Overview Objectives

This project aims to improve profitability of large ruminant production by smallholders, through adoption of well known disease control and husbandry practises. It has these objectives:
1. to confirm current knowledge of disease limitations to large ruminant production;
2. to implement, test and demonstrate the value of interventions preventing key diseases, preventing introduction of diseases and managing reproduction;
3. to assess attitudes of farmers in targeted communities to health, husbandry and market issues;
4. to improve knowledge of the cattle supply chain and key drivers for change in the targeted communities.

Project Background and Objectives

Cambodia has around 3.2 million cattle and 0.7 million buffalo. Almost 80% of the land is lowland and still ploughed by draft animals, which are increasingly paired castrated oxen rather than buffalo. New opportunities for livestock sale are opening up as the market for meat grows rapidly in Southeast Asia, especially from neighbouring countries such as Vietnam.

Small village producers own the majority of large ruminant livestock in Cambodia, and up to 25% of cattle are currently exported. There is an opportunity to increase cattle production and address rural poverty. However production income is limited by common diseases such as haemorrhagic septicaemia, foot-and-mouth disease, blackleg and parasites plus poor nutritional, breeding and general husbandry and livestock management practices.

Progress Reports (Year 1, 2, 3 etc)

At the commencement of the project in August 2007, three interview teams conducted farmer attitude surveys by interviewing 90 households involving 6 households in 5 villages per province, in the provinces of Kampong Cham, Takeo and Kandal. The farmer attitude survey confirmed the major knowledge gaps, tested the level of cooperation of stakeholders in the potential project sites, assisted in project site selection and provided a basis for discussion at the project implementation workshop of interventions desired by producers from the project.

The project implementation workshop was held in Phnom Penh in September 2007 and was attended by 60 registered participants on day one and 64 on day two. On the second day there were also an additional six senior ministry officials accompanying the Minister of Agriculture for the closing ceremony, confirming the high profile achieved by this activity in Cambodia.

It was agreed that the workshop had successfully promoted the project to senior provincial officers throughout the country and engaged the intended project participants in a deeper understanding of the project objectives, activities and milestones. The breakout group sessions during the workshop greatly assisted the Australian attendees to relate the project implementation plan into the scheduled activities. The clearer definition of skills development and training needs plus student projects was a particularly valuable activity at this stage of project implementation.

Additional outcomes from the workshop were:
A need for additional input in animal health, particular for vaccination for Haemorrhagic Septicaemia, improved FMD diagnosis and control, fasciolosis control in cattle and toxocariasis control in calves.

Recognition of significant inbreeding problems and a widespread demand for improved genetics to solve the problem. However other knowledge-based production interventions such as improved approaches to reproduction address more fundamental limiting factors and is likely to deliver a more rapid return.

Planning and implementation of growing forages and improved feeding strategies to provide large ruminant farmers with skills and resources to improve year round nutrition is a priority.

The implementation workshop was followed up with several information and training workshops for project staff and village participants at selected project sites in February and March 2008.

Field activities for the longitudinal three year survey commenced in late 2007 with selection, inspection and cattle inventory data collection for the six project sites. The high intervention sites are Preak Por in Kandal province, Sen Son Tbong in Kampong Cham and Nor Mo in Takeo. The low intervention sites are Koh Kor in Kandal province, Veal in Kampong Cham and Dem Kdiet in Takeo province.

The first set of quarterly annual animal health and production data was collected and recorded from each of the six sites between March and May 2008.

During a field trip in February 2008 it was identified that forage growing is the preferred option to improve large ruminant nutrition as having access to forage material close to the home will save a considerable amount of labour. Urea treatment of rice straw was also considered but numerous aid projects had shown poor adoption of this practice due to expense and labour involved. Forage growing at various project sites will also provide collaboration opportunities with the ACIAR forage project team and initial meetings with CIAT and other project staff have been held.

Planning and training of farmers and staff involved for the forage growing trial is underway and planting of five varieties of forages has commenced involving 4-7 demonstration households in the three high intervention sites. In addition eight varieties of forages are being trialed at three provincial demonstration sites and at the national cattle breeding station in Phnom Tamao to assist in practical staff training.

