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III. Impact of Scaling-Up of the Livestock Sector on Social, Environmental, Health and Welfare Outcomes

3.1 Introduction

The trends examined in the previous two chapters established that livestock production has been growing rapidly in all four study countries for at least the past 15 years. Furthermore, scaling-up and geographic concentration of production are also occurring in all four study countries, especially for poultry and swine production. Scaling-up has been least in dairy, although results differ between Brazil, Thailand and India in this regard. The goal is now to assess as best as possible the impact in the study countries of these events on people, especially poor rural people who are both producers and consumers.

The present chapter addresses the impact of scaling-up as assessed by each country team using historical time series of secondary data. The availability of suitable data varies greatly across countries, and different country experiences with different commodities yield a wide range of insights. The surveys reported in Chapter 5, whose results are profiled in Chapter 6, provide new information on the characteristics of different size farms, and the relative profitability of different kinds of livestock enterprises, based on in-depth work on small cross-sectional samples.

The approach is to look first at the size distribution of livestock holdings and how they have changed over time, to assess whether smallholders are exiting the sector on a net basis over time, and what is happening to their average asset base. Then, more qualitative insights will be advanced on the impact of scaling-up on other socially relevant issues, such as increased access by the poor to high protein foods through lower relative prices, changes in the consumption patterns away from traditional foods as a result of scaling-up, and impacts on the empowerment of rural women.

Beyond social and equity issues, the studies yield both historical time series and cross-section results on impacts of the scaling-up of livestock production on environmental outcomes. The historical evidence will be assessed here and the survey evidence on likely environmental impacts in Chapter 7. Next, control of animal diseases and measures to improve food safety become more necessary as the density of animals kept increases. Yet scaling-up itself affects animal disease prevalence and food safety. After analyzing these interactions, the chapter concludes with insights on animal crowding and the growth of physical restraints under the intensification of production in the study countries.

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