Feed Resources for Animals in Asia: Issues, Strategies for Use, Intensification and Integration for Increased Productivity

  • Devendra, C. (Consulting Tropical Animal Production Systems) ;
  • Leng, R.A. (University of New England)
  • Published : 2011.03.01


The availability and efficient use of the feed resources in Asia are the primary drivers of performance to maximise productivity from animals. Feed security is fundamental to the management, extent of use, conservation and intensification for productivity enhancement. The awesome reality is that current supplies of animal proteins are inadequate to meet human requirements in the face of rapidly depleting resources: arable land, water, fossil fuels, nitrogenous and other fertilisers, and decreased supplies of cereal grains. The contribution of the ruminant sector lags well behind that of non-ruminant pigs and poultry. It is compelling therefore to shift priority for the development of ruminants (buffaloes, cattle, goats and sheep) in key agro-ecological zones (AEZs), making intensive use of the available biomass from the forage resources, crop residues, agro-industrial by-products (AIBP) and other non-conventional feed resources (NCFR). Definitions are given of successful and failed projects on feed resource use. These were used to analyse 12 case studies, which indicated the value of strong participatory efforts with farmers, empowerment, and the benefits from animals of productivity-enhancing technologies and integrated natural resource management (NRM). However, wider replication and scaling up were inadequate in project formulation, including systems methodologies that promoted technology adoption. There was overwhelming emphasis on component technology applications that were duplicated across countries, often wasteful, the results and relevance of which were not clear. Technology delivery via the traditional model of research-extension linkage was also inadequate, and needs to be expanded to participatory research-extension-farmer linkages to accelerate diffusion of technologies, wider adoption and impacts. Other major limitations concerned with feed resource use are failure to view this issue from a farming systems perspective, strong disciplinary bias, and poor links to real farm situations. It is suggested that improved efficiency in feed resource use and increased productivity from animals in the future needs to be cognisant of nine strategies. These include priorities for feed resource use; promoting intensive use of crop residues; intensification of integrated ruminant-oil palm systems and use of oil palm by-products; priority for urgent, wider technology application, adoption and scaling up; rigorous application of systems methodologies; development of adaptation and mitigation options for the effects of climate change on feed resources; strengthening research-extension-farmer linkages; development of year round feeding systems; and striving for sustainability of integrated farming systems. These strategies together form the challenges for the future.


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