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Back to the future: revisiting mixed crop-livestock systems

This report highlights small-scale farmers who combine growing crops with raising animals. Although this farming system may appear old-fashioned, it remains the most prevalent and has gained popularity in recent years.

Most poor people currently rely on around one billion of these 'mixed' family farmers cultivating rice paddies and raising a few animals, for example. It is not big farms but these small agricultural systems that will play the biggest role in global food security over the next several decades, according to the report.

The study is the first to investigate mixed farms. It argues for a transition towards this farming system because it has a huge potential for increasing productivity in developing countries, provided that farms are managed appropriately.

The international donor community should fund and commit to policies that foster this neglected form of agriculture, it suggests, or their money will go to waste.

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