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3.3 Other Social Impacts of the Scaling-Up of Livestock Production

3.3.1 Impact on Food Consumption and Nutrition of the Poor

Because so much of the developing world's poverty is concentrated in rural areas (circa 90 percent), and rural people over-whelming tend to make their livelihoods from farming (circa 50-75 percent), and animal agriculture is such a large share of farm income (25 to 30 percent), it is tempting to always think of the poverty impact of livestock from the producer's perspective. Yet with non-farm poverty rising rapidly, and particularly with scaling-up in the ownership structure, it is important to also look at the impact that lower meat, milk and egg prices have on poor consumers.

There is no doubt that world prices for meat, eggs, and milk have decreased relative to other food groups over the past 20 years, and many of these price declines have shown up in the domestic markets of the study countries (Delgado and Narrod, 2002). There is also little doubt that the lower income classes in Brazil have greatly increased their per capita consumption of poultry. The strong fall in the relative prices was the main cause of the substitution of red meat by white meat. Annual family meat consumption in the metropolitan areas exhibited an increase in the per capita meat and consumption between 1987 and 1996 for all income classes (Camargo Barros, 2003). Egg consumption increases have been especially pronounced for the lower income groups in cities. This is due to a fall in the price of eggs relative to other sources of animal protein, which in turn is associated with the expansion of large-scale egg production.

In India, the beneficial effects for the poor of the White Revolution in milk have, if anything, been as much on the consumption side as on the production side. In a vegetarian country where protein malnutrition is a serious problem, expansion of cheap and clean milk supplies have been critical to welfare (Sharma et. al., 2003). More generally, while the developed countries and some of the richer sections of the developing countries may worry about excess consumption of animal fats, most people in most developing countries consume too few grams of meat, milk and eggs a day to get needed micronutrients for good health, particularly non-heme iron, zinc and the B vitamins. Evaluating the impact of scaling-up of livestock production on food consumption patterns goes beyond the scope of this study, but it seems clear that the accompanying increase in aggregate supply and the fall in relative prices has led to increased intake by nutrient deficient poor people.

3.3.2 Impact on the Type of Animal Products Produced and Consumed

One impact of scaling-up often overlooked is the replacement of traditional varieties of meat animal with a few international breeds. Chicken farms in the Philippines were initially characterized by the use of native breeds. Figure 3.2 shows inventories of native chickens and of modern broiler chickens from 1990 to 2001. Native chickens are raised in backyard farms using free-range practices. Feed consists mainly of crop residues and grain spillage along with rice and corn brokens. Native breeds continue to be important in the Philippines broiler market, but much less so than previously. They are rapidly being displaced in the growing Metro Manila market, as shown in Figure 3.3. An important issue for smallholders is whether they can make money servicing niche markets for traditional meats.

3.3.3 Gender

Official statistics rarely record the gender of livestock farmers. The small-sample results in Chapter 6 will shed further insights on this area. Meanwhile, casual empiricism would suggest that in Asia, at least, livestock is the most female-driven of all agricultural activities. In the Philippines, probably one-quarter to one-half of all broiler and hog operations, large and small-(but especially small) are managed by women. Smallholder dairy in India and Thailand is heavily weighted towards female participation. In both the Philippines and India, the existence of cooperatives and contract farming schemes seems to increase the share of women involved. As will be investigated, this may be a result of women facing especially high transaction costs in livestock market participation, which makes institutions of collective action especially useful to have around. Scaling-up is a threat to improved gender outcomes if it edges out smallholders for livestock production, but there is already some evidence that vertical integration of women within institutions of collective action in the sector can help overcome this problem.

Figure 3.2 Native chicken and broiler chicken inventories, Philippines, 1990-2001

Source: Costales, A., et. al., Annex I.

Figure 3.3 Hybrid broilers rule in the Metro Manila area

Source: Costales, A., et. al., Annex I.

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