Tropical Grasslands (1997) Volume 31, 588598
The economics of improved pasture and silvipastoral technologies in the Atlantic Zone of Costa Rica
H.G.P. JANSEN1, M.A. IBRAHIM2, A. NIEUWENHUYSE1, L. 't MANNETJE3, M. JOENJE4 and S. ABARCA5
1Research Program on Sustainability in Agriculture (REPOSA - CATIE/WAU/MAG), Guápiles, Costa Rica
Beef cattle production on unimproved pastures in the Atlantic Zone of Costa Rica is low. A capital budgeting model was used to investigate the financial profitability of pasture improvement using a mixture of Brachiaria brizantha and Arachis pintoi (BA system) or of B. brizantha and Erythrina berteroana (silvipastoral system). A supplementary feeding system on unimproved pastures was also evaluated as an alternative to increase beef production and farm income. Present values of incremental returns and internal rates of return on capital invested were calculated for all 3 systems. Financial benefits of the silvipastoral system were significantly lower than those of the BA system. However, non-monetary benefits of incorporating trees in pastures are difficult to value and were not considered in the financial analysis. Profitability of the supplementary feeding system was lower than that of the BA system, but exceeded returns from the silvipastoral system, although it may prove unsustainable in the long run. Nevertheless, supplementary feeding constituted an attractive option on soils where the BA and/or silvipastoral systems are difficult to establish, and for farmers without access to sufficient capital.