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Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering >> 2021, Volume 8, Issue 1


1. Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YQ, UK.
2. Department of Land Resource Management and Agricultural Technology, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, P.O. Box 29053-00625, Kenya.
3. Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Parakou, Parakou, P.O. Box 123, Benin.
4. International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Nairobi, P.O. Box 30709-00100, Kenya.
5. Institut d'Economie Rurale, Sikasso, BP 16, Mali.
6. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 2560 Blvd Hochelaga, Quebec City, G1V 2J3, Canada.

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Crop-livestock farms across Africa are highly variable due to in agroecological and socioeconomic factors, the latter shaping the demand and supply of livestock products. Crop-livestock farms in Africa in the 20-first century are very different from most mixed farms elsewhere in the world. African crop-livestock farms are smaller in size, have fewer livestock, lower productivity and less dependency on imported feed than farms in most countries of Europe, the Americas and the intensive agricultural systems of Asia. This paper discusses the role African crop-livestock farms have in the broader socio-agricultural economy, and how these are likely to change adapting to pressures brought on by the intensification of food systems. This intensification implies increasing land productivity (more food per hectare), often leading to more livestock heads per farm, producing fertilized feeds in croplands and importing feed supplements from the market. This discussion includes (1) the links between crop yields, soil fertility and crop-livestock integration, (2) the increasing demand for livestock products and the land resources required to meet to this demand, and (3) the opportunities to integrate broader societal goals into the development of crop-livestock farms. There is ample room for development of crop-livestock farms in Africa, and keeping integration as part of the development will help prevent many of the mistakes and environmental problems related to the intensification of livestock production observed elsewhere in the world. This development can integrate biodiversity, climate change adaptation and mitigation to the current goals of increasing productivity and food security. The inclusion of broader goals could help farmers access the level of finance required to implement changes.

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