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Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1225; doi:10.3390/su9081225

Genetic Traits of Relevance to Sustainability of Smallholder Sheep Farming Systems in South Africa

1
Department of Animal Sciences, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, Private bag X1, Matieland, Stellenbosch 7606, South Africa
2
Animal Production Institute, Agricultural Research Council, Private Bag X2, Irene 0062, South Africa
3
Animal Sciences Group, Animal Production Systems, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 338, 6700AH Wageningen, The Netherlands
4
Directorate Animal Sciences: Elsenburg, Private Bag X1, Elsenburg 7607, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 May 2017 / Revised: 4 July 2017 / Accepted: 7 July 2017 / Published: 28 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [253 KB, uploaded 28 July 2017]

Abstract

Sustainable livestock production is important to ensure continuous availability of resources for future generations. Most smallholder livestock farming systems in developing countries have been perceived to be environmentally, socially and economically unsustainable. Farming with livestock that is robust and adaptable to harsh environments is important in developing countries especially in semi-arid and arid environments. This review discusses the different sheep farming systems employed by smallholder farmers and associated sustainability problems facing them. The review also gives an overview of sustainability indicators and limitations to the sustainability for the different smallholder sheep production systems in South Africa. It is argued that genetic diversity is important for sustainability and needs to be maintained in sheep for sustainable production and reproduction performance. The application of traditional breeding and genomics to ensure sustainable production is explored. Animal breeding approaches, specifically genomics can be applied to improve areas of environmental sustainability of smallholder sheep farming systems but must be targeted to the specific production environments, challenges, and opportunities of smallholder production. The genetic traits important for sustainability, the role of genomics in improving these traits and linking these genetic traits to different farming systems in South Africa are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: social indicators; economic indicators; environmental indicators; robustness; animal breeding; genetic diversity social indicators; economic indicators; environmental indicators; robustness; animal breeding; genetic diversity
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Molotsi, A.; Dube, B.; Oosting, S.; Marandure, T.; Mapiye, C.; Cloete, S.; Dzama, K. Genetic Traits of Relevance to Sustainability of Smallholder Sheep Farming Systems in South Africa. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1225.

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