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Revue scientifique et technique (International Office of Epizootics)
Vol. 30, No: 3, 2011, Pages: 969 - 83

Organic livestock production: an emerging opportunity with new challenges for producers in tropical countries

Chander M, Subrahmanyeswari B, Mukherjee R, Kumar S

Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar-243 122 (UP), India.


Agrochemicals, veterinary drugs, antibiotics and improved feeds can increase the food supply while minimising production costs in various livestock production systems around the world. However, these days, quality-conscious consumers are increasingly seeking environmentally safe, chemical-residue-free healthy foods, along with product traceability and a high standard of animal welfare, which organic production methods are said to ensure. Organic production is not only a challenge for producers in developing countries, it offers new export opportunities as well. Organic agriculture is practised by 1.8 million producers in 160 countries, and production of organically grown food continues to increase steadily by 15% per year. Most tropical countries are now exporting organic agricultural products but, apart from organic beef from Brazil and Argentina, organic livestock products are yetto take off. Most trade in organic livestock products is restricted to the European Union and other developed nations. Nevertheless, tropical countries cannot afford to neglect this emerging system of animal production. Organic production is knowledge- and management-intensive. Producers must be well versed in organic production standards, principles and practices, which require a high degree of knowledge and skill. In organic production, it is not simply the final product but the whole production process that must be inspected and approved by the accredited certification bodies. Organic livestock farming is still evolving, and further research is needed to make it sustainable. In this paper, the authors review the prospects of organic animal husbandry and its possible constraints in developing and tropical countries.



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