Multipurpose Silvopastoral Systems as a sustainable strategy for the reconversion of family livestock in Peru and Colombia
A strategy to improve the productive systems of small livestock farmers in Colombia and Peru consisting of the establishment of Multipurpose Silvopastoral Systems (MPSS), training and Regional Innovation Platforms.
Context of the story
Livestock farming in the lowland tropics of the Colombian and Peruvian Amazon, which are contrasting regions of small livestock farming families dedicated to extensive livestock farming as their main economic activity. This sector is considered to be of low economic, environmental, and social sustainability due to soil degradation processes, deforestation for the development of crops and pastures, and low zootechnical indices. Therefore, there is a need to apply strategies for the inclusion of native and introduced woody species in livestock systems, due to their importance in feeding and comfort, in addition to their ecosystem benefits that improve productivity indices.
Silvopastoral systems (SPS) have become a form of livestock production with a sustainability approach, since its implementation contributes with social, economic and environmental benefits.
The implemented initiative
This project presents a sustainable alternative to improve family livestock farming through the implementation of Multipurpose Silvopastoral Systems (MPSS) in Peru and Colombia. It is expected to contribute to the compatibility between cattle production and adaptation to climate variability through the integration of adapted woody species that provide various functions and uses in agroecosystems, the training of livestock farmers, demonstrations of methods, field tours, and the dissemination of results through the regional innovation platform. The aim is to promote innovation and the generation of new knowledge on MPSS.
Successful MPSS establishment must be accompanied by a training and technology dissemination strategy that links producers in all stages of the process.
The technological solution
Multipurpose Silvopastoral Systems (MPSS) integrate three plant components (grasses, shrubs and trees) distributed across different strata within the livestock system. The planting density of woody species is between 1,000 and 2,000 plants per hectare, which adjusts to the economic needs of the farmer, reduces establishment and management costs, and facilitates the adoption and appropriation of the technology. Likewise, the process is accompanied by training strategies and publications on key aspects for the replication of the MPSS and the generation of a network of farms with silvopastoral systems for the linking of producers, technicians, academics, unions, and regional institutions.
"MPSS seek to make livestock activity more sustainable, increase productivity per unit area, reduce the impact on areas unsuitable for such activities, and provide a better environment for animal production."
During phase 1 (2022-2023), 47 cattle families were selected, of which 27 are located in the departments of Tolima and Caquetá in Colombia and 20 in the regions of Ucayali and San Martín in Peru. Technical visits to the properties were carried out and an interview was conducted to collect necessary baseline information.
The establishment of 20 SSPM modules was achieved, of which 10 are located in Colombia and 10 in Peru, and represent 19.34 ha intervened.
4 participatory workshops were held with livestock producers, of which 2 were held in Colombia and 2 in Peru. The themes were based on MPSS design with the inclusion of native woody species, pasture fertilization strategies in the tropics and, additionally, results and interpretation of soil analysis were shared with producers. The participation of 56 producers was achieved.