Livestock and Pastoralism

Livestock farming and meat consumption, particularly in the North, are being criticized for their environmental impact… But livestock farming also has a major socio-economic importance, particularly in arid areas that are heavily dependent on pastoralism. The promotion of agroecological livestock systems aims to reconcile these social, environmental and economic issues.

The issues

Traditional extensive systems have been singled out for their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions (deforestation to extend pastures, methane emissions from ruminants, low efficiency per kg of milk or meat produced, etc.), even though they are being hit hard by the combined effects of climate change and population growth (variations in rainfall and advancing agricultural fronts, increasing drought-related crises, etc.).At the same time, they are suffering from the combined effects of climate change and population growth (variations in rainfall and the advance of agricultural fronts, the multiplication of drought-related crises, etc.), with the result that there is a chronic shortage of fodder and water, and the degradation of rangelands. At the other end of the spectrum, industrialised intensive livestock systems are showing their limits: excessive consumption of cereals and oilseeds in competition with human food, difficulties in integrating the sectors into a globalised market, animal welfare and related social ill-being, the search for a livestock ethics, etc. The growth of the world’s population and meat consumption in the South raises the crucial question of the sustainability of our (current or desired) food models, which are too rich in meat products, highlighting the importance of short, quality supply chains: in other words, consuming less, but better.


Our services

We support livestock farmers and agro-pastoralists, in the North and South, in the rational management of their pastoral resources in order to optimise the territorial impact of livestock farming and to enhance the positive externalities of pastoralism: maintenance of landscapes and biodiversity, capacity to enhance the value of non-cultivable areas, etc. Silvopastoralism, fodder hedges, rational management of herds and animal loads (on the scale of the farm or the terroir, in time and space) are among the technical solutions studied. Our skills in agro-economics also enable us to support the development of semi-intensive systems that are intelligent in the face of the climate, in connection with agriculture (manure, tillage, transport) and with a view to structuring the rapidly developing sectors (milk, small ruminants and monogastrics). Finally, we are working to strengthen the capacities of livestock breeders’ organisations, which are in the front line to meet the above-mentioned challenges.

References in this area