Planning and preparation for the first of three farmer knowledge surveys that will be implemented in June 2008 is being finalized.

Designing and implementation of a survey of trader knowledge and attitudes to improving cattle marketing has commenced. Meetings with 20-35 traders and slaughterhouse personnel were held in February 2008 in Kampong Cham, Takeo, Kandal and Kampot provinces. Information gathered at these meetings is being used to develop a survey protocol of traders. The survey will examine priority strategies to assist marketing of cattle.

An Australian PhD student supported by the project and an Australian Biosecurity CRC scholarship commenced in Cambodia in October 2007, with plans to relocate to Laos in early 2009. The proposed thesis is ’ Strengthening Veterinary Services through Better Integration of Institutional and Smallholder Approaches to Cattle Health in Cambodia and Laos’, and will be conducted mostly within the project.

Three staff members from the royal academy of Cambodia have been appointed to complete research projects in collaboration with this project in the area of FMD serology-surveillance, effectiveness of HS vaccination and impact of nutrition on reproductive performance in cattle.

A Sydney University honours student is assessing the smallholder farmer attitudes to improving cattle health and productivity in Lao and Cambodia for his honours thesis.

As the project completes its second year, interventions in cattle nutrition, health & husbandry management and marketing have commenced at the six project villages in Kandal, Kampong Cham and Takeo provinces. Staff of the Cambodian Department of Animal Health and Production (DAHP), are working closely with smallholder farmers and the participatory approach is proving successful, with methodologies accepted and implemented by participating farmers. Some farmers are already benefiting from improved cattle productivity through increased household income and savings of labour time.
Current knowledge of disease limitations to cattle production has been enhanced (Objective 1) through analysis of reports submitted by provincial DAHP offices in 2008. Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Haemorrhagic Septicaemia (HS) occurred frequently (endemic) and Anthrax and Blackleg occurring sporadically in Cambodia. Analysis of faecal samples from cattle at the six project villages, confirmed a high prevalence of Fasciolosis (liver fluke) in the 2 project villages in Kandal. Paramphistome stomach fluke were noted at all six project sites and tests for Brucellosis were negative from all project villages.
Implementation, testing and demonstrating the value of interventions (Objective 2) involves comparing production data from the three ‘high intervention’ with the three ‘low intervention’ villages (one of each in each of the three provinces). A minimum of interventions are introduced in ‘low intervention’ villages and a larger number introduced into ‘high intervention’ villages. This enables analysis of both ‘before and after’ impacts on large ruminant production and the ‘normal’ change that occurs in large ruminant productivity through the duration of the project. The interventions have progressed as follows:
HS vaccination of cattle has been completed at all of the six project villages in June-July 2008 and April-May 2009, with FMD vaccination in October 2008.
52 forage plots have been established in the three ‘high intervention’ project villages in September 2008 and more farmers at these sites are interested in establishing forages during the next season (May-June 2009).
Demonstration forage plots were established at two DAHP district offices in Kampong Cham and Takeo for staff and farmer training and a national demonstration forage site was established at the Phnom Tamao cattle breeding station in Takeo province to conduct research on forage cultivation, management and harvesting techniques (plus produce forage seedlings).
A farmer training program of 4 modules, each involving four 3-hour sessions on cattle disease (infectious and parasitic disease prevention and control), nutrition, husbandry and reproduction commenced in January 2009 at the three ‘high intervention’ villages.
The value of these interventions will be determined by comparison of production data collected several times per year at the six project sites. Data collections occurred in June-July & October 2008 and April-May 2009.
The attitudes and knowledge of farmers in targeted communities to health husbandry and marketing (Objective 3) were assessed August 2008 in the first of three farmer knowledge surveys and identified that farmers had limited knowledge of cattle production. This knowledge gap is being addressed by a farmer education/extension program delivered by the Cambodian DAHP project team.
To improve the knowledge of the cattle supply chain and key drivers for change in the targeted communities (Objective 4), a survey questionnaire of trader practices and attitudes has been designed and translated, and will be implemented during 2009.
The Cambodian project team attended a half day workshop in cattle nutrition in September 2008 and a 2-day workshop in animal health in December 2008. Three staff members commenced English school at the Mekong University, Phnom Penh in July 2008, four University of Sydney (UoS) students participated in the project and three PhD students at the Royal Academy of Cambodia commenced data collections and field investigations for projects in the areas of ruminant nutrition, FMD and HS. The UoS research projects include:
A BAVBiosc(Hons) thesis: ‘Assessment of the spatial and temporal trends in smallholder cattle production across Northern Laos and Southern Cambodia’ is in preparation for publication in a scientific journal.
Two BVSc students completed projects on liver fluke and blood parasite prevalence respectively in September 2008 and April-May 2009.
A PhD student thesis entitled: ‘Strengthening veterinary services through better integration of institutional and smallholder approaches to cattle health in Cambodia’ is continuing.
Collaboration with other development activities are being fostered, with members of our project joining a ‘learning alliance’ to unite professionals working in large ruminant production research and development in Cambodia (the group will meet twice per annum). Representatives from other projects involved in large ruminant production issues will be participating at the annual project meeting in July 2009.

