Climate Change / CRP7 / Farming Systems / Livestock / Livestock Systems / Report

Small scale livestock farming and climatic variability focus of VSF report

As part of a development education/awareness programme in Europe, Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Europa and its partners recently carried out a study on the importance of Small Scale Livestock Farming in the context of climate variability.

Part of a ‘campaign’ to sensitize and mobilize people in favour of small scale livestock farming, the study “shows that small scale livestock farming has a potential to cope with and adapt to climatic variability, especially in some determined regions in the world. Moreover, due to its specific functions, small scale livestock farming can also be considered as an important way to mitigate carbon emissions from livestock sector.”

The report contextualizes the role that small-scale livestock farming (SSLF) plays in the climate change (CC) debate and its potential contribution to food security. It addresses three principal questions:

  1. how small-scale livestock farming systems are sustainable and could contribute to CC mitigation;
  2. how they are efficient at producing animal source foods for the growing populations and contribute to future food security challenges;
  3. how SSLF communities have traditionally adapted to climate variability and whether these strategies can be valid for CC adaptation.

To address these questions, the authors propose three main categories of livestock farming:

  • small-scale livestock farming (SSLF), which includes pastoralism, small ranching, backyard pig and poultry production, and small mixed farming (both irrigated and rain-fed);
  • medium-scale livestock farming (MSLF), with the highest variability of farming types, including large ranching and large mixed farming (both irrigated and rain-fed);
  • and large-scale livestock farming (LSLF), defined fundamentally by landless industrial production.

The report critically assesses the existing literature in terms of livestock production and mitigation alternatives and, drawing on cases in Turkana (Kenya), Alaotra Lake (Madagascar), Khar-o-Touran (Iran) and Huancavelica (Peru), it presents adaptation measures undertaken by small scale livestock farming communities.

Download the executive summary of the report

View a photographic exhibition as part of the project

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