Livestock place less burden on human food and fresh water supply than previously reported.

Feeding and watering livestock in most livestock production systems in Africa does not reduce food or water supply for people.

Core message


  • 86% of global livestock feed is inedible by humans. (Ann Mottet FAO, 2017)  

  • Crop residues: are a key feed resource, comprising at times up to 50% of cattle, sheep and goat feed in developing countries  (Herrero et al., 2013) 

  • Rainfed feed sources: Livestock use large areas of pastures such as drylands and grasslands where nothing else can be produced. For example, more than 75% of land in the Horn of Africa is semi-arid to arid drylands.  

  • Rainfed livestock: 90% of milk and 80% of meat comes from mixed systems