This project is completing its third year of implementation and is researching methods to improve cattle productivity by trialling interventions in the areas of nutrition, animal health, reproduction & husbandry management and marketing. The project works in six villages in Kandal, Kampong Cham and Takeo provinces where 250 cattle belonging to an average of 100 households in each village have been enrolled in the project. Staff members of the Cambodian Department of Animal Health and Production (DAHP) work closely with smallholder farmers owning these cattle. The participatory approach was chosen to ensure that the methods researched can be implemented by local farmers and are accepted by them, providing them with an opportunity to increase their household income. Proven successful methods can eventually be adopted by other projects and in other districts and provinces.
The Agricultural Extension Department is collaborating to ensure project outcomes and impacts are reaching an audience outside the immediate stakeholders including government staff in other provinces and the general public.
International experts in different fields of large ruminant production are contributing to the project. They are based with University of Sydney, CIAT and private consultants.
From 1 June 2009 to 31 May 2010 following progress towards the project objectives were achieved:
Implement test and demonstrate the value of interventions aimed at increasing cattle production (Objective 2)
Disease preventions/management:
HS and FMD vaccination of cattle continues annually in all six project villages. No reports of HS or FMD outbreaks in the project villages during the year have occurred.
Liver fluke (Fasciola gigantica) and stomach fluke (Paramphistome spp.) have been treated in the villages where they were identified through targeted surveillance.
HS and FMD vaccination of cattle continues annually in all six project villages. No reports of HS or FMD outbreaks in the project villages during the year have occurred.
Liver fluke (Fasciola gigantica) and stomach fluke (Paramphistome spp.) have been treated in the villages where they were identified through targeted surveillance.
Better cattle nutrition:
Forage plot establishment expanded from 52 plots to 413 plots in the project villages covering areas of around 80,000m2 in Takeo, 30,000 m2 in Kandal and 95,000 m2 in Kampong Cham province project villages. Forage planting has been adopted by neighbouring villages and districts (20 provinces and 4 municipalities).
Forage conservation (bag silage) is being trialled at the government owned ‘Phnom Tameo’ breeding station in Takeo province where demonstration forage sites have been established by the project. 1500 kg of bag silage was prepared in Oct 2009.
A small feeding trial to measure growth rates of cattle involving 6 animals has been set up at the ‘Phnom Tameo’ in October 2009.
Assess the attitudes and knowledge of farmers in targeted communities to health, husbandry and market issues, and communicate project outcomes to large ruminant stakeholders in target areas (Objective 3)
The knowledge gap of farmers in cattle production topics that was identified through the first farmer knowledge survey in 2008, continued to be addressed by a farmer education/extension program in large ruminant production. The final 2 of 4 modules of the farmer training program developed the previous year by the Cambodian project team was delivered by the project staff in the three high intervention villages in April & May 2010.
Project updates have been communicated to various stakeholders (including national and provincial level DAHP, other project and OIE staff) at the ‘learning alliance meetings’ held in June 2009 and March 2010 and at the annual project meeting in July 2009.
The nutrition interventions (forage establishment for cattle nutrition) have received recognition at higher levels of the Ministry of Agriculture who requested that government staff outside the project be trained. 3 forage training workshops were conducted in April-May 2010 and attended by 434 Village Animal Health Workers (VAHW) from Takeo and Kampong Cham provinces. The Minister of Agriculture presided over one of the training courses in May 2010 in Takeo.
Four study visits on forage plantation were organized for villagers, VAHW, district and provincial officers, students and NGO staff from out side the project target areas. The Minister of Agriculture accompanied by senior officers of MAFF, leaders of the Department of Agriculture, provincial and local governors attended one study visit in Kampong Cham in May 2010.
Improve the knowledge of the cattle supply chain and key drivers for change in the targeted communities (Objective 4)
A trader survey was completed in September 2009. 52 traders working in the project provinces as well as the Phnom Penh municipality were interviewed. Results are being collated and used to develop marketing interventions at a workshop scheduled for June 2010.
Capacity building
The workshop series in large ruminant production topics developed for a parallel project in Laos (AH 2006/159) has been adapted for Cambodian project staff. A 3-day large ruminant nutrition workshop was held in September 2009 and a 3-day large ruminant reproduction workshop was held in March 2010. Both workshops were attended by 20-25 DAHP staff and project staff involved in other large ruminant projects.
An application for funding from the AusAid Australian Leadership Award fellowship program by UoS was successful. The program is titled ‘Strengthening Animal Health and Production Capacities, Cambodia and Lao PDR’ and will provide the Cambodian project leader with studies in the Leadership and Project Management units in the UoS Veterinary Public Health Management program and visits to leading animal health and government institutions in Australia.
Three PhD students from the royal academy of Cambodia continued their projects in the areas of ruminant nutrition, FMD and HS.
Collaboration with other development activities are being fostered, with members of our project joining a ‘learning alliance’ to unite professionals working in large ruminant production research and development in Cambodia (the group is meeting twice per annum). The ACIAR project team hosted a 2 day learning alliance meeting in March 2010 and members of the learning alliance were invited to the nutrition workshop in September 2009.

