Better Crop-Livestock Integration for Enhanced Agricultural System Resilience and Food Security in the Changing Climate: Case Study from Low-Rainfall Areas of North Africa
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Mina Devkota Wasti, Aymen Frija, Boubaker Dhehibi, Udo Rudiger, Veronique Alary, Hatem Cheikh M'hamed, Nasreddine Louahdi, Zied Idoudi, Mourad Rekik. (1/1/2022). Better Crop-Livestock Integration for Enhanced Agricultural System Resilience and Food Security in the Changing Climate: Case Study from Low-Rainfall Areas of North Africa, in "Food Security and Climate-Smart Food Systems". Switzerland: Springer Nature Switzerland.
Increasingly frequent droughts, declining soil fertility, and poor plantanimal- atmosphere interactions are threatening the sustainability of integrated croplivestock systems in the rainfed drylands of North Africa. Previous research from around the globe has verified that better integration of crop and livestock activities within agricultural production systems is promising in boosting food productivity, soil health, and overall farm profitability. This is especially relevant for rainfed drylands, particularly in areas with lowrainfallwhere livestock production is predominant. Although integrated crop-livestock farming already exists in these regions, the decreasing integration between the two activities—induced by a variety of factors during the previous three decades—resulted in perennial depletion of soil fertility and an overall decrease of relative farm incomes. The North African region owes its sustainable intensification benefits to numerous synergistic interactions.This chapter, therefore, aims to highlight options for better integration of the crop-livestock system into the region’s long-existing cereal-based livestock farming system, in order to help boost food and nutrition security, farmers’ income and soil health. The chapter looks at case studies from Algeria and Tunisia. In particular, it considers as the key integrating factors for crop-livestock system: diversifying cereal monocropping by introducing of food and forage legumes; integrating alternative grazing/feeding systems; integrating tree-crops and livestock; adopting Conservation Agriculture practices in order to effectively address the crop residue tradeoff between providing feed for livestock and leaving residues as mulch; improving the management of herd health and increasing the availability of scale-appropriate mechanization. A combination of all is considered as the key integrating factor for the crop-livestock system. The combination of all or a few of these components helps improve overall farm incomes, crop productivity, and soil health, increases the efficiency of input use, provide healthy protein for human’s diet and fodder for livestock, and also has the potential as a sustainable intensification strategy. For the wider adoption of these alternative options by smallholder farmers, it is important to consider different approaches; for example, participatory evaluation, field visits, farmers field schools and the use of information and communications technology, along with improving farmers’ capacity to access and use these tools.
- Agricultural Research Knowledge 
Devkota Wasti, Minahttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-2348-4816