Fast growing industry livestock production during the past three decades resulted in so-called livestock revolution. Also a rapid global expansion in production and consumption of animal products has accelerated this process of revolution. Such trend in livestock culture is driven by population and income growth coupled with urbanization. Cheap, often subsidized feed grain, cheap fuel and rapid technological change, particularly in poultry, pork and dairy production, have accelerated the sector’s growth to such an extent that it is expected to provide 50 percent of global agricultural output in value terms in the next ten years. Large-scale commercial production, based mostly on feed grain and often globally connected, has emerged to provide growing urban markets with produce.
Unfortunately, an estimated 70 percent of the world’s rural poor, whose livelihoods depend on livestock, have not benefited from this growth in the livestock sector. In fact, on the contrary, many have been and are being marginalized and excluded from the growing markets. In addition, extensive land-based livestock production is being challenged severely by the vagaries of climate change
However, other factors are now starting to contribute to slowing demand for livestock products, such as growing concerns for health, environmental and animal welfare issues and increasing prices for feed grains, water, energy and labor.
The global livestock sector is characterized by a pronounced contradiction of two disparate but co-existing systems:
• Smallholder and pastoralist production –
Supporting numerous family livelihoods and household food security and contributing to rural food security; and
• Commercial production –
Supporting the global food supply system and providing employment to producers and others in associated processing, distribution, marketing and support services.
Large-scale commercial production, based mostly on feed grain and often globally connected, has emerged to provide growing urban markets with produce. But such system is linked with the erosion of local genetic resources, erosion of landscaped diversity and blind use of pesticides and other chemicals.