The objective of the Workshop "Sustainable Livestock and its Relationship with the Forest" was to generate a space for the exchange of experiences for the 11 participating Latin American countries. The design of the workshop allowed the discussion and analysis among representatives of governments, the environmental sector, the productive sector, buyers, financiers and civil society organizations in Latin America.
Throughout the two days of work, topics related to livestock and its opportunities were presented, as well as the challenges this sector faces. The short term in the production, the growth of the markets (an important one, the chinese), the necessity of the human consumption of this protein, cataloged as "the best of all" (used in fitness fashion) are recognized as opportunities. The creation of the "Global Roundtable of Sustainable Meat" (GRSB), which aims to improve value chains was addressed. These tables have been installed in some countries, and in the case of Mexico, the national one is under construction.
Regarding its relationship with forests and climate change, in particular for the REDD+ scheme, it was recognized that for most of the countries, the livestock is a cause of deforestation, so the REDD+ mechanism (national levels) of each country, is determining a new approach, so it avoids the change of land use by livestock production, ensures sustainability and has a good market placement. It was commented that one way to measure the impact of livestock on forests is to determine the area in hectares of forest/kilograms of meat, or tons of carbon dioxide emitted/kilograms of meat. (To see in: https://cl.boell.org/sites/default/files/el_costo_climatico_del_ganado.pdf)
To improve this productive practice in a sustainable manner, it is necessary to train farmers, improve technology for handling, to educate the consumer about the quality and types of meat/cut, improve value chains, perform product traceability and improve prices in the market based on the type of production. A sustainable livestock requires a global concept, but with indicators, models and local production methods. In general, farmers feel constantly identified as the cause of negative impacts on the environment, but it must be recognized that many do good practices and are looking for market niches that recognize them.
It would then be necessary to differentiate between a sustainable livestock activity and a cattle ranching good practices. In the latter, small farmers are included, as in the case of Mexico. However, in both cases the participation of the State is necessary and important, both for the development and implementation of technical or financial schemes, as well as adequate public policies that provide technical, financial and support to strengthen capacities and access to better and new markets.