Cattle systems

Livestock has many different livelihoods functions. They produce the traditional livestock products for home consumption and for the market, they support crop production, and they are an insurance that future financial requirements can be met and help households to avoid costs for financing urgent cash expenses, in particular in areas where financial institutions are not functioning well or are not trusted. Research on quantification of these different motives for keeping animals has helped us to find out what different benefits of livestock are in different situations, to understand the decision making of farmers with regard to the allocation of their resources and, for instance, the selling of animals, and it has made us realize that smallholders are more productive than often suggested.