Livestock out of balance: From asset to liability in the course of the livestock revolution. Discussion paper

To prevent the mass exodus of small-scale farmers and pastoralists, governments and development professionals need to provide a level playing field for these producers and help them avoid the debt trap.
This study by LPP member Evelyn Mathias investigates the impact of the Livestock Revolution on farmers.The results provide some major food for thought. They do suggest that livestock has turned in many cases from an asset into a liability, since farmers and livestock keepers, in order to remain competitive, are drawn into a debt trap, because of high initial investments on one side, and because they are squeezed between escalating input prices and the consolidated power of the food processors and supermarket chains on the other.
Due to the financial squeeze many farmers find themselves in a position that “forces them to cut costs wherever they can, and creates strong incentives to unethical behaviour.” This observation would seem crucial with respect to current concerns and initiatives to structure and channel the global livestock sector onto a more sustainable track.

  • Title: Livestock out of balance: From asset to liability in the course of the livestock revolution. Discussion paper
  • Author: Evelyn Mathias / League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development / 2012
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    Investing in livestock futures

    This flyer introduces the approaches promoted and used by LPP to strengthen the position of small-scale livestock keepers: Biocultural Protocols, Livestock Keepers’ Rights and an innovative approach to marketing the products of local breeds.

  • Title: Investing in livestock futures
  • Author: LPP / League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development / 2012
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    Marketing products from local livestock breeds: An analysis of eight cases

    Local breeds and minor species are hardy and able to thrive in harsh conditions. Their adaptive traits and unique characteristics (coloured wool or hides, extra-fine fibre, meat or milk with special tastes) offer opportunities for the marketing of speciality products and sustainable food production in marginal areas.
    This study discusses eight initiatives from Africa, Asia and Latin America that help communities to produce and market various products for niche markets: milk and dairy products from dromedaries; cashmere, wool and handicrafts from goats, sheep and Bactrian camels; and meat, meat products and handicrafts from goats and sheep.
    The main strategies were to seek new markets for existing or entirely new products (rather than trying to exploit existing markets). Most initiatives had some form of branding or labelling, and two had protected their products with geographical indications.
    Such marketing initiatives can be started with limited capital inputs but are skill and knowledge intensive. They require strong commitment to overcome seasonal fluctuations in production, the lack of infrastructure and services, and difficulties in institution building. But when well planned and carefully managed, they can help conserve breeds as well as provide a livelihood for people involved in the value chain, allowing actors earlier in the value chain – livestock keepers and small-scale processors – to capture a greater share of the value of the end product than they would by trying to serve a mass market.

    http://www.fao.org/3/i1823t/i1823t07.pdf

  • Title: Marketing products from local livestock breeds: An analysis of eight cases
  • Author: Evelyn Mathias, Paul Mundy and Ilse Köhler-Rollefson / Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations / 2010
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