Increasing demands for meat and milk in developing countries and the associated production growth are driving the expansion of agriculture at the expense of environmental conservation and other land uses.
While considerable attention has been directed at improving crop yields to alleviate the pressure on land, there has been far less attention on the implications of the expected intensification of livestock production.
In this article, the authors present and analyse the land availability and land footprints of livestock intensification for five scenarios representing various degrees of intensification of meat and milk production by cattle, sheep, goats and camels in arid, semi-arid and humid production systems in Kenya.
For each scenario, the authors quantify the potential availability of grassland and cropland for meat and milk production by cattle, sheep, goats and camel in the arid, semi-arid and humid production systems. A resource use indicator, land footprint (ha), is used to assess changes in land use associated with livestock production.
Overall, the results suggest that it is possible to increase production to meet increasing demands for meat and milk while also gaining land for environmental conservation through intensification. Realizing the potential presented by the intensification scenarios will be contingent upon successfully establishing and operationalizing enabling policies, institutional arrangements and markets and ensuring that relevant information, services, inputs, and other essential requirements are available, accessible and affordable to herders and farmers.
Bosire, C.K., Krol, M.S., Mekonnen, M.M., Ogutu, J.O., Leeuw, J. de, Lannerstad, M. and Hoekstra, A.Y. 2016. Meat and milk production scenarios and the associated land footprint in Kenya. Agricultural Systems 145:64–75. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2016.03.003