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Costa Rica leads the way towards sustainable livestock management

Costa Rica leads the way towards sustainable livestock management Posted on March 12, 2015

In Costa Rica, where the government has set an ambitious goal of carbon neutrality by 2021, livestock accounts for 30% of national emissions. Nationally, more than 45,000 livestock farms employ at least 12% of the Costa Rican workforce and occupy over 35.5% of the territory.

In order to lower those emissions, improve the livelihoods of the farmers, and generate eco-competitive livestock production, several national, public, private, and academic institutions worked together to develop the Costa Rica Livestock NAMA Concept.

Meat, dairy, and dual-purpose cattle make up the majority of the livestock production systems in Costa Rica, which are dependent on grazing. With that in mind, the livestock NAMA concept introduces new pasture management techniques for climate smart, profitable kit, productive, and socially sustainable livestock. The techniques listed below involve planting trees and hedges for fences that capture CO2, introducing more nutritious, easily digestible fodder species, implementing new fertilization strategies, and much more.

Four levels of institutional arrangement

The NAMA further calls for creating a label to identify the products manufactured with low GHG emissions as an incentive for producers and to educate and inform the consumer, key elements for transformational change.

Gina Paniagua Sánchez, Vice-Minister for Agriculture and Livestock, Costa Rica, introduced the country’s livestock NAMA at the NAMA Day event during COP 20 in Lima, noting it aims to contribute to a more eco-competitive livestock sector. She highlighted some of the expected co-benefits of integrating the NAMA with a broader focus on climate smart agriculture, including soil construction and restoration, improved ecosystem services and improved incomes for farmers.