Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture

Sept 2017 – Livestock in agroecological systems – last date 1st August 2017

The role of livestock in rural life needs no special mention. Besides milk, eggs, meat and wool, they provide manure for crops and in turn depend on crops for their feed. Both agriculture and livestock have sustained over years owing to mutual interdependence. With intensification and commodification, there is however, a growing divide between agriculture and livestock. Growing levels of meat consumption and industrial production of livestock, with expensive feed and antibiotics, have resulted in serious problems, in terms of, for example, deforestation and emission of greenhouse gases, widescale animal diseases and even danger to human health. And this is a cause of serious concern.

Good livestock health is essential for a productive, stable, healthy and sustainable farm and hence animal welfare is key to creating an agroecological farm. Allowing animals to grow under natural environment where they exhibit natural behaviours creates a more healthy and productive system. Adoption of management practices aimed at improving animal health by building immunity, giving priority to locally-produced feed, using locally-adapted breeds etc., are some of the agroecological ways of managing livestock.

In the September issue of LEISA India we are interested in showing how small farmers manage their livestock in an agroecological and sustainable way. How do they link with farming and other economic activities? What advantages does such an integrated approach bring in terms of food availability, productivity, efficiency or sustainability? How are farmers innovating in the field of livestock management? Are there any investments or financial risks in changing to agro ecological farm? We are interested in highlighting issues related to sustainable fodder and feed production, emerging markets for safe produce and environmental outcomes. Lastly, we will look at the role of local organisations (co-operatives, networks) and we will consider interesting examples of local, regional and national policies favouring sustainable livestock management.

Articles for the September 2017 issue of LEISA India should be sent to the editors before 1st August 2017. Email: leisaindia@yahoo.co.in