The livestock sector must create livelihoods for the world’s rural poor at a time when demand for meat farming is set to rise in the next three decades. This is according to FAO director-general José Graziano da Silva, who warned that the world’s poor should have an opportunity to be lifted out of poverty by livestock farming.
Livestock farming plays a crucial role fighting poverty. The FAO want more of the world’s poor, not just capitalist meatpackers, to be able to benefit from this, as more livestock will need to be farmed in the future to meet burgeoning meat demand.
“More than half the world’s rural poor rely on livestock, and they must be provided with appropriate skills, knowledge and technologies to participate in and benefit from that expected growth rather than pushed aside by expanding large capital-intensive operations,” said Graziano da Silva.
FAO wants ‘greener’ meat supply chains
A global shift in the direction of less intensive farming systems would also have environmental benefits: the FAO estimates on-farm methane emissions can be cut by up to 30% across all product systems by adopting regenerative grazing, forage selection and better recycling of nutrients and energy from livestock waste.
“With improved and climate-smart practices, we can quickly put in place more sustainable and greener livestock supply chains,” Graziano added.
The FAO wants to encourage more livestock farming to meet growing meat demand at the same time as driving innovations to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint. It’s a juggling act complicated by the fact that livestock farming generates more greenhouse gas emissions than other food sources (14.5% of all anthropogenic emissions), according to the FAO.
Graziano was speaking at the 10th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture in Berlin, where he stressed his vision for rural farmers grabbing a larger slice of livestock farming.