Designing sustainable pathways for the livestock sector: the example of Atsbi, Ethiopia and Bama, Burkina Faso

Catherine Pfeifer*, Joanne Morris, Jonathan Ensor, Salifou Ouédraogo-Koné, Dawit W. Mulatu, Mekonnen Wakeyo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Demand for animal sourced food is predicted to double in the upcoming 20 years in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is simultaneously a big opportunity in terms of poverty reduction and a significant threat to the environment. The objective of this paper is to present an approach to co-create a set of viable and acceptable development pathways for the livestock sector that maximizes benefits from increased production, exploits the synergies between livestock and the environment, while minimizing the negative effects. It engages local stakeholders and actors into a computer-assisted participatory process, through which local trade-offs and synergies between livestock production, livelihood benefits and environmental impacts can be explored. Scenarios reached by consensus among local stakeholders challenge the dominant discourse of livestock intensification. They suggest that combining extensive and intensive modes enables increased production of animal sourced food with lower additional pressure on the environment than current production modes. The right combination of extensive and intensive production allows for an efficient use of the local biomass and feed resources, and offers opportunities to improve livelihoods for all stakeholders despite their differing economic circumstances, values and traditions.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
Early online date6 Oct 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 The Author(s).


  • co-production
  • Computer-assisted participatory process
  • environment
  • livestock
  • serious gaming

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