WHAT ARE ICLS?
The Integrated Crop-Livestock Systems (ICLS) have as premise associations of crops and animal production to explore synergies arising from these production models. SIPA is also more popularly known as CLI – Crop-livestock integration. The ICLS has been recognized as a unique option for production systems where it is possible to aim, concomitantly, the intensification of production with environmental sustainability.
The conservationist pillar of the system is no-till, good management practices, efficient use of inputs, and use of pasture at moderate grazing intensities. Diversification is brought about by agricultural and forestry rotations, interspersed with pastoral phases, whose synergistic arrangement recycles nutrients more efficiently and reduces pests, diseases, and undesirable plants.
Efficiency, at the property level, is brought about by better use of nutrients, less use of inputs per unit of food produced, greater efficiency in the use of machinery and personnel, greater financial liquidity, by increased income in the same area unit. And by reducing the risk of the agricultural operation.
Photo: Experiment under the direction of Aliança SIPA since 2013, with the aim of diversifying agricultural production in lowlands, carried out at Fazenda Corticeiras (municipality of Cristal / RS)
WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF SIPA IN THE WORLD?
Globally, FAO recognizes the potential of integrated systems as a sustainable way to feed nine billion people in 2050. According to the agency, these systems can increase environmental resilience by increasing biological diversity and effective and efficient nutrient cycling, leading to improved soil quality and providing ecosystem services and contributing to adaptation and mitigation to climate change.
FAO also lists the benefits of improving production processes, including labor, resilience to economic factors, and the reduction of risk.
And from a sociocultural perspective, it is emphasized that integrated systems allow producers to achieve social aspirations and aim for equitable social dynamics (particularly for women and young people), promoting food security while being systems that adjust to the current desires of consumers asto the quality of products and production processes.
In addition to representing a solution to the growing demand for food, the integrated systems have great potential for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, presenting themselves as the best response of the rural environment to the international community’s calls in this regard.
WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF ICLS IN BRAZIL?
The vast potential for implementing ICLS in Brazil makes the country an essential player in the global context of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The government is committed to reducing CO2-equivalent
emissions by 36.1 to 38.9% by 2020.
Among the various initiatives in this regard, there is the promotion of the adoption of ICLS in Brazil, as it is a technology known to sequester carbon. There is a governmental commitment to increase in four million hectares operating in this type of system.
In the south of the country, ICLS is disseminated as a proposal for the efficient use of the area during the off-season, diversifying the property, reducing the risk of farming, and improving the soil.
It is recognized the existence of millions of hectares that fallow in winter or, more frequently, that remain with vegetation cover aiming to produce straw for summer crops. In this lies the foremost opportunity for ICLS to be applied in the country.