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The State of Food and Agriculture 2009

Livestock in the Balance

image of The State of Food and Agriculture 2009

This edition of The State of Food and Agriculture is published at a crucial point in time. The world is going through a financial turbulence that has led to a serious economic setback. But this must not mask the global food crisis that has shaken the international agricultural economy and proven the fragility of the global agricultural system. This report discusses the most critical challenges and opportunities facing the sector. It highlights systemic risks and failures resulting from a process of growth and transformation that has outpaced the capacity and willingness of governments and societies to control and regulate. It tries to identify issues that require solutions at various levels to allow livestock sector to meet society’s expectations in the future in terms of provision of both private and public goods. The issue of governance is central. Identifying and defining the appropriate role of government, in its broadest sense, is the cornerstone on which future development of the livestock sector must build.

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Livestock food security and poverty reduction

The livestock sector is one of the fastestgrowing segments of the agricultural economy, particularly in the developing world. As demand for meat and dairy products in the developing world continues to increase, questions arise as to how this demand will be met and by whom. Parts of the sector, particularly poultry and pig production, have followed a trend similar to that in developed countries, where largescale production units dominate output. The expansion of such trends across the whole livestock sector will have major implications for poverty reduction and food security. To date, the transformation of the livestock sector has occurred largely in the absence of sector-specific policies; this gap needs to be addressed to ensure that the livestock sector contributes to equitable and sustainable development.

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