Beyond resource constraints - Exploring the biophysical feasibility of options for the intensification of smallholder crop-livestock systems in Vihiga district, Kenya
During participatory prototyping activities in Vihiga, western Kenya, farmers designed what they considered to be the ideal farm [Waithaka, M.M., Thornton, P.K., Herrero, M., Shepherd, K.D., 2006. Bio-economic evaluation of farmers' perceptions of viable farms in western Kenya. Agric. Syst. 90, 243-271]: one in which high productivity is achieved through optimising crop-livestock interactions. We selected four case study crop-livestock farms of different resource endowment (Type 1-4 - excluding the poorest farmers, Type 5, who do not own livestock) and quantified all relevant physical flows through and within them. With this information we parameterised a dynamic, farm-scale simulation model to investigate (i) current differences in resource use efficiencies and degree of crop-livestock interactions across farm types; and (ii) the impact of different interventions in farm Types 3 and 4 on producing the desired shifts in productivity towards the ideal farm. Assuming no resource constraints, changes in the current farm systems were introduced stepwise, as both intensification of external input use (fertilisers and fodder) and qualitative changes in the configuration of the farms (i.e. changing land use towards fodder production, improving manure handling and/or changing cattle breeds). In 10-year simulations of the baseline, current scenario using historical weather data the wealthiest farms Type 2 achieved food self-sufficiency (FSS) in 20% of the seasons due to rainfall variability, whereas the poorer Type 4 only achieved FSS in 0 to 30% of the seasons; soil organic C decreased during the simulations at annual rates of -0.54, -0.73, -0.85 and -0.84Â tÂ CÂ ha-1 on farms of Type 1-4, respectively; large differences in productivity and recycling efficiency between farm types indicated that there is ample room to improve the physical performance of the poorer farms (e.g. light and water use efficiency was 2-3 times larger on wealthier farms). Simulating different intensification scenarios indicated that household FSS can be achieved in all farm types through input intensification, e.g. using P fertilisers at rates as small as 15Â kgÂ farm-1Â season-1 (i.e. from 7 to 28Â kgÂ ha-1). Increasing the area under Napier grass from c. 20 to 40% and reducing the area of maize, beans and sweet potato in farms of Type 3 and 4 increased their primary productivity by c. 1Â tÂ ha-1 season-1, their milk production by 156 and 45Â L season-1, respectively, but decreased the production of edible energy (by 2000 and 250Â MJÂ ha-1 season-1) and protein (by 20 and 3Â kgÂ ha-1 season-1). By bringing in a more productive cow the primary productivity increased even further in Farm Type 3 (up to 5Â tÂ ha-1 season-1), as did milk production (up to c. 1000Â L season-1), edible energy (up to c. 10,000Â MJÂ ha-1 season-1) and protein (up to c. 100Â kgÂ ha-1 season-1). The impact of livestock management on the recycling of nutrients and on the efficiency of nutrient use at farm scale can be large, provided that enough nutrients are present in or enter the system to be redistributed. An increase in N cycling efficiency through improved manure handling from 25 to 50% would increase the amount of N cycled in the case study farms of Type 1 and 2 by only ca. 10Â kg season-1, and only 1-2Â kg season-1 in Type 3 and 4. The various alternatives simulated when disregarding resource constraints contributed to narrow the productivity and efficiency gaps between poorer and wealthier farms. However, the feasibility of implementing such interventions on a large number of farms is questionable. Implications for system (re-)design and intensification strategies are discussed.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Giller, Ken E. & Rowe, Ed C. & de Ridder, Nico & van Keulen, Herman, 2006. "Resource use dynamics and interactions in the tropics: Scaling up in space and time," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 8-27, April.
- Kiptot, Evelyne & Hebinck, Paul & Franzel, Steven & Richards, Paul, 2007. "Adopters, testers or pseudo-adopters? Dynamics of the use of improved tree fallows by farmers in western Kenya," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 509-519, May.
- Herrero, M. & Gonzalez-Estrada, E. & Thornton, P.K. & Quiros, C. & Waithaka, M.M. & Ruiz, R. & Hoogenboom, G., 2007. "IMPACT: Generic household-level databases and diagnostics tools for integrated crop-livestock systems analysis," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-3), pages 240-265, January.
- Waithaka, M.M. & Thornton, P.K. & Herrero, M. & Shepherd, K.D., 2006. "Bio-economic evaluation of farmers' perceptions of viable farms in western Kenya," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-3), pages 243-271, October.
- de Ridder, Nico & Breman, Henk & van Keulen, Herman & Stomph, Tjeerd Jan, 2004. "Revisiting a `cure against land hunger': soil fertility management and farming systems dynamics in the West African Sahel," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 109-131, May.
- Meinzen-Dick, Ruth & DiGregorio, Monica & McCarthy, Nancy, 2004.
"Methods for studying collective action in rural development,"
Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 197-214, December.
- Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela & Di Gregorio, Monica & McCarthy, Nancy, 2004. "Methods for studying collective action in rural development:," CAPRi working papers 33, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
- Bouman, B. A. M. & van Keulen, H. & van Laar, H. H. & Rabbinge, R., 1996. "The `School of de Wit' crop growth simulation models: A pedigree and historical overview," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 52(2-3), pages 171-198.
- Thornton, P. K. & Herrero, M., 2001. "Integrated crop-livestock simulation models for scenario analysis and impact assessment," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 70(2-3), pages 581-602.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:101:y:2009:i:1-2:p:1-19. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.