A participatory, farming systems approach to improving Bali cattle production in the smallholder crop-livestock systems of Eastern Indonesia
Bali cattle (Bos javanicus) account for about one quarter of the total cattle population in Indonesia and are particularly important in the smallholder farming enterprises of the eastern islands. The population of Bali cattle is declining in most areas of Eastern Indonesia because demand for beef cattle exceeds the local capacity to supply these animals. Indonesian agencies recognise that new strategies are required to improve the productivity of Bali cattle and to address major constraints relating to animal husbandry and nutrition. To date, the adoption of cattle improvement technologies has been historically slow in Indonesia, as is the case elsewhere. This paper reports on key findings from a long-term study conducted between 2001 and 2009 with smallholder households from six villages in South Sulawesi and Central Lombok, to develop and test an approach for evaluating and increasing the adoption of cattle and forage improvement technologies. The approach is based on the principles of farming systems and participatory research and involved four main steps; (1) benchmarking the current farming system; (2) identifying constraints to cattle production and strategies to address them; (3) desktop modelling of the production and economic impacts of selected strategies; and (4) on-farm testing of the most promising strategies with 30 participant smallholder households. The approach was found to be successful based on: (1) sustained adoption of a package of best-bet technologies by the 30 participating households; (2) evidence of positive production, social and economic impacts; and (3) significant diffusion of the cattle improvement technologies to other households in the project regions.
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