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Developing productive, sustainable and profitable smallholder beef enterprises in central Vietnam

This project aims to develop more efficient smallholder cattle-growing systems, through improved feeding and management.
The growing demand for beef in Vietnam is providing an opportunity for smallholder crop-livestock farmers in Central Vietnam to increase household income through more productive beef breeding and fattening enterprises. Significant challenges need to be overcome to ensure these enterprises can be both profitable and sustainable. These include the low fertility of sandy soils in the region, long dry seasons, waterlogging, scarcity of good quality feed, and poor cattle management practices.
This project builds on an ACIAR project (SMCN/2007/109/3) which benchmarked these crop-livestock systems and evaluated strategies for improved productivity. Forage production using new species and better cattle management practices increased productivity and reduced labour spent supplying feed for cattle. An external review identified the importance of building on this work to develop whole production system strategies and improve overall system profitability. The project extended its reach to the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak where there has been a longer period of cattle feeding and management research and development. Breeding and fattening systems in Dak Lak are more developed than on the South Central Coast, and the greatest opportunity for enhancing producers' livelihoods is through understanding and engaging with growing market opportunities.
For beef cattle farmers who are already production orientated, the project will develop stronger integration with markets. It will also identify and develop pathways for knowledge exchange and adoption, to expand impacts within smallholder beef cattle enterprises. Improved cattle production practices is expected to increase profitability for smallholders and also bring environmental benefits by reducing overgrazing.