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As climate change gathers pace, is livestock a problem or solution?

GWANDA, Zimbabwe, Aug 24 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Even during droughts like the one that swept across Zimbabwe last year, Isaac Siziba and his wife Khumutso had food. Their annual harvest did not consist of water-dependent crops, but of goats.

"Goats are easy to breed and reproduce fast, even in the worst environment, but with good management perform better and give income quickly," Siziba said as he stroked a prized Boer ram in his goat pen in Bolobelo village in Gwanda district.

"When I need to buy something or cover some expenses at home, I can easily sell a few goats," the 49-year-old farmer added. "We pay for food, school fees and cover our debts with income from goats."

To Siziba, debate among experts about the sustainability of livestock farming – which is criticised by some for its huge environmental "hoofprint" – seems detached from the practicalities of life in Gwanda.

CIFOR

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