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close this book Grazing and rangeland development for livestock production
close this folder Combined Crop/Livestock Farming Systems For Developing Countries of the Tropics and Sub-Tropics; Technical Series Bulletin No. 19
close this folder I. Introduction
View the document Benefits From Combined Systems
View the document Land Resources & Livestock Populations

Benefits From Combined Systems

There is need to more fully utilize natural resources available to agriculture, including a substantial development of livestock enterprises in farming systems that are now largely devoted to the production of crops. In some regions where there are extensive natural grasslands, livestock are produced with little involvement in crop production. However, nearly all crop farmers have some livestock that contribute to family subsistence. The development of appropriate livestock enterprises on arable land offers substantial opportunity for significant improvement in total food production and in profitability of farming systems. The benefits that may be derived from including livestock enterprises in farming systems of the tropics and sub-tropics may be summarized as follows:

Table No. 1.

HUMAN POPULATION
(in millions)

Region

1963

1974

Increase

USA and Canada

208

234

+12.5%

Mexico
Central America Caribbean

74

106

+43.2%

South America

157

212

+35.0%

Asia*

1070

1395

+30.4%

Africa

289

384

+32.9%

*excluding Mainland China

Data from FAO Production Yearbook, 1974

Table No. 2

SELECTED ECONOMIC DATA FOR DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

 

Latin America

Asia

Africa

1974 Per Capita
Food Production
(1961-65=100)

105%

97%

95%

Agricultural Land
per capita
(Arable plus grassland)

5.0 acres

1.0 acres

8.0 acres

Urban populations

56%

23%

18%

Rural Populations

44%

77%

82%

Total Population

273 million

1,212 million

300 million

Literacy rate

70%

35%

18%

Data from Economic Research Service, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

1. More effective use of natural resources - climate, land and soil, and vegetation.

a. Use of rainfall-deficient areas not suited to cropping.

b. Use of associated non-arable lands and soils in humid regions.

c. Use of lands remote from markets.

d. Use of forages grown in crop rotations.

2. Conversion through feeding to livestock of crop residues and by-products to produce foodstuffs for human consumption.

3. Contributions to incomes and food supplies.

a. Production of milk and milk products.

b. Production and sale of meat animals.

c. Providing animal power for crop farming.

4. Production of animal manures for application to land for improvement of soil productivity.

5. Contribution to soil conservation and sustained land productivity by use of forages grown in rotations to control erosion to control weeds and pests and to improve soil fertility, with animal enterprises providing the income from consumption of these forages.

6. Contribution of livestock enterprises through stabilization of seasonal and yearly food production, improvements of net farm income, better distribution of labor and power-requirements for production, thus supporting more profitable farming systems.

Crop and livestock enterprises should be mutually beneficial when they employ currently available technology. Heretofore, the production of grains and certain export crops have tended to monopolize the attention of both country governments and external assistance agencies. However, the current interest in over-all agricultural development with food production as a major factor has improved opportunities for exploiting the advantages of mixed farming systems.