Rural income generation through improving crop-based pig production systems in Vietnam: Diagnostics, interventions, and dissemination


Sweetpotato-pig production is an important system that generates income, utilizes unmarketable crops, and provides manure for soil fertility maintenance. This system is widely practiced from Asia to Africa, with many local variations. Within this system, pigs are generally fed a low nutrient-dense diet, yielding low growth rates and low economic efficiency. Our project in Vietnam went through a process of situation analysis, participatory technology development (PTD), and scaling up over a seven-year period to improve sweetpotato-pig production and to disseminate developed technologies. The situation analysis included a series of pig production assessments in several provinces in northern and southern Vietnam, and pig supply-market chain identification was conducted in 13 provinces. The analysis of these studies informed the project of the following: (1) appropriate locations for our activities; (2) seasonal available feedstuff and farmers’ feeding practices; (3) market fluctuation and requirements; and (4) feeding and management improvement needs based on which the subsequent phase of PTD was designed. The PTD involved a limited number of farmers participating in sweetpotato varietal selection, sweetpotato root and vine silage processing, seasonal feeding combination, and pig feeding with balanced crop-feed diet and silage. Six years of multi-location and multi-season sweetpotato selection resulted in a few promising varieties that yielded up to 75% more dry matter and have since been formally released. The most significant results of silage processing and feeding trials include improved growth, higher feeding efficiency, increased year-round local feedstuff, and considerable labor reduction from eliminated cooking and vine cutting. Once these technologies were developed, a farmer-to-farmer training model was designed for scaling up the adoption and impact. Farmer trainers from seven communes in seven provinces received training in these technologies. In turn, they undertook the responsibility of training other farmers on sweetpotato selection, processing, and feeding. An impact study was also administered to monitor and evaluate (M&E) the dissemination process and to document the impact of the new technologies and farmer-to-farmer training model on pig growth and farmer income generation. The results showed that both participating and non-participating farmers have taken up the technologies, although the former demonstrates higher rates of adoption than the latter. The participants also generated more income and saved more labor from the adoption of the technologies. While the scaling up and M&E activities are on-going, the project has since broadened from a sweetpotato-pig system perspective to a pig-cropfeed system perspective based on farmers’ needs. It has included other crop feeds such as cassava and peanut stems in the research portfolio. New technologies based on on-going PTD will continuously be incorporated into the future training curriculum.

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daily weight gain


monitoring and evaluation


participatory technology development


Vietnamese dong (approximate 2003 exchange rate 15,000 VND = $1.00 USD)


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Correspondence to Dai Peters.

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Dai Peters is currently a senior scientist with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) based in Hanoi, Vietnam. This publication is based on research conducted while she was a research scientist with the International Potato Center (CIP). She holds a PhD from North Carolina State University. Her research interests include on-farm participatory research methodologies, agroenterprise development, and sweetpotato-pig farming systems in Vietnam and Papua, Indonesia. Her recent publications include a manual on crop-based pig feed systems, post-harvest fermentation of sweetpotato roots and vines, and agroenterprise development.

Nguyen Thi Tinh is currently a coordinator of the sweetpotato-pig improvement project at the International Potato Center in Vietnam. Ms. Tinh holds a Master’s degree in animal nutrition from Wageningen University, Netherlands. She participated in the project on pig feeding trials for five years.

Mai Thach Hoanh is a sweetpotato breeder with the Root Crop Research Center of Vietnam Agricultural Science Institute (VASI). He holds a PhD in sweetpotato breeding from the same institute. He participated in the project for seven years on sweetpotato selection.

Nguyen The Yen is a crop scientist in the Food Crop Research Institute of Vietnam. He holds a PhD in sweetpotato breeding from VASI. He participated in the project for five years on sweetpotato selection.

Pham Ngoc Thach is a lecturer with the Hanoi Agricultural University. He holds a PhD in veterinarian science from the same university. He participated in the project for five years in controlling pig diseases during the feeding trials.

Keith Fuglie is a regional coordinator and research scientist in the International Potato Center based at Bogor, Indonesia. He holds a PhD in agriculture economics from the University of Wisconsin. He designed the impact study for the project.

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Peters, D., Tinh, N.T., Hoan, M.T. et al. Rural income generation through improving crop-based pig production systems in Vietnam: Diagnostics, interventions, and dissemination. Agric Hum Values 22, 73–85 (2005).

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  • On-farm research
  • Participatory technology development
  • Pig production
  • Scaling up
  • Silage
  • Situation analysis
  • Sweetpotato
  • Vietnam