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Notes on livestock farming and its importance in Venezuela
Tue, 07/16/2013 - 14:04

Moisés Bittán

Al fin del día... un acuerdo entre Colombia y Venezuela
Moisés Bittán

Consultor internacional, Magíster en Ciencias Económicas, presidente de la Cámara de Comercio e Industria Venezolana Peruana (CAVEPERÚ), y presidente de la comisión de Cámaras Binacionales de Fedecámaras.

Around a tenth of the world's population has some degree of involvement in the livestock and breeding sector , therefore, livestock production systems are considered the most appropriate demographic, social, economic and cultural strategy to maintain the well-being of communities. -especially rural ones-, because it is the only activity that can simultaneously provide security in daily sustenance, conserve ecosystems, collaborate in national settlement strategies and satisfy cultural values and traditions.

Latin America, with its extensive areas of pastures, a favorable climate regime and rational use of inputs, has all the necessary inputs to be an important livestock producer to guarantee regional and global food security. In our country, the livestock sector provides around two-fifths of the total value of agricultural production, with dual-purpose cattle (meat and milk) predominating, followed by the raising of pigs, poultry and, on a smaller scale, goats. and sheep.

Livestock farming in Venezuela can be differentiated according to its techniques and purposes. It can be extensive: requiring large areas of land - herds - and the free grazing of large herds of livestock - cattle and horses -; It is also intensive: when capital is invested in the establishment of pastures, the improvement of pastures and attention to the genetic quality and health of the animals; In some cases, the cattle remain stabled and are fed with concentrated formulas to cover all their needs and increase performance per animal unit.

Bovine livestock is of great importance since its use provides benefits to the community and obtaining its products constitutes an essential food in the daily diet. This livestock farming is carried out in different regions, according to the characteristics most suitable for each activity. These regions are:

- Llanera: it is characterized because the herd represents the exploitation unit. This type of livestock farming focuses on the main objective of obtaining meat.

- Zuliana: It is mainly aimed at the production of milk (Perijá Municipality) and meat (Colón Municipality), based on its technological advances and the crossing of breeds to obtain the best genetic traits in the offspring, such is the case of the appreciated "Perijano mosaic", around 70% of the country's meat production and 30% of its milk production come from Zulia.

- Guayana: Livestock grazing is carried out, in order to fatten them, and protect the animals from sunstroke, taking advantage of the leafy vegetation, to obtain the best quality meat.

- Andean : Livestock farming is practiced on the slopes and in the depressions of temperate floors, mainly to obtain milk, since the altitude and low temperature affect the body constitution of the livestock.

- Falcón-Lara-Yaracuy: The development of livestock farming
Bovine was later introduced in this western region, thanks to the livestock technological advances that were applied in that area, with production having improved, specifically milk production.

Pig farming is used for the meat and sausage processing industry , due to the relatively low demands regarding space conditions and the type of feeding of the pig. The volume of meat produced contributes to the supply of human consumption, however, the production or commercial breeding of pigs is complex and expensive. It develops mainly in Aragua, Carabobo, Cojedes, Zulia and Miranda.

Goat farming is carried out in semi-desert areas of the states of Lara and Falcón, in the high parts of the Andes and in certain localities of Zulia , for the purpose of obtaining meat and skins that are processed in tannery companies. Less relevant sheep farming is located in the arid areas of Falcón, Zulia, Lara, Mérida and Trujillo, where meat is mainly obtained and wool is used marginally.

Poultry farming has had a special role in the country due to the high consumption of chickens and eggs. The third part of the production is obtained in the state of Aragua; another high percentage in the state of Monagas and Portuguesa; and a relevant portion in the states of Zulia and to a lesser extent Miranda, although the activity is present in many other sectors of the country.

The ranchers of the plains continue to use horse riding in their work. In recent decades, the breeding of English Thoroughbred horses (PSI) has developed for horse shows as well as for the practice of equestrian sports. Breeding AQH Quarter Horses, highly prized Gaiters, and other breeds in virtually every state in the country. Ass and mule livestock served as a means of transportation in agricultural work, but its importance has been reduced to replace automobile transportation.

Our country has agricultural, livestock, fishing and forestry resources, which are of vital importance for its economic and social development. Work must be done to increase the production of poultry, livestock and aquaculture that can provide the country with a secure food source, giving us the long-awaited food sovereignty . This will be possible to the extent that comprehensive policies are applied that promote them and reverse the perverse trend of imports derived from unfavorable macroeconomic conditions for local production that make them compete unfairly and at a disadvantage compared to other similar products in the world.

* This column was originally published in El Mundo de Venezuela.