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Intensification of beef cattle production in upland cropping systems in Northwest Vietnam

This project aims to improve the income of smallholder cattle producers in Northwest Vietnam, one of the poorest regions in the country, through intensifying beef cattle production and increasing market linkages in mountainous crop-livestock systems.
One way out of poverty for the region's ethnic minority smallholder farmers is to increase livestock production. Limited feed and forage and long, cold winters make it difficult to feed animals, let alone increase production. Grazing-based livestock systems compete for land with crop production on hill slopes, which erodes soil and increases sedimentation of waterways. The local government believes the existing crop-livestock system is unsustainable.
Although ACIAR projects identified cattle feeding and management solutions (LPS/2008/049), and introduced forage hedgerows to reduce erosion in maize production (AGB/2008/002), adoption and scale out remain limited.
Domestic markets increasingly demand beef, but smallholder farmers do not capitalise on this demand, because they are poorly connected to urban markets, do not understand market dynamics, and lack information about the beef cattle value chain.
The Vietnam government has decided to concentrate beef cattle production in the highlands to alleviate poverty among smallholder farmers and address environmental problems caused by intensified cropping. This provides the impetus for developing this project.
The project will investigate and implement whole farm solutions for the highlands of Northwest Vietnam to establish and maintain sustainable crop-livestock systems for improved profitability of small holder farmers.