Farming systems research (FSR) is an effective approach to understanding the internal economy of the farm. However, its focus must be expanded to fully grasp the long-term effects of livestock rearing. The communal nature of livestock rearing in North Kordofan, Sudan, presents a real dilemma for FSR practitioners in delivering appropriate intervention strategies. Bottom-up FSR development efforts that promote the short-term goal orientations of farmers regarding livestock investment must also take into account the long-term environmental/societal consequences. Thus, it is necessary to have an adequate understanding of the broader economic and environmental context in which resource allocation is taking place. This paper explores some of the potential problems associated with FSR approaches to livestock production and stresses the importance of integrating both a short-term and long-term perspective in such approaches. This integration can be accomplished by combining micro-level household-focused FSR approaches with macro-level resource use considerations.

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