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Livelihood transitions in low- and middle-income countries: From animal agriculture to alternative proteins

June 13, 2022

* This report provides insights into whether and how it is possible for commercial livestock producers and other people involved in the animal agriculture sector to transition to other livelihoods and sources of income, if and when there is a dietary and market shift away from animal-sourced foods and towards alternative proteins. Brazil is used as a case study. * Key lessons learned: (1) Relatively few examples of farmers and ranchers having actually transitioned out of animal agriculture into alternative protein production. (2) No examples of transition programs supporting farmer transitions away from animal agriculture in low- and middle-income countries. (3) Potential challenges and barriers for farmers include economic viability, lack of knowledge, skepticism or judgment from other farmers. (4) But some farmers recognize that growing crops can be less labor intensive and an integrated crop-livestock farming system can be beneficial.* The conclusion is that characterizing the opportunities and risks for livestock farmers is necessarily speculative. It is difficult to state with any certainty how likely any one outcome is, or on what timescale or magnitude. Nonetheless, being proactive rather than reactive, thinking through, and systematically generating awareness of possible outcomes (both positive and negative) is a necessary if insufficient step towards being able to guide actions that could secure the best-possible futures for farmers.