This project, which is researching methods to improve cattle productivity by trialling interventions in the areas of nutrition, animal health, reproduction & husbandry management and marketing has completed its fourth year of implementation. Approval for the project to be extended by 12 months until 1 July 2012 has been received, enabling the momentum the project gained over the last 12 months to progress. The extension will focus particularly on researching biosecurity, nutrition for better production, marketing and reproduction management interventions as well as knowledge, attitude and practices assessments of participating smallholder farmers both in the high (HI) and low (LI) intervention villages.
The central Cambodian project team of DAHP staff continues to work with the farmers in six villages in Kandal, Kampong Cham and Takeo provinces where 250 cattle belonging to an average of 100 households in each village were initially enrolled.
Closer collaboration with the two other ACIAR projects working with cattle in Cambodia (AH 2003/008 and AH 2006/025) occurred over the last 12 months, culminating in a joint workshop in Phnom Penh in June 2011, with each project presenting research outcomes of their projects. The aim is to produce two joint project publications, including an ACIAR monograph of the outcomes from the 3 cattle projects, and a manual on cattle production in Khmer, for use by district and provincial officers and village veterinary workers as an extension resource.
From 1 June 2010 to 30 June 2011, the following progress towards the project objectives was achieved:
Implement test and demonstrate the value of interventions aimed at increasing cattle production (Objective 2)
Disease preventions/management:
HS and FMD vaccination of cattle continues annually in all six project villages. No cases of HS were reported in any of the HI project villages.
Between July and December 2010, FMD occurred in the LI village in Kampong Cham province, with about 20% of cattle affected. Vaccination for FMD was done by project staff during February 2010 and most FMD affected cattle were recently introduced unvaccinated animals. This instance reflects the importance of FMD vaccination but probably also reflects the lack of knowledge on biosecurity (risk management) of farmers in LI villages who have not yet been exposed to training by local extension staff.
Better cattle nutrition:
Forage plot establishment continued to expand in the HI project villages and during the last 13 months increased from 80,000m2 to 141,000m2 involving 421 households in Takeo, from 10,000m2 to 20,450m2 involving 29 households in Kandal and from 95,000m2 to 119,570m2 involving 140 households in Kampong Cham province project villages.
Forage plantings were also adopted by 185 households covering 63,580m2 in non-project villages.
A small feeding trial to measure growth rates of cattle involving 6 animals was conducted at the ‘Phnom Tameo’ breeding station and showed that the 12 month old trial steers gained 2.125 kg/week on forages versus 1kg/week free grazing.
Cattle in the high intervention project sites achieved higher weight gains over the 3-year study period indicating that interventions result in better growth rates
Assess the attitudes and knowledge of farmers in targeted communities to health, husbandry and market issues, and communicate project outcomes to large ruminant stakeholders in target areas (Objective 3)
