Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Socioeconomic impact of forage-technology adoption by smallholder cattle farmers in Cambodia

K. Ashley A C , J. R. Young A , P. Kea B , S. Suon B , P. A. Windsor A and R. D. Bush A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.

B Department of Animal Health and Production, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

C Corresponding author. Email: katherine.ashley@sydney.edu.au

Animal Production Science - https://doi.org/10.1071/AN16164
Submitted: 30 July 2015  Accepted: 20 August 2016   Published online: 14 October 2016

Abstract

In Cambodia, adoption of forage technology is recommended to smallholder cattle farmers as an alternative to the widespread practice of feeding nutritionally inferior rice straw and collected or grazed native grasses. Although field research has demonstrated the nutritional benefits to cattle of smallholders adopting forage technology in Cambodia, we extended these studies by investigating the impacts and financial metrics of forage technology adoption in January 2011 by 120 smallholder participants from the ‘Best practice health and husbandry of cattle Cambodia’ (AH/2005/086) project. Farmers were classified by intervention level (high (HI) or low (LI) intervention) and forage technology adoption (adopter HI, non-adopter HI and non-adopter LI). Information on cattle-feeding practices, including household labour demands of sourcing feed for cattle, plus input costs of forage-plot establishment by adopter HI farmers, was collected and analysed. Results were that while the establishment of forages did not have a significant effect on the use of traditional feed sources such as rice straw, crop bi-products and crop residues, grazing of cattle on native pastures was less common among adopter households. Adopter households also reported a significant (P < 0.05) reduction in daily time spent sourcing feed and reduced involvement of women and children in sourcing feed for cattle compared with non-adopter households. Average total cost of inputs to forage-plot establishment per 100 m2 ranged from US$1.40 to US$16.88, with an average cost of US$5.60. Seed costs were estimated at US$0.50 per 100 m2 for a total input cost of US$6.10 per 100 m2. Partial budget analysis was used to compare the value of forage feeding of the following two scenarios over a 6-month wet-season period: (1) forage-plot establishment and forage feeding across the herd; and (2) forage-plot establishment and target feeding (fattening) of one animal. A net profit of US$139.01 was indicated for Scenario 1 and US$152.94 for Scenario 2 and Monte Carlo simulation indicated similar financial outcomes for both scenarios, namely US$169.09 (95% CI: –17.00, 402.00) and US$172.33 (95% CI: 66.80, 305.80) respectively. We conclude that the reduced labour burden on women and children plus the potential increased household income from forage establishment and forage feeding, support recommendations of forage technology as a strategy to improve the livelihoods of smallholder cattle farmers in Cambodia.

Additional keywords: cattle-feeding practices, net profit, partial budget.


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