Gender-inclusive feed and forage interventions to boost livestock productivity in Northwest Vietnam

Share this to :

Despite ongoing efforts to prioritize livestock development to enhance productivity and improve livelihoods in Son La Province, northwest Vietnam, challenges of feed and forage quality and availability remain key concerns for farmers and livestock sector stakeholders in the province.

These are among the findings of a recent study on gender-inclusive feed and forage interventions that examined feed sources availability and utilization using a gender-inclusive approach.

Researchers from the National Institute of Animal Sciences (NIAS), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT (the Alliance), working under the CGIAR Initiative on Sustainable Animal Productivity (SAPLING), sampled four villages of Hat Lot and Co Noi communes, Mai Son District, Son La Province.

Using the Gendered Feed Assessment Tool, they gather gender-disaggregated data from 16 focus group discussions (8 with women and 8 with men) and 49 key informant interviews (23 with women and 26 with men).

‘We found that winter feed shortage is a critical challenge for farmers in the province, which is compounded by the low yield and nutritive value of local forage varieties, mostly Napier grass during this period,’ said Tran Thi Bich Ngoc, head, NIAS’ Animal Nutrition Department.

‘Moreover, farmers’ dependence on crop residues such as rice bran, banana trunks, and sugarcane tops means that livestock diet is of generally of poor quality.’

Gender dynamics were evident in activities related to feed production and management. While men were primarily involved in land preparation, planting, and purchasing, women undertook tasks like cleaning feeding points and watering, highlighting the need for gender-responsive interventions within agricultural systems.

Without such interventions, there is a risk of maintaining gender inequalities by undervaluing and overlooking the contributions of women in aspects of feed production.

Addressing these disparities is essential for promoting equity and ensuring that women’s roles and contributions are recognized and valued within agricultural practices.

The study identified several entry points for feed intervention strategies including capacity development for both women and men farmers, extension agents, and veterinary staff on feed utilization, conservation, diet formulation, and feeding methods.

Additionally, promoting improved forage varieties suitable to local conditions will enhance livestock productivity, and strengthening links with input and output markets can incentivize adoption and fostering of inclusive market participation by women and men farmers.

The findings will not only inform policy and interventions in Son La Province but also contribute to Vietnam’s agenda for gender-inclusive agricultural development.

‘This study underscores the need to understand and address gender elements in agricultural interventions, particularly in livestock feed management,’ said Phuong Nguyen, gender research associate, ILRI.

‘Gender-inclusive approaches can be used by stakeholders to tailor interventions to the diverse needs of women and men farmers, ultimately contributing to more resilient and sustainable food systems.’

SAPLING is one of 32 CGIAR initiatives designed to achieve a world with sustainable and resilient food, land and water systems to deliver more diverse, healthy, safe, sufficient and affordable diets; and ensure improved livelihoods and greater social equality, within planetary and regional environmental boundaries. In Vietnam, one of its seven focus countries (others are Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Nepal, Tanzania and Uganda), the initiative is coordinated by ILRI and Alliance.

Read more on SAPLING’s gender-integrated interventions in Vietnam: https://hdl.handle.net/10568/134570; https://hdl.handle.net/10568/135707

Photo: A Thai ethnic woman in Mai Son District, Son La Province, Vietnam grows new grass variety. (ILRI/Chi Nguyen)

Share this to :