Livestock in Mixed Farming Systems in South Asia

Rao, P P and Birthal, P S (2008) Livestock in Mixed Farming Systems in South Asia. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics , Patancheru, Andhra Pradesh, India.

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Animal production in South Asia is predominantly part of mixed crop-livestock farming systems vital for the security and survival of large numbers of poor people. In such systems, livestock generate cash income, provide draught power and manure, utilize crop residues and by-products making them partially, closed systems, and thus the most benign from the environmental perspective. Mixed farming systems however, are extremely complex and heterogeneous in terms of crops grown, livestock species raised and in their responses to development initiatives. Further, recent decades have seen significant changes in mixed systems in terms of livestock demography, increased commercialization (degree of integration with markets), etc. Factors contributing to this change include growing human population, mechanization of cultivation and rural transportation, use of inorganic fertilizers and government programs to promote animal production. On the demand side, an important factor contributing to the change has been the growing demand for livestock products (milk and meat) driven by income growth, urbanization and changes in tastes and preferences in the region. Meeting this growing demand is both an opportunity and a challenge for small-scale mixed crop-livestock farmers. Unlike in the past, productivity increases should contribute a larger share to output growth owing to increasing pressure on land and competing resources. Low productivity of livestock in mixed crop-livestock systems in South Asia is due to non-adoption of available technologies or their uptake has not been sustainable, because they were improperly targeted into the farming systems (for example, introducing cross-breeding technology in areas with poor feed resources, improved forage crops in low rainfall areas etc). To better understand the nature of small scale mixed farming systems in South Asia, the recognition of the strong nexus between crop and animal production, the striking variation in systems and the need for differential intervention, a Crop–Livestock Systems typology has been constructed that delineates the regions of each country into homogenous crop-livestock zones /systems with similar response to technology uptake and development initiatives. Thus, the typology would enable better targeting of technical and socio-economic interventions aimed at improving animal productivity and protecting the natural resource base on the farms in South Asia.

Item Type: Book
Subjects: Others > Agriculture-Farming, Production, Technology, Economics
Depositing User: Mr Sanat Kumar Behera
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2011 06:39
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2011 06:40
Acknowledgement: This book is the product of many individuals and institutions. First and foremost, we would like to thank the Systemwide Livestock Program (SLP) based at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for encouraging us to compile this book based on findings from the project on ‘Increasing Livestock Productivity in Mixed Crop-Livestock Systems in South Asia’. The SLP’s funding support for its publication is gratefully acknowledged. Our sincere thanks to the following key scientists who were influential in grounding the project – Timothy Kelley (formerly Principal Scientist, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), and currently with the CGIAR’s Science Council) and Ercole Zerbini (formerly Animal Nutritionist, ILRI–South Asia Project) who were instrumental in conceptualizing the project, setting its goals and objectives, and carrying out the initial spade work; A Vaidyanathan, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai, for his inputs and valuable guidance during the project conceptualization stage and for planning its outputs, milestones and activities; and D Thomas (formerly with Natural Resources Institute, UK) for his role in bringing the project partners together at the stakeholders workshop and editing reports for scientific and technical content during the first two years of the project. We gratefully acknowledge the valuable contributions of the Director, Veterinary Research Institute (VRI), Sri Lanka; Director, Livestock and Fisheries Research, Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC), Nepal; Director, Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI), Bangladesh; SHG Wickramaratne, Livestock Officer, VRI; and HR Shrestha, Project coordinator, Bovine Research Program, NARC, for implementing the project in their respective countries and making valuable contributions to the project outputs. Our special thanks go to MCS Bantilan, Global Theme Leader, Global Theme on Institutions, Markets, Policy and Impacts (IMPI), ICRISAT; Mruthyunjaya, (formerly Director, National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research (NCAP), and currently National Director, National Agriculture Innovation Project); Kiran Singh (formerly DDG, Animal Science, ICAR); and M Blummel, Animal Nutritionist, ILRI-South Asia Project, for their encouragement and significant guidance during the course of the project. Our thanks to the numerous reviewers who patiently went through the proceedings, briefs and journal articles prepared and published under the project.
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