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FEATURE STORY

Innovative Livestock Farming Protects the Environment in Argentina

December 27, 2012

Grazing livestock on sustainable grassland protects the habitat for 500 bird and 100 wild animal species.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The sustainable grassland livestock allows production without harming the ecosystem.
  • • There are four pilots usingthis technique in the Buenos Aires, Entre Ríos, Santa Fe and Corrientes provinces.
  • • Natural grasslands beef is now on sale within Argentina.

Argentinean meat is, without doubt, one of the main products in the local market and a frequent ingredient in family meals. It is also exported to hundreds of countries and recognized globally for its high quality. But, which is the impact of its production in the environment?

The grasslands, where livestock graze, used to be one of the largest biomes of the planet. Nowadays, it only covers 8% of the earth’s surface.

According to the NGO’s Aves Argentinas and Fundacion Vida Silvestre, cattle-ranching was traditionally one of the most sustainable activities. However, in the last ten years, due to an excessive number of animals per area -many more than what the land can withstand- and toxic and expensive technology, grasslands are considered one of the most altered and threatened ecosystems in the world.

To preserve the Pampas’ grasslands - one of the richest areas of biodiversity in the world- sustainable grassland livestock has arrived on the scene: a technique which allows animals to graze freely while protecting the habitat of 500 bird and 100 wild animal species.

This initiative not only protects the environment but also has huge potential to ensure food security and a means of living for several communities.

"The livestock sector is one of the key players in debates on climate change, the sustainability of the food system and public health protection", said WB Director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, Penelope Brook, during the 6th  meeting of Southern Cone Natural Grassland Cattle Ranches, which recently took place in Cayasta, in the province of Buenos Aires.

Open Quotes

The livestock sector is one of the key players in debates on climate change, sustainability of the food system and protection of public health Close Quotes

Penelope Brook
WB Director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay

An ecological meat, far from Utopia

Natural grassland livestock is already being implemented  in pilots in four different sites in the provinces of Buenos Aires, Entre Rios, Santa Fe y Corrientes. The Argentina Grassland Program is being undertaken by Aves Argentinas and Fundacion Vida Silvestre and supported by a donation from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), managed by the World Bank.

An important milestone for this initiative is the fact that natural grassland beef is now on sale in the Argentinean market. It is also expected that other countries such as Uruguay, Brazil and Paraguay -where pilot projects are also in place-  will start to sell the produce in their local markets. Additionally, this ecological meat will soon be evaluated to European export standards.

"Nowadays, a global agenda is designed around the fact that livestock production is very likely to increase because of population growth and a better economic environment in the world. This growing demand represents an opportunity that several countries of the region will not want to miss," added Brook.