Climate Smart Agriculture Sourcebook

Climate-smart livestock production

Production and Resources

Creating an enabling context and removing barriers for adoption for climate-smart livestock production

Barriers to adoptions are most often related to a lack of information, limited access to technology and insufficient capital. 

Overcoming these barriers requires specific policy interventions, including strengthening extension work and financing mechanisms, such as schemes for improving access to credit and payment for environmental services (see module C3 on the enabling policy environment for climate-smart agriculture and module C4 on investing in climate-smart agriculture). Multisectoral and interdisciplinary collaboration and coordination in particular is required to mitigate the impact of animal diseases under changing climatic conditions. Policies for the adaptation of animal health systems should be implemented to strengthen animal disease surveillance programmes and risk analysis at the national level. This is needed to anticipate how climate change will facilitate the emergence of threats and alter the spread and distribution of animal diseases through ecosystems. Improved coordination should be fostered across all relevant ministries and organizations, including those dealing with environment, natural resources, wildlife and agriculture. 

There is still a lack of assessments of livestock production under climate constraints to support policies that aim at improving resilience in the sector (IPCC, 2014). In particular, modelling and quantifying aggregated impacts on livestock production systems still need to overcome a number of challenges (Thornton et al., 2015). First, more regional climate scenarios are becoming available, but they are still associated with significant uncertainties, which limit researchers' capacity to model livestock productivity under climate change. In extensive grazing and pastoral systems, the impacts of climate change on rangeland primary productivity, the mix of grass species and carrying capacity are still mostly unknown. Most models also do not take into account the management of these systems, which can play a considerable role in protecting these habitats. Second, animal diseases are affected by climate change, but future patterns of distribution need to be modelled to understand their impact on scenarios and projections. Third, the impact on groundwater availability is also an area where more assessments are needed, in particular in grazing systems. Finally, research efforts are also required to identify additional combinations of adaptation and mitigation practices that are appropriate for specific production systems and environments (e.g. combined interventions addressing the management of feed, genetic resources and manure). The potential aggregated effects that multiple changes occurring within farming systems  may have on food security and the use of natural resources at the regional level also need to be better understood.