The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) released the Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model interactive (GLEAM-i), a tool to enable farmers, policy makers and scientists to calculate meat, milk and egg production and greenhouse gas emissions from livestock to make the sector more productive and climate-friendly.
It provides the answers to a wide range of questions, such as how small livestock keepers or pastoralists can get their animals to produce more milk, meat or eggs or what practices policy makers should support to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from livestock.
Based on GLEAM, the model developed by FAO’s Animal Production and Health Division to support policy and practice change to achieve sustainable livestock development can be run by anyone using the Excel software, including community organisations working in remote rural areas.
It includes variables such as countries and regions, the numbers of types of livestock (dairy or meat sheep, backyard or industrial pigs, grazing or mixed systems), feed material, manure management and the specific conditions under which the animals are kept.
“The objective of GLEAM is to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure that livestock activities are as efficient as possible so that they can continue to contribute to people’s food, nutrition and livelihood needs while utilising fewer natural resources,” said Anne Mottet, livestock policy officer, FAO.
Hundreds of millions of people around the planet depend on livestock for their livelihoods, food security and nutrition. Livestock is particularly important for developing countries where the demand for animal protein is growing and for remote and marginal areas where limited alternatives exist. Yet it is estimated that the sector is responsible for 14.5 per cent of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.
FAO research based on GLEAM has found that with feasible and affordable changes, livestock farmers can increase production and reduce emissions by nearly a third. Precise information about the environmental footprint of livestock supply chains will help stakeholders take better-informed decisions and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“For example, governments can use GLEAM-i to prepare national inventories and develop policies for improved efficiency in animal husbandry, feed and manure management,” Mottet said.