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The Multi-Faceted Significance
of Livestock in Agriculture and Poverty Reduction

Within the realm of global agriculture, livestock farming holds a pivotal position, responsible for 40% of agricultural production and providing sustenance and security to nearly one billion individuals worldwide. With the sector witnessing rapid expansion owing to increased incomes, technological advancements, and structural shifts, it opens doors for agricultural progress, poverty alleviation, and food security enhancement. Nonetheless, amidst these promising changes, there exist potential risks for small-scale farmers, making it imperative to tackle systemic environmental and human health issues to ensure sustainable development.

The Multifunctional Role of Livestock in Developing Countries

In many developing nations, livestock farming is a multifunctional activity beyond being a source of income and food. Livestock serve as valuable assets, providing financial security, credit guarantees, and essential safety nets during crises. They also play a central role in mixed farming systems, consuming crop waste and food production by-products, controlling insect and weed proliferation, producing manure for fertilization, and supporting agricultural tasks like plowing and transportation. Additionally, livestock play a vital role in maintaining sanitation by consuming waste that could otherwise lead to serious pollution and public health issues.

Poulet élevé en plein air

Free-range chickens feed on insects and leftovers, helping to manage pests and waste.

Livestock's Nutritional Contribution

Ingrédients alimentaires dans des bols

Globally, livestock contribute to 15% of total food energy consumption and 25% of protein intake. Animal products supply essential micronutrients not easily obtained from a plant-based diet, enhancing overall nutrition.

Livestock Farming and Rural Poverty

Approximately 80% of undernourished individuals reside in rural areas, relying on agriculture, particularly livestock farming, for subsistence. In various countries, 60% of rural households engage in livestock rearing, with a significant portion of their animal produce being sold to generate income. Interestingly, the poorest rural households often own more animals compared to wealthier ones. While the average number of animals per household may be relatively low, livestock farming offers a promising starting point for poverty alleviation.


The significance of livestock farming in global agriculture extends far beyond providing food and income. It serves as a versatile and essential component of rural livelihoods, acting as a safety net during crises and contributing to sanitation and ecological balance. Livestock also play a critical role in addressing nutritional deficiencies, providing valuable micronutrients. Emphasizing sustainable practices and addressing environmental and health risks will ensure that livestock farming continues to be a driving force in reducing rural poverty and enhancing global food security.

Portrait dans une ferme
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Understanding the Human-Animal Relationship: A Key to Animal Well-Being

The quality of the human-animal relationship can be determined by observing behaviors that reflect either fear or trust between the two parties. A positive relationship, based on trust, benefits both humans and animals, while a negative one, driven by fear, harms both. The assessment of the human-animal relationship is a critical factor in evaluating animal well-being, particularly the absence of fear.

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