Trade-offs in livestock development at farm level: Different actors with different objectives

Salmon, G and Teufel, N and Baltenweck, I and van Wijk, M and Claessens, L and Marshall, K (2018) Trade-offs in livestock development at farm level: Different actors with different objectives. Global Food Security (TSI), 17. pp. 103-112. ISSN 22119124

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The livestock sector in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) is evolving. In response to growing demand for livestock products, it is likely that smallholder production systems will experience varying forms of intensification. Associated decision making is made complex, not only with the intrinsic characteristics of livestock in LMICs (for instance as sources of income, assets, or social symbols), but also by diverse objectives of stakeholders and agricultural development paradigms. This paper discusses trade-offs that are likely to arise in the choice of livestock production systems; with a focus at household and farm level, economic gains, gender equity, environmental concerns, human nutrition and food safety are all considered. We begin by describing trajectories of livestock intensification in LMICs. Then potential trade-offs during such intensification are depicted; with examples concerning environmental, economic and social aspects. Recognising and understanding trade-offs is imperative; therefore we discuss decision making methods, the management of trade-offs and the balance between providing an average benefit for a population and the variation in benefit for individuals. Finally, a (partial) trade-off analysis is illustrated by use of a case study on household dairy cattle enterprises in Senegal. The discussion advocates for holistic approaches to agricultural development efforts, which include recognition of the multiple objectives and the associated trade-offs.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : East & Southern Africa
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish
Uncontrolled Keywords: Trade-offs, Livestock systems, Sustainable intensification, Smallholders, Decision making, Livestock
Subjects: Others > Livestock
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2018 08:22
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2018 09:19
Official URL:
Funders: Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (Finnish development co-operation, under the FoodAfrica program)
Acknowledgement: The Senegal Diary Genetics project was funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and carried out within the framework of the Finnish development co-operation, under the FoodAfrica program and the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock. CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish. We would like to gratefully acknowledge those involved in availing the data used in the case-study, in particular the cattle farmers in Thies and Diourbel regions, Senegal, for their participation in the project. The opinions expressed in this publication are solely those of the authors and does not in any way constitute the official opinion of any above-mentioned organisations.
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