Livestock play an important but variable role in both rural and urban societies. Animals can use products that are left over by humans, such as kitchen wastes, hotel leftovers, grass from roadsides and empty plots, residues from agro-industry and crop residues, while giving multiple products in return, such as meat, eggs, milk and fibres, or by providing a source of income. They can provide emotional attachment and play a role in social stability, but at the same time they can affect public health both positively and negatively. However, traditional systems of animal keeping are not static. They adapt to changing circumstances such as increased population pressure, use of fertilizers, changing consumption patterns and new regulations. Livestock keepers, governments, national and international agencies each have a different role in this change, including keeping track of developing technologies and management practices that might be useful for development. The farmers' expertise lies in the fact that they know their own conditions best while the expertise of the national and international agencies lies in their access to information from different areas elsewhere in the world. The exchange of experiences among livestock keepers, consumers of animal produce and institutions at both national and international levels is necessary for the generation and application of appropriate technologies and management techniques that serve to keep farmers in business. In addition, one should keep in mind that a technology accepted and used in one place is not always suitable or adaptable in another place or under changing circumstances.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has access to experiences regarding agricultural change across the world. Together with the Japanese Government it was decided to compile experi ences from different places in the world, categorized by farming system, to make it easier for interested people to select ideas for their own circumstances. This document presents a sample of such technologies specifically intended for livestock keeping in urban areas. It describes the livestock production system in traditional sectors, and identifies constraints. Suggestions for improving production in the livestock sector are given and a literature list is included for further reference.
A companion volume discusses traditional technologies for livestock in mixed farming systems. The combination of these two documents gives a broad overview of technologies available for application under a variety of conditions.
Comments and suggestions from readers are welcomed to enable future upgrading of the material.
FAO Animal Production and Health Division