Such diversified farming systems utilize available resources and contribute to soil fertility while they enable small and marginal farmers to increase labour demand, reduce risk and spread cash flow. They usually include crops, livestock and permanent trees. Much international, national and local research effort is being directed to developing a range of technologies suited to particular geographies and climates.
In Indonesia, the dairy and agricultural work of Sikeb Dairy and Agricultural Project North Sumatra was begun to increase the community's self-reliance and sense of responsibility for their own future. Community leaders established the project to provide new options for local people who were unable to provide adequately for their families due to lack of skills training and job opportunities. They were able to improve living conditions for the whole community as well.