Sustainable development of smallholder crop-livestock farming in developing countries
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Meeting the growing demand for animal-sourced food, prompted by population growth and increases in average per-capita income in low-income countries, is a major challenge. Yet, it also presents significant potential for agricultural growth, economic development, and reduction of poverty in rural areas. The main constraints to livestock producers taking advantage of growing markets include; lack of forage and feed gaps, communal land tenure, limited access to land and water resources, weak institutions, poor infrastructure and environmental degradation. To improve rural livelihood and food security in smallholder crop-livestock farming systems, concurrent work is required to address issues regarding efficiency of production, risk within systems and development of whole value chain systems. This paper provides a review of several forage based studies in tropical and non-tropical dry areas of the developing countries. A central tenet of this paper is that forages have an essential role in agricultural productivity, environmental sustainability and livestock nutrition in smallholder mixed farming systems.