Livestock manure management and use by smallholder farmers, an assessment in Battambang province in Cambodia
Céline Keiser, Nancy Bourgeois, Alessandra Giuliani, Erica Chiajui Wu
Bern University of Applied Sciences, School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (HAFL), Switzerland
In Cambodia, soil depletion presents a serious threat for the agricultural production. Livestock manure can contribute with its organic content to a better soil fertility. However, not much is known about the manure management practices in Cambodia. Therefore the aim of the study is to generate basic knowledge about the farmers practices regarding farmyard manure management, including collection, storage and processing practices and the final use of the manure. Focus is laid on the management of cattle and chicken manure. In addition, some information was collected regarding pig manure. To gather data, a survey involving 68 semi-structured household interviews and seven key informant interviews were conducted. The target households and key informants were selected in six different villages in two communes in the district of Rottanak Mondol in Battambang province, located in the north-western part of Cambodia. To select the interviewed households, a non-random purposive multistage sampling was applied. The study was imbedded in a project about conservation agriculutre, which is implemented by the Swiss NGO Swisscontact in cooperation with the National University of Battambang (NUBB). The main results show that the majority of the respondents collects the cattle and chicken manure and stores it on simple heaps. The manure is stored on natural floor and not protected from weathering. Generally, the manure is not processed, only a small number of farmers did burn the manure and very few sold the manure to traders or cash crop producers. Around 70 % of the interviewed households apply the cattle manure on their own crops (mainly rice and cassava). For chicken manure it was 83 % of the chicken keeping households and chicken manure was used mainly in the home garden. Main reasons for not using the manure are time consuming and hard work needed to collect, transport and apply the manure compared to the easy application of chemical fertiliser. Secondly, some respondents were complaining about more weeds growing in the field after applying manure. Especially storage and processing practices have potential for improvement. By for example protecting the storage sites from weathering with a simple roof the loss of nutrients could be reduced. Furthermore, composting of manure would diminish its volume and make the transport and application easier. By improving the present practices some of the problems mentioned by the respondents as reasons for not applying manure on their crops would already be solved.
Keywords: Cambodia, cattle manure, chicken manure, livestock waste management, soil fertility, Southeast Asia
Contact Address: Céline Keiser, Bern University of Applied Sciences, School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (HAFL), Bern, Switzerland, e-mail: celine.serhotmail.ch