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Livestock in a Changing Landscape, Volume 2: Experiences and Regional Perspectives

Livestock in a Changing Landscape, Volume 2: Experiences and Regional Perspectives

by Pierre Gerber (Editor), Harold A. Mooney (Editor), Jeroen Dijkman (Editor), Shirley Tarawali (Editor), Cees de Haan (Editor)

The rapidly changing nature of animal production systems, especially increasing intensification and globalization, is playing out in complex ways around the world. Over the last century, livestock keeping evolved from a means of harnessing marginal resources to produce items for local consumption to a key component of global food chains. Livestock in a Changing


The rapidly changing nature of animal production systems, especially increasing intensification and globalization, is playing out in complex ways around the world. Over the last century, livestock keeping evolved from a means of harnessing marginal resources to produce items for local consumption to a key component of global food chains. Livestock in a Changing Landscape offers a comprehensive examination of these important and far-reaching trends.


The books are an outgrowth of a collaborative effort involving international nongovernmental organizations including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the Swiss College of Agriculture (SHL), the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), and the Scientific Committee for Problems of the Environment (SCOPE).


Volume 1 examines the forces shaping change in livestock production and management; the resulting impacts on landscapes, land use, and social systems; and potential policy and management responses.


Volume 2 explores needs and draws experience from region-specific contexts and detailed case studies. The case studies describe how drivers and consequences of change play out in specific geographical areas, and how public and private responses are shaped and implemented.


Together, the volumes present new, sustainable approaches to the challenges created by fundamental shifts in livestock management and production, and represent an essential resource for policy makers, industry managers, and academics involved with this issue

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Livestock in a Changing Landscape, Volume 2

Experiences and Regional Perspectives

By Pierre Gerber


Copyright © 2010 Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE)
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-59726-927-8



Pierre Gerber, Harold A. Mooney, Jeroen Dijkman, Shirley Tarawali, and Cees de Haan

The global livestock sector is undergoing major structural changes. Over the last century, livestock keeping evolved from a means to harness marginal or secondary resources to produce goods and services for local consumption, to a component of global food chains, which are driven primarily by consumer demands.

Today, animal food chains are reorganizing on a global scale to supply markets using increasingly standardized production technologies. Underlying this technical standardization is the globalization of the livestock sector and its institutions. Animal production companies and consortiums manage the whole food chain on a transcontinental scale. Trade liberalization, private and public standards, as well as transport infrastructure have enabled an increasing share of animal feed and products to enter global trade. Increasingly, producers located in various continents compete for the same markets. The term livestock revolution is generally used to embrace these trends.

These global trends are described in Livestock in a Changing Landscape: Drivers, Consequences, and Responses, which introduces the drivers and consequences of the livestock sector on a global scale, as well as the general principles in terms of institutional development and policy instruments dealing with these issues.

This companion volume provides regional overviews and draws experience from specific contexts and more detailed case studies. The chapters describe how drivers and consequences of livestock sector change play out in specific geographical areas and for different players, and how public and private responses are shaped and implemented. Some chapters in the volume also explore in greater detail some of the specific environmental and social issues analyzed in the Drivers, Consequences, and Responses volume.

Focus is on the responses to change and, in particular, on the environmental and social consequences of the sector's transformation. The volume investigates how the livestock sector is reorganizing on a regional scale and what consequences and responses this process generates. It addresses questions such as the following:

• What shape do global trends take at the regional scale and what remains from traditional forms of production and marketing?

• How do global food systems influence the development of local livestock sectors?

• What are the consequences on a local scale? Which are the communities involved and how are the issues understood and tackled?

• What is the effectiveness of current responses and what are the lessons learned?

It does so in an integrated way, analyzing how changes along the food chain connect to changes in the environmental, health, and social contexts. It provides both historical and analytical information for readers from the academic and research communities as well as for policy advisers and development professionals.

Seven different regions are included: Latin America, East Africa, West Africa, China, India, the EU (Denmark), and the United States. In four of the selected regions (East and West Africa, India, and China), drivers, consequences, and responses to livestock sector changes are analyzed, addressing environmental, public health, and social issues. The other three case studies focus on a specific issue—soil and water pollution in Denmark, deforestation in Brazil and Costa Rica, and nutrient issues in the US dairy industry—and describe how these issues are being addressed by the public and private sector as well as by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and other civil society organizations.

This volume thus covers a wide range of livestock sector development scenarios, from pre–livestock revolution regions with slowly evolving traditional livestock systems in East and West Africa to one that is currently starting to experience the exploding demand, characteristic of the onset of the livestock revolution (e.g., India), to those with the livestock revolution in full swing (e.g., Latin America, China), and those that are in a postrevolution era (e.g., European Union, United States) where environmental and food safety issues are increasingly in focus. Regional level changes are, however, much more complex than such a broad classification of linear development stages would indicate. A wide diversity of local cultures, economic conditions, and environments shape the sector's changes. Global trade plays an even greater role in blurring the picture, bringing local and global products onto the same markets. This complex blend of long-term practices and recent trends makes each region, and thus each chapter in this volume, specific.

