Farming systems that integrate crops with livestock carry much of the weight of food systems in the world. These “mixed” farming systems produce about half the world’s food to 2.5 billion hectares. They not only represent more than 90% of milk production in the world and 80% of meat from ruminants, but also provide most of the staple crops consumed by the poor, including maize, rice, sorghum and millet.
Given its importance and vulnerability to climate variability, mixed crop-livestock systems in small scale should be a primary objective of the strategies to produce more food, with less land.
Climate change is happening even faster and more damaging effects on food security in the world than previously anticipated, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the agency greater authority in the world in science climate change.
Agricultural research for development can make a big difference in every step from farm to table, for example, provide new strategies to help small farmers in the needs of livestock and crops or for the promotion and guidance of investment and politics. Scientists have identified a number of adaptation options: including better technologies such as drought resistant crops; behavioral changes, and diets; improved land management practices; and new policies to encourage market development and infrastructure.
One of the biggest challenges in implementing climate-smart agriculture is to ensure that the solutions are locally appropriate.