Drivers, challenges and opportunities of forage technology adoption by smallholder cattle households in Cambodia
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Forage technology has been successfully introduced into smallholder cattle systems in Cambodia as an alternative feed source to the traditional rice straw and native pastures, improving animal nutrition and reducing labour requirements of feeding cattle. Previous research has highlighted the positive impacts of forage technology including improved growth rates of cattle and household time savings. However, further research is required to understand the drivers, challenges and opportunities of forage technology for smallholder cattle households in Cambodia to facilitate widespread adoption and identify areas for further improvement. A survey of forage-growing households (n = 40) in July–September 2016 examined forage technology adoption experiences, including reasons for forage establishment, use of inputs and labour requirements of forage plot maintenance and use of forages (feeding, fattening, sale of grass or seedlings and silage). Time savings was reported as the main driver of forage adoption with household members spending approximately 1 h per day maintaining forages and feeding it to cattle. Water availability was reported as the main challenge to this activity. A small number of households also reported lack of labour, lack of fencing, competition from natural grasses, cost of irrigation and lack of experience as challenges to forage growing. Cattle fattening and sale of cut forage grass and seedlings was not found to be a widespread activity by interviewed households, with 25 and 10% of households reporting use of forages for these activities, respectively. Currently, opportunities exist for these households to better utilise forages through expansion of forage plots and cattle activities, although assistance is required to support these households in addressing current constraints, particularly availability of water, if the sustainability of this feed technology for smallholder cattle household is to be established in Cambodia.
KeywordsCambodia Cattle Forages Nutrition Adoption Water Fattening
This research was conducted within the VBLDRM project (AH/2011/014), funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). This support is gratefully acknowledged as are efforts of the staff of the General Directorate of Animal Health and Production, Phnom Penh and the household representatives in Ampil Chrum and Sen Ouk villages who participated in this research and provided their time generously.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Statement of human rights
Human ethics approval for this study was obtained from the University of Sydney Ethics Committee (project no. 2014/783) in compliance with State Acts and National Codes of Practice. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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