Modelling Environmental and Economic Aspects of Livestock Production

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Image Source: Flickr, IFPRI

BioSight will be participating in a session on livestock modelling at the upcoming conference on Agriculture in an Interconnected World, being held by the International Association of Agricultural Economics (IAEE) between August 8-14, 2015 in Milan, Italy.

Below is an excerpt from the conference proposal:

The livestock sector plays an important role in the economy of many developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. A high proportion of the developing countries’ population is directly or indirectly connected to the livestock sector which represents in many cases not only a source of income, but also a source of food. The FAO projections (also other research studies’ projections) show that livestock sourced food demand will considerably increase during the upcoming three decades in the developing countries (especially in Africa and in Asia).
In developing countries, livestock production is facing many constraints in terms of feed availability, land availability and productivity, technology adoption, market access, and other challenges. Overcoming all these constraints is a sine qua non condition to increase livestock production and fulfil the increasing demand.

But for the moment, taking into account the different constraints faced by the livestock sector, the question is how can we increase the efficiency and/or the productivity of the sector? How can we come up with robust results and reliable recommendations for policy makers to undertake the appropriate decisions? Livestock modelling could provide an answer to these questions. With the development of computers and of computational economics, the use of programming models (applying both normative and positive approaches to behavioural simulation) has rapidly increased. Four main type of models could be defined taking into account the level of analysis (micro or macro), and the time-horizon of the model (static or dynamic). We can then have: (1) farm production models (micro level – static/dynamic) that focus on producer decisions; (2) resource management models (micro level – dynamic) that consider the interactions of economic process on the dynamics of resources and the environment; or (3) multi-market equilibrium models (macro level – static/recursive dynamic) which can either be partial- or general-equilibrium in nature. In this proposed session, we mostly consider partial-equilibrium applications of these three types of models, and illustrate their application through different case studies.

The purpose of this session is to discuss the findings from five livestock modelling applied to different livestock species (small ruminants, pigs, and cows) and derived products (dairy), in developing countries. The case studies to be presented in the session address several common issues facing small livestock producers in developing countries including: feed availability, land availability and soil fertility, market access, technical efficiency and productivity gains, and overall sustainability. However, each case addresses topics relevant to other countries and possibly other sectors.

The key questions addressed in the session will be:

1. Which are the different types of livestock modelling approaches? Which better fits the need and objectives of the research?
2. How to include risk and other production constraints into livestock modelling?
3. Which are the key methodological limitations and data constraints faced by livestock modellers?
4. How can livestock modelling provide reliable recommendations for policy makers?
5. What still needs to be done in livestock modelling and what is the way forward?

For more information on the conference:

IAEE Triennial Conference