UTE LEMKE1, ANDRÉ MARKEMANN1, TRONG BINH NGUYEN2, LE THI THUY2, JAVIER DELGADO1, BRIGITTE KAUFMANN1, ANNE VALLE ZÁRATE1
1University of Hohenheim, Institute of Animal Production in the Tropics and Subtropics, Germany
2National Institute of Animal Husbandry (NIAH), Animal Genetic Diversity and Conservation, Vietnam
In the mountainous regions of North Vietnam, smallholders progressively try to extend livestock husbandry, since cropping activities are increasingly limited by high land pressure. Low and unsteady resource availability limits intensification possibilities; therefore, production efficiency must be increased through improved resource utilisation, especially through sustainable livestock breeding/management programs, to avoid resource mining by keeping inappropriate genotypes. No such livestock breeding/management programs exist yet for resource poor smallholder systems. This study presents on-farm performance testing schemes established as first step in the set-up of village breeding programs for pigs. Comparative performance testing for higher-yielding Mong Cai pigs, indigenous Ban pigs and selected crossbreeding groups will allow identifying genotypes with high productive adaptability for different production environments. Organisational structures required for breeding programs are established on village level. On a long-term basis, integration of Ban and Mong Cai pigs in a stratified village breeding programme is envisaged.
A pilot phase from March to June 2003 in two villages of ethnic Black Thai in Son La province aimed on investigating suitable on-farm research methods, selecting parameters for on-farm performance testing conducted by farmers, developing a data recording/management system, training farmers in using a herd management software, and setting up a long-term stable data flow system between farmers and researchers.
The working concept was introduced in participatory farmers' meetings. Vietnamese-language datasheets were developed and distributed to farmers. A first round of data collection by farmers and back-checking data by researchers was conducted. Distributing datasheets for the following month ensured continuation. Participatory feedback seminars aimed on evaluating performance-testing schemes established and on making performance testing results applicable for farmers. A project databank was set up using PigChamp (herd management software), selected farmers received training on its use. In the databank, pigs of each village are considered as one herd, allowing for analysis on animal, household, and village level.
As a result, on-farm performance testing by farmers was successfully implemented. Future activities aim on improving completeness/accuracy of data collection and detaching farmers' participation from compensations. This contribution presents the performance testing approach and preliminary evaluation results and describes the organisational structures established.
Keywords: Local pig breed, on-farm performance testing, Vietnam, village breeding program