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Smart Investments in Sustainable Food Production: Revisiting Mixed Crop-Livestock Systems
Science. 2010; 327:822-825. [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]
M. Herrero,1,* P. K. Thornton,1 A. M. Notenbaert,1 S. Wood,2 S. Msangi,2 H. A. Freeman,3 D. Bossio,4J. Dixon,5 M. Peters,6 J. van de Steeg,1 J. Lynam,7 P. Parthasarathy Rao,8 S. Macmillan,1 B. Gerard,9J. McDermott,1 C. Seré,1 M. Rosegrant2
Farmers in mixed crop-livestock systems produce about half of the world’s food. In small holdings around the world, livestock are reared mostly on grass, browse, and nonfood biomassfrom maize, millet, rice, and sorghum crops and in their turn supply manure and traction for future crops. Animals act as insurance against hard times and supply farmers with a source of regular income from sales of milk, eggs, and other products. Thus, faced with population growth and climate change, small-holder farmers should be the first target for policies to intensifyproduction by carefully managed inputs of fertilizer, water, and feed to minimize waste and environmental impact, supported by improved access to markets, new varieties, and technologies.
1 International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Post Office Box 30709, Nairobi, Kenya.
2 International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), 2033 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA.
3 International Finance Corporation, The World Bank Group, Washington, DC 20433, USA.
4 International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Colombo, Sri Lanka.
5 Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Canberra, ACT, Australia.
6 Centro Internacional de Agricultural Tropical (CIAT), Cali, Colombia.
7 Independent consultant, Nairobi, Kenya.
8 International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad, India.
9 CGIAR System-wide Livestock Programme, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.