Relevance and feasibility of mini livestock farming in enhancing food security in Southern Africa
Keywords:Mini livestock, Food Security, Poverty, Southern Africa
Mini livestock is a sustainable form of animal production that has significant potential for alleviating malnutrition and food insecurity in Southern Africa. It should be considered as a normal component of livestock and rural development which has the capacity to improve nutrition and food security. It is very much associated with increased food security as it lends itself to small scale family production. This discussion looks at the opportunities of utilizing mini livestock species as an alternative source of protein solving the food insecurity challenges in Southern Africa. Mini livestock production has diverse economic and social functions in rural communities. It can be valued as one of the livestock sub sectors having enormous potential for enhancing food security. The conventional livestock production sector has been facing multiple challenges as a result of rise in human population, urbanization and climate change. This trend has lead to a rise in demand for livestock products, which means meat productivity or the number of meat animals will have to increase to meet the animal protein demand. The protein production from conventional livestock has been falling, as a result there is need for alternative sources of animal protein supply. Focusing on mini livestock species as an alternative source of protein may be just as important. Most animals in the mini livestock class are promising in enhancing food security because they require little capital, equipment, space and labor. The discussion concludes that mini livestock constitute an important reservoir of genetic animal resources which has not been given adequate recognition. However, it is envisaged the utilization of mini livestock will address the animal protein challenges facing Southern Africa, especially in the resource poor rural communities where the problem is most apparent. Given the economic, social and ecological advantages of mini livestock farming it is arguably deserves even greater attention.
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