We conclude with an insider's look into one of the major private agrifood companies, both shaping and responding to the global market.

Evolving Traditional Livestock Systems: East and West Africa

A case study from the Horn of Africa opens the series of regional analyses and introduces the reader to the complexity of livestock sector change. Several patterns of change coexist in this region, determined by economic, demographic, and social conditions on the one hand and by agroecological contexts on the other. Although the pastoral production systems are well adapted to highly fluctuating environmental conditions and potentially compatible with wildlife conservation, their productivity is seriously constrained by decreasing resource access and increasing levels of civil strife and weather-related emergencies. Over the medium term, the fate of these pastoral populations is therefore uncertain. In some of the densely populated areas of the East African highlands, livestock are progressively disappearing from mixed crop–livestock systems because of population increase and limited land resources. In parallel, the expansion of urban markets fosters the development of relatively intensive systems, especially dairy, at the periphery of urban areas. The authors review and comment on past and present policies and development programs that have attempted to address these issues. They identify cross-cutting challenges for policy makers, including disease control, access to land, development of safe regional markets, and improvement of productivity.

West Africa is undergoing similar trends to those observed in the Horn of Africa. Growing and urbanizing populations, rampant poverty, and institutional weaknesses, including deterioration of animal health services, are among the common trends. There is increasing land degradation and expansion of cropping, which exacerbate conflicts over access to land and put increased pressure on pastoral systems. Relatively intensive systems, mostly in poultry, tend to develop at the periphery of major urban areas. These systems compete with growing imports, especially for urban markets in coastal areas. The authors provide a detailed analysis of the economic and social factors at play in shaping the livestock sector. They suggest that the future of the livestock subsector in West Africa lies in properly managing a threefold approach based on sustainable management of rangeland, shared pastoral resources, and transhumance; enhancement of livestock productivity; and improvement of market access for local producers.

Livestock Systems at the Onset of the Livestock Revolution: India

India shows all the signs of being at the onset of its livestock sector boom: incomes are growing, and consumption levels of animal products in rural areas have been rapidly catching up with urban settings. Featuring some elements of the livestock revolution, the livestock sector is responding to increasing demand by growing in size and changing structure. Throughout the country, specialized poultry and dairy operations are burgeoning close to urban centers, although dairy continues to be dominated by smallholders. Environmental problems have emerged, and environmental regulations have been established, although the authors report problems of implementation. But the main questions in India relate to the future of smallholders in the sector's development, the economic spinoffs of the livestock sector growth, and the implications for issues of equity and poverty. The authors propose a set of policy interventions to address these issues, including the environmental regulation of large production units, the improvement of production technology among smallholders, and the empowerment of producer organizations.

Systems in Rapid Growth: Brazil and China

The Brazilian livestock sector is one of the most dynamic in the world. National consumption plus booming exports of animal products and feedstuffs are driving the sector's development. As a consequence, and also for other reasons such as land tenure policies, forestland is rapidly being converted to pastures and feed crops. What can be done is shown by the experiences of Costa Rica, where deforestation trends have been halted and reversed. The chapter compares the drivers and rates of deforestation in these two countries and analyzes the relative effectiveness of policies to curb land conversion. It highlights the strength of the Costa Rica policy setup, initiated two decades ago and relying in particular on the discontinuation of direct subsidies to production, on forest conservation measures, and on the implementation of a national payment for environmental services scheme. Yet the authors recognize the recent progress made in Brazil in its effort to put an end to "open frontiers" and see hope in the possible payment for the reduction of emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) currently being discussed in the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

China is the country that probably best illustrates the livestock revolution at its postclimax stage. The author explains how China has been leading the global livestock revolution over the past two decades. Population growth, urbanization, and increasing incomes have been the main factors fueling past livestock sector growth. The sector's growth rate in China has been one of the fastest in the world, and the most impressive in absolute terms. Substantial structural changes have occurred, with a move toward larger, intensified production units and greater reliance on commercial—and often imported—feed. This has caused a concentration of livestock production and processing near the seaports of the Eastern seaboard and has also given rise to a real East–West dichotomy. The author highlights the factors that have driven this geographical gradient. Today, the Chinese livestock sector is at a turning point: continuing growth in population and per capita consumption, and the need to create employment in the rural areas mean that it still needs to grow, and at the same time it must increasingly respond to new societal requirements such as for a cleaner environment, improved food safety, sustainable use of natural resources, and better labor conditions.

Systems in the Post–Livestock Revolution: United States and Europe

The structural changes undergone by the dairy sector in the United States of America are examined next. Here the post–livestock revolution sector consolidation is associated with dramatic changes in production and management practices, and the sizes of milk production units. This results in substantial environmental issues but also in social and health concerns. The drivers and consequences of these transformations and current and potential responses, including policy instruments, institutional mechanisms, and technology options are discussed. The authors highlight the need to consider the comparative advantages of federal, state, and local governments when implementing policies to guide the sector. They recommend moving beyond the sole regulation of point-source pollution in large units to a broader set of instruments allowing better control of nutrient flows across the various sizes of production units. Improving the balance between livestock densities and the adsorptive capacity of the land is identified as the core strategy to address pollution problems.

