The future of Mediterranean Livestock Farming Systems: Opportunity and efficiency of Crops – Livestock Integration. Final report CLIMED

Alary Véronique, Moulin Charles-Henri, Lasseur Jacques, Aboulnaga Adel M., Sraïri Mohamed Taher. 2017. The future of Mediterranean Livestock Farming Systems: Opportunity and efficiency of Crops – Livestock Integration. Final report CLIMED. s.l. : Projet Arimnet-Union Européenne, 60 p.

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CLIMED_Final Report_14march2017.pdf

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Abstract : Mediterranean livestock farming systems have evolved in response to the multiple changes that occurred and they must now adapt to current and future pressures, including the strong demographic growth and urbanization in the coastal line, high competition for land and water as well as abandonment in hinterland. The potential sustainable intensification processes are generally complex depending both on exogenous opportunities and on endogenous capacities and representations. We assume that the mixed farming systems, as livelihood strategy, and the integration of livestock and crops, to improve economic and environmental efficiency through recycling, are possible options for sustainable intensification of farming systems. The CLIMED project aimed i) to characterize the dynamics of farming systems and identify their drivers and ii) to assess the technical, economic and socio-ecological viability of livestock systems. This aims at helping farmers, communities, researchers and decision-makers defining management priorities and improving planning so as to deal better with socio-environmental issues. The project was implemented from 2013 to 2016. The activities were performed in three countries: Egypt, France and Morocco, through case studies in a gradient of various socio-ecological contexts, from favourable contexts (plains, irrigation infrastructure) to harsher contexts (mountains, rainfed). Surveys and monitoring at farm level were conducted to assess various efficiencies. Interviews of actors, mobilization of databases and previous studies were performed to analyse the dynamics of systems in the last decades and to assess their adaptive capacities. Finally, a transversal analysis enables to identify 5 archetypical farming systems at Mediterranean scale and to perform a qualitative assessment, from quantitative results obtained in the three countries. We identified two main trends and five archetypical systems: a centrifugal trend of specialization, toward cash crop (1) or dairy herd (2) in favourable areas, and pastoral meat system (3) in harsher environment, and a centripetal trend of diversification, maintaining mixed crop-livestock systems (4) in irrigated areas and agro-pastoral livestock-crop systems (5) in intermediate rainfed areas. Specialization trend is very strong in France and diversification the most developed in Egypt and Morocco. Those trends may lead to a territorial specialization. The issues of crop-livestock integration had then to be addressed: i) at farm scale for mixed systems, considering (ii) the relations between a diversity of farms co-existing in a local territory and (iii) the relations between specialized territories. The mobility of the flocks is the mean to organise those relationships. The mixed croplivestock systems exhibited: i) a good environmental efficiency, recycling the biomass between activities, ii) a good economic robustness because of the combination of activities and the security net through social network, but iii) low labour productivity and incomes, due to a weak access to land and water, to the amount of routine work requirement for integration practices and low empowerment through collective actions. The reproduction of this mixed system is endangered, because of low incomes and the poor social consideration. In another hand, the institutions, through policies and planned infrastructure programs, have mainly supported the specialized systems that exhibited limits in terms of socio-ecological viability. Main issues of these research pinpointed necessity in: i) overwhelming antagonism between social vulnerability and ecological efficiency of mixed crop livestock farming systems through dedicated rural development policies; ii) limiting micro-regional specialisation processes through the maintaining of a diversity of systems, developing for instance opportunities in promoting territorial food projects and environmental rules reintroducing diversity in cropland occupation ; iii) taking advantage of spatial mobility abilities of livestock farming in the Mediterranean to reinforce crop – livestock integration at regional level, promoting collective actions allowing a wider range of livestock farmers of hinterlands to participate, limiting so these efficiency loss and reinforcing sustainability for most vulnerable livestock farmers.

Mots-clés libres : Integrated crop-livestock system, Efficiency, Vulnerability, Mediterranean system, Livestock systems, Egypt, France, Morocco

Classification Agris : L01 - Animal husbandry
F08 - Cropping patterns and systems
E14 - Development economics and policies

Agence(s) de financement européenne(s) : European Commission

Programme de financement européen : FP7

Projet(s) de financement européen(s) : Coordination of Agricultural Research in the Mediterranean

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Alary Véronique, CIRAD-ES-UMR SELMET (MAR) ORCID: 0000-0003-4844-5423
  • Moulin Charles-Henri, Montpellier SupAgro (FRA)
  • Lasseur Jacques, INRA (FRA)
  • Aboulnaga Adel M., Animal Production Department (EGY)
  • Sraïri Mohamed Taher, IAV Hassan II (MAR)

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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