A new and interactive tool released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in August 2016 allows farmers, policy makers and scientists to calculate meat, milk and eggs production as well as greenhouse gas emissions from livestock to make the sector more productive and more climate-friendly.
GLEAM-i, the Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model interactive, provides answers to a wide range of questions. For example, as a small livestock keeper or a pastoralist, how can you get your animals to produce more milk, meat or eggs? If you're a policy maker, what practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from livestock should you support?
Based on GLEAM, the model developed by FAO's Animal Production and Health Division to support policy and practice change to achieve sustainable livestock development, GLEAM-i can be run by anyone using the Excel software, including community organisations working in remote rural areas. It includes variables such as countries and regions, the number and types of livestock - dairy or meat sheep, backyard or industrial pigs, grazing or mixed systems - feed materials, manure management as well as the specific conditions under which the animals are kept.
Yet, it is estimated that the livestock sector is responsible for 14.5 per cent of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Precise information about the environmental footprint of livestock supply chains will help stakeholders to take better-informed decisions and reduce greenhouse gases emissions. FAO research based on GLEAM has found that with feasible and affordable changes, livestock farmers can increase production and reduce emissions by nearly a third.