The case study from Europe, with experiences of Denmark as the example, provides insights about how policies can be put in place to control nutrient-based pollution from animal production. In Denmark and in the European Union more generally demand has stabilized and the sector's growth is limited. Changes in the sector are increasingly guided by environmental and public health concerns rather than by production output and prices. In Denmark, nitrogen-based pollution has been effectively reduced, at an estimated annual cost of 2 Euros per kg reduction of nitrogen leaching into aquifers. Environmental policy development has followed an iterative process, adjusted and improved by trial and error, supported by comprehensive policy analysis. The process is continuous because policies need to evolve within the sector and the broader economic and policy context. The authors also draw attention to the delay between action and the actual measurement of results, related to the pace of natural biophysical processes involved, and the particular attention to communication that this delay requires.

A Private Sector Perspective: Changes in the Dairy Food Chain

Chapter 9 introduces Nestlé's response to changes in the private sector–driven dairy food chain. Two authors from the company identify four main drivers influencing Nestlé's activities in processing raw agricultural materials and marketing food products. First is consumer demand, which is growing and changing as dietary habits and expectations about the functional and emotional aspects of food evolve. Next is the increasing complexity of food chains, requiring increased traceability and risk management. Emerging diseases and an increased focus on the sustainability of agriculture production are other major factors. The authors provide examples of how the company has developed specific business models to respond to key objectives related to milk sourcing, such as food safety, quality improvement, animal disease control, environmental sustainability, and productivity improvement.

The volume concludes with an analysis that draws comparisons across regions and consolidates major experiences and lessons. A unique Executive Summary was also prepared for this volume and for the Drivers, Consequences, and Responses volume. It is included in both volumes to allow for a stand-alone consultation.


Horn of Africa

Responding to Changing Markets in a Context of Increased Competition for Resources

Joseph M. Maitima, Manitra A. Rakotoarisoa, and Erastus K. Kang'ethe


The livestock sector in the Horn of Africa is evolving rapidly as a result of internal and external influences affecting production, marketing, and utilization of livestock and livestock products within the region. These changes are related to increases in human population; reductions in the sizes of crop production units; changes in accessibility to land; climate variability; changes in livestock disease challenges; and changes in market opportunities.

These changes have affected different production systems in different ways. In pastoral production systems they have resulted in reduced productivity, shifts in herd composition and size. In mixed crop–livestock production systems population increase, reduced accessibility to land, and agricultural intensification have brought about more integration of livestock with agriculture, leading to well-developed dairy production in certain periurban areas. Demand for livestock products has been high, and in some places this local demand is coupled with an export market of live animals and milk.

Livestock production in the Horn of Africa has suffered a great deal from high levels of insecurity in many parts of the region, which have caused loss of stocks, markets, and livelihoods, especially among pastoralists. In the past, the political economy in several countries has put pastoral livestock production areas at a big disadvantage compared to urban and crop-farming areas. However, pastoral communities have adapted to the new challenges.

This chapter reviews these trends and discusses policy and societal responses to overall changes in the livestock sector in the Horn of Africa. We draw implications about identifying effective policy interventions that have been or could be put in place in different regions that could eventually contribute to improving people's livelihoods.



For the purpose of this chapter, the region of the Horn of Africa comprises the following countries; Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. Most definitions of the Horn of Africa exclude Tanzania, but because of its ties with the other East African countries in the region it must be included here.

These countries are characterized by diverse but interlinked cultures and agroecological and economic conditions. They belong to different and sometimes overlapping political and socioeconomic blocks. The East African Community (EAC) includes Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and now Burundi and Rwanda; the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) comprises Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Djibouti, and Sudan. Tanzania is the only country included in this chapter that belongs to the Southern Africa Development Cooperation (SADC).


Excerpted from Livestock in a Changing Landscape, Volume 2 by Pierre Gerber. Copyright © 2010 Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE). Excerpted by permission of ISLAND PRESS.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Henning Steinfeld, chief, Livestock Information, Sector Analysis and Policy Branch, FAO.
Harold A. Mooney, professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University.
Fritz Schneider, vice director, Swiss College of Agriculture, Bern University of Applied Sciences.
Laurie E. Neville, program coordinator, Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University.
Pierre Gerber, livestock policy officer, Livestock Information, Sector Analysis and Policy Branch, FAO.
Jeroen Dijkman, livestock development officer, Pro-Poor Livestock Policy Initiative, Sector Analysis and Policy Branch, FAO.
Shirley Tarawali, director, People, Livestock, and the Environment Theme,
Cees de Haan, retired livestock development advisor; currently a consultant at World Bank.

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