Sustainable resource management:
Well-managed livestock can ensure sustainable land and water management. Livestock manure is a ready source of natural fertilizer for crops, providing 12% of the nitrogen used for crop production globally, rising to 23% in mixed crop livestock systems. Livestock can also help restore degraded land; and in rangelands, livestock keeping can contribute to the biodiversity of plants, soils and animals.
It is critical to have policies that encourage and incentivize livestock-crop interactions for optimal resource use; these should include supporting markets for crop residues (such as maize stover and rice straw) and manure. Government programs that aim to increase agricultural productivity should be broad-based to cover both crops and livestock and their interaction.
In mixed crop-livestock systems, forage production can contribute to sustainable land and water management, by for example, preventing erosion and enhancing soil fertility through nitrogen fixation. Policies and investments should support these innovations.
Equitable and guaranteed land access is crucial for livestock keepers in extensive systems. Better land use planning and land management incentives can encourage more sustainable livestock production.
Sustained livestock mobility that is critical to ensure sustainable livestock keeping in extensive systems requires appropriate land use mapping and planning policies. Livestock movement corridors should be protected and assured in land use plans and supported with infrastructure.
Increasing rangeland productivity by providing the right community decision-making incentives and mechanisms is critical for sustainable land management.
Optimal approaches to restore degraded lands include enhancing livestock productivity, promoting community range management and enhancing insurance schemes to relieve livestock keepers of the need to keep many livestock for insurance purposes.
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