FAO Sustainable Livestock Program

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ROME, Italy – At the 38th Annual FAO conference on June 17 stakeholders discussed the Action for Sustainable Livestock Program in a working group meeting. Initiated in 2010 by the FAO Committee on Agriculture the program engages stakeholders from across the globe to discuss major issues regarding sustainable livestock production.

The stakeholders then developed a Global Agenda for Action in Support of Sustainable Livestock Sector Development. The Agenda promotes voluntary guidelines for natural resource scarcity. Livestock production creates a strain on resources especially in resource poor areas without access to modern innovations. The Agenda’s three priority areas include: closing the efficiency gap, restoring value to grasslands, and waste to worth.

The increasing world population will put a further strain on food security. Demand for livestock products is expected to increase 85% from 2005/07 to 2050. Population growth, climate change, and income growth has led to an increased demand for livestock products. With this increased demand and production, however, the strain on natural resources becomes more likely. Closing the efficiency gap focus area requires looking at methods to use resources more efficiently. Grassland degradation is a growing problem and results in lost economic potential and reduced value for owners. Addressing livestock waste has the potential to affect public health as well as economic gains.

Along with promoting sector innovation and natural resource management the agenda goals affect additional development aspects. Economic growth, livelihood support, food security, and public health are all influenced by livestock production. Ensuring safe production is a priority for all nations and leads to safe and secure food for the growing population.

The Agenda endorses use of technology innovations to help producers more efficiently raise livestock. Over grazing is a significant problem in many regions and climate change will only exacerbate the negative effects. Countries and various international organizations participate in voluntary commitment to the Agenda’s goals.

At the working group meeting participants shared their experiences in livestock sector growth and partnerships. The shared experiences are used to help inform the Agenda and FAO. New coordinated efforts will then be developed and integrated in the FAO and Agenda’s approach to livestock sector growth and development.

The Sustainable Development Manager for the Manitoba Pork Council believes the Agenda is gaining support. More than 35 countries have already joined the agenda. The agenda has focused on species accounting for most of the world’s livestock production: cattle, swine, and poultry. With increased support, however, the initiative is expanding to include all species that are produced for consumption.

– Callie D. Coleman
Source: FAO, Livestock Dialogue, Farmscape
Photo: Green Fudge

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