Agriculture and Human Values 22 (1):73-85 (2005)

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
Keywords On-farm research  Participatory technology development  Pig production  Scaling up  Silage  Situation analysis  Sweetpotato  Vietnam
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DOI 10.1007/s10460-004-7232-1
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