Increasing Livestock Water Productivity under Rain Fed Mixed Crop/Livestock Farming Scenarios of Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review

Mengistu Alemayehu, Tilahun Amede, Michael BÖhme, Kurt J. Peters


Although water is a renewable natural resource, it has become insufficient at the global level. Unless the current efficiency level of water use can be increased, the trend of water shortages will become more serious. Among agricultural activities, livestock production is mostly considered an intensive water consuming operation although the knowledge and information related to livestock-water interaction appears to be limited in scope. The present review focused on the livestock-water interaction with the following objectives: 1) to strengthen the current understanding of the concept of livestock water productivity and relate it to life cycle assessment analysis framework; 2) to provide insights on the methodology of livestock water productivity estimation using water foot printing approach; 3) to assess the potential integrative intervention options towards improving livestock water productivity pertinent to the contexts of rain fed mixed farming. The concept of water accounting for livestock production is reviewed to reflect feasible options for improving animal productivity, income, livelihood and ecological benefits per unit of water input, especially the practical implications of these options for the rural poor in Sub-Saharan Africa. Utilising the rainfed mixed farming endowment as a relatively less competitive water scenario is also emphasised. In line with the intention for increased livestock water productivity, the likelihood of its negative impact on the environment and possible mitigating methods are outlined.

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Journal of Sustainable Development   ISSN 1913-9063 (Print)   ISSN 1913-9071 (Online) Email:

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