Animals as an Energy Source in Third World Agriculture

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Science  09 May 1980:
Vol. 208, Issue 4444, pp. 570-574
DOI: 10.1126/science.208.4444.570


Agricultural development programs have so far been largely unable to meet the food needs of the world's poorest. Increased food production can be achieved only from more intensive agriculture, which requires greater energy inputs per farm worker. Problems of technological infrastructure and escalating oil prices appear to preclude the spread of mechanization to Third World agriculture at this time. Efficient utilization of grazing animals in specific integrated farming systems could not only increase energy inputs through draft and transportation but also increase the yield of high-grade products and by-products from the renewable energy of biomass. An approach to development based on animal agriculture systems is suggested that might initiate a self-sustaining, more productive agriculture requiring only small inputs of fossil-fuel energy.