’s food to participate in the sustainable increase in productivity and resource use efficiency.

Related Links

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What does sustainable livestock production mean?
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IAEA projects strengthen dairy development in Bangladesh
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