The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) called for accelerating sustainable livestock production in Latin America through activities such as the use of energy, the productive cycle of bovine livestock and fodder management, among others. .
There is agreement that Greenhouse Gases (GHG), and in particular methane gas -produced by animal digestion-, are “significant contributors” to climate change, says the organization through a statement.
Various researchers from Latin America, however, believe that it is possible to reconcile livestock production, from which 65% of the regional population dedicated to agriculture lives, with care for the environment and the fight against climate change.
“If at the same or similar value of methane gas emitted you can produce more kilos of meat, you are being more efficient; and in that the region has enormous potential in the short term,” said Pablo Cañada, an agronomist from the University of Buenos Aires.
For Julián Chará, Coordinator of the Center for Research in Sustainable Agricultural Production Systems (CIPAV) of Colombia, “the best feeding practices, the rotation of paddocks (land fenced with pastures to feed cattle), silvopastoral systems and management adequate pastures contribute, on the one hand, to less methane being emitted per kilo of product (milk or meat), and on the other, to an increase in carbon sequestration in biomass and in the soil”.
For these change processes to occur, a technological change in the livestock production cycle is necessary, which leads to an improvement in the aforementioned indicators.
“Traditionally, in Latin America, work is based on input technology, that is, applying the replacement of natural grassland by planted species, supplements and fertilizers, which leads to an increase in production costs,” Pablo has assured. Soca, a researcher at the Faculty of Agronomy of the University of the Republic of Uruguay.
And he adds: “However, the ecological or sustainable intensification model, by optimizing the production, consumption and use of the natural field, improves the animal’s diet, increases meat production per surface unit, economic income and less methane gas is emitted”.
Carrying out these changes implies, for the experts consulted by FAO, that there are financial tools that stimulate them, a provision of comprehensive technical advice and training for producers.
The Sustainable Livestock, Animal Health and Biodiversity Officer of the FAO for Latin America and the Caribbean, Andrés González, concludes: “Taking into account that the region is called to become the next global food producer, they should be increasingly extended actions that contribute to sustainable livestock”.