Achieving global goals of lowering livestock’s greenhouse gas emissions is hinged on changing the practices (feeding, herd management and manure management) of smallholder households. Animal husbandry is characterized by gendered division of labour, resource control and decision-making power, with men mainly claiming ownership of animals while women provide labour. Farmers worldwide are known to be motivated to adopt practices that enhance productivity and profitability.
Dairy is an important contributor to the nation’s economy in Nicaragua. Cattle production accounts for 45% of the national agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 32% of exports by value. An improved cattle feeding system is a profitable investment that can increase cow milk yields in the country.
A recent study of the ‘Contributions of livestock-derived foods to nutrient supply under changing demand in low- and middle-income countries’ shows that demand for livestock-derived foods will grow substantially to year 2050 in eight countries that are currently facing food security and nutrient supply challenges.
According to the study, the attainment of a common ground is realized by recognizing the diverging views of stakeholders and the basics of decision-making in complex systems. This way of thinking ought to be a part of everyday practice.
Livestock policies that favour the poor have been shown to be effective in lifting families beyond mere subsistence, generating a ripple effect of benefits for them, their communities and even their countries.