Mølina Barrøs, Raúl Andrés and Atzori, Alberto Stanislao and Campus Gaona, Rómulo and Sánchez Guerrero, Hugo (2014) Using system thinking to study sustainability of Colombian dairy system. Business systems review, Vol. 3 (2), p. 123-141. eISSN 2280-3866. Article.
Colombia raises 1.73% of global livestock inventory. Key challenges of the sector are to increase the animal production in order to nutritionally sustain the growing population, to ensure a rational use of natural resources for agricultural purposes, either combining criteria of economic sustainability and social equity. Agriculture can be considered as networking factor for productive, environmental and social components. In Colombia development of rural areas comprised complex dynamics affected by low technological farming systems and conflicts over land use and ownership. Free trade and climate change also act on the system as exogenous variables. The use of modeling tools and methodologies, such as system thinking and system dynamics, could help to manage rural development policies taking into account different components and to analyze their interconnections within the system. This comprehensive approach can also be useful to stimulate a multidisciplinary focus on future trends of development. The aim of this work was to qualitatively explain the main loops limiting and enhancing the development of the rural areas oriented to milk production in Colombia, using causal maps and conceptual diagrams. Three main components and their relationships were analyzed: Production and Economics, Environment and Social. Strategies of future development of rural areas suitable for milk production were suggested. Dairy farm management and rational land use supported by technical assistance were proposed alternatively to extensive-extractive livestock system to reach economic, social and environmental benefits.
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