A second farmer knowledge survey was conducted in October 2010 and showed a significant increase in farmer knowledge since the first survey in 2008 in the HI villages; whereas the farmer knowledge remained about the same in the LI villages. The average knowledge scores were 9.5 and 9.0 in 2008 in the LI and HI villages respectively compared to 11.9 and 28.4 in the LI and HI villages in 2010. These results indicate that the project’s training methods consisting of (a) formal farmer training, (b) on the job training and (c) training by project team’s regular visits was successful in addressing knowledge gaps. However the second survey also indicated that there are still areas (i.e. internal parasites) where farmer knowledge remains low.
Improve the knowledge of the cattle supply chain and key drivers for change in the targeted communities (Objective 4)
The initial trader survey completed in September 2009 showed that traders assessed prices by assessing BCS and general appearance and that transportation and slaughter costs were considered impediments to trade by the traders. Traders wanted to see the establishment of three main markets to help overcome the price differentials they received for meat sold versus the price they paid for livestock. These markets are a domestic market; a market on the Cambodian- Vietnamese border, and a market for skins.
A workshop attended by trader sand farmers was held at Tameo Breeding Station in June 2010. Farmers and traders visually assessed animals to estimate both body weight and BCS. Electronic scales were then used to determine the actual weight and comparison was made to a girth tape weight. In some cases the trader’s estimates was only marginally out (3 - 4 percent) but in other cases the trader underestimated the weight of the animals by as much as 24 percent. The flow on implications of this error may translate to a potential loss of income for the farmer (or gain if the trader overestimates the weight). Overall lighter animals resulted in a higher variance between the estimated and actual weights.
Capacity building
The workshop series on large ruminant health and production topics developed for a parallel project in Laos (AH 2006/159) has been adapted for Cambodian project staff. A 3-day large biosecurity workshop was held in December 2010 attended by 20-25 DAHP staff and project staff involved in other large ruminant projects. This was supported by the Crawford Fund.
The AusAid Australian Leadership Award fellowship program “ ‘Strengthening Animal Health and Production Capacities, Cambodia and Lao PDR” granted in 2009, enabled the Cambodian project leader to attend a leadership and management residential as part of the UoS VPHMgt program, plus visit various institutions involved in cattle production. The visits included dairy, export slaughter house and feedlot, veterinary faculties and laboratories and occurred in February 2011.
Three PhD students from the Royal Academy of Cambodia finalised their projects in the areas of ruminant nutrition, FMD and HS. Tragically, Mr Eang Savoeun, the student who had worked on HS, died unexpectedly shortly after completion of his thesis in June 2011.

Project ID
AH/2005/086
Project Country
Inactive project countries
Commissioned Organisation
University of Sydney, Australia
Project Leader
Professor Peter Andrew Windsor
Email
pwindsor@sydney.edu.au
Phone
02 9351 1710
Fax
02 9351 1618
Collaborating Institutions
Charles Sturt University, Australia
International Center for Tropical Agriculture, Laos
Department of Animal Health and Production, Cambodia
Agricultural Extension Department, Cambodia
Tristan Jubb Veterinary Consulting, Australia
Royal Academy of Cambodia, Cambodia
Project Budget
$964,513.00
Start Date
01/06/2007
Finish Date
31/05/2011
Extension Start Date
01/07/2012
Extension Finish Date
31/12/2012
ACIAR Research Program Manager
Dr Mike Nunn