PeRFORM- Breeding and management practices towards resilient and productive sheep and goat systems based on locally adapted breeds
Charles-Henri Moulin, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - UMR Systèmes d'Élevage Méditerranéens et Tropicaux ; France
Breeds, Small ruminant, Resilience, Livestock Farming Systems, Dynamics
In the Mediterranean hinterlands livestock activities are often one of the pillars of the livelihoods for rural families. As strong changes are faced by the livestock farmers, the need to improve the resilience of the current production systems is a major stake. The livestock farming systems, especially sheep and goat, are based on the use of an important diversity of locally adapted animal populations, able to valorise scarce and variable feed resources. Those genetic resources are acknowledged as an important means to increase resilience of production systems. Those resources are dynamics, as there is a co-evolution of the farmer practices and the animal populations, as components of a socio-technical system. This co-evolution enables the adaption of the livestock activities to the change of the context (climatic, biophysical, socio-economic, and politic). The aim of the project is to strengthen the capacity of local livestock systems to cope with changes and hazards and to keep supporting the livelihoods of rural families, by developing a global approach of this coevolution between farmer practices and animal populations. Our hypothesis is that the locally adapted breeds are a technical, but also an organisational object supporting the resilience and the productivity of livestock activities in the Mediterranean areas. The project will study the practices and the dynamics of sociotechnical systems using local breeds in various situations in four countries (Morocco, France, Egypt and Greece). Contrasted territories will be studied, with goat and/or sheep production systems, oriented to meat or milk production, with local breeds embedded in selection schemes, or animal population without formal genetic breeding management. The first part of the project will provide new elements on the farmers’ breeding practices both at farm and territory level. The second part of the project will provide new elements on the resilience of small ruminants farming systems at several time scales (long term and short term) and following several changes (extreme climate events, market evolution, sanitary crisis etc.), and the role played by locally adapted breed in such a resilience. To integrate those two parts, a participatory approach will be developed with public and private stakeholders, so as to share the comprehension of the current situation and use the knowledge built during the project in order to design the evolution of the practices.