A project proposal for FAO managed development assistance - "Sustainable Commercial Animal production from Pastures in South Pacific Farming Systems (SCAPP)

D.C. Macfarlane

INTRODUCTION

National Development Plans of the Governments of the South Pacific region consistently state as major objectives the need to achieve sustainable rural economic development, improved food security and self-sufficiency in livestock products.

Development assistance and national interventions designed to achieve improved and sustained production and economic efficiency of livestock enterprises within the range of farming systems are likely to make a significant contribution towards the achievement of the above broad Regional South Pacific Government goals.

Since approximately 1985 a number of highly successful national livestock development assistance activities have been completed in the region - the EEC funded Smallholder Cattle Development and Marketing Project and the AusAID funded Pasture Improvement Projects in Vanuatu, UNDP/FAO and FAO/Government of Western Samoa funded projects devoted to Pasture and Cattle Development (SAM/86/003 and SAM/95/001) and the FAO South Pacific Regional Pasture Improvement Training Project (TCP/RAS/4451).

These projects have all been characterised by their integration within existing institutions, both government and non-government, their focal linkages with commercial smallholders and their livestock/mixed cropping farming systems and their quantifiable contribution to national capability to sustainably deliver livestock extension and development support and capacity of farmers to adopt proven technology. These projects have achieved their output targets cost-effectively and their achievements stand in stark contrast to the large, socio-culturally insensitive and poorly designed livestock development projects of the 60s to early 80s which met with only limited success at great expense. Past poorly performing interventions of up to 30 years ago still contribute, unjustifiably in the 1990s, to some national, regional and international attitudes remaining negative towards any form of livestock within farming systems improvement.

During the course of the highly successful FAO Project TCP/RAS/4451 from May 1994 to December 1995 Governments and NGOs and their respective Livestock extensionists along with smallholder and plantation livestock farmers and managers, farmer organisations, national agricultural training institutions, national development banks, local agricultural consultants, environment groups, womens' groups and womens' agricultural extension services, donor funded natural resource sector projects, two large joint-venture national re-afforestation and timber harvesting corporations and agribusinness have called for a continuation and intensification of training, extension support and livestock development assistance support.

As the 1995 FAO Regional Pasture Improvement Workshop has pointed out the challenge is to more effectively promote recent significant achievements from the new style projects of the last 10 years in Vanuatu and Western Samoa and to convince national governments and donors of the positive socio-economic, environmental, human nutritional and trade and commercial benefits likely to accrue from a targeted, cost-effective level of assistance to traditionally neglected South Pacific Livestock subsectors.

REGIONAL BACKGROUND AND POTENTIAL FOR SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION

The total population / number of rural households in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu and Western Samoa is approximately 800 000/95 000, 4 million/550 000, 400 000/50 000, 97 000/14 500, 160 000/22 000 and 160 000/15 000 respectively. Regionally 440 022 households raise pigs (58.7%), 300 000 raise poultry (40%), 35 000 raise goats (4.7%), 3250 raise sheep (0.4%), 66 000 raise cattle (8.8%). In PNG 8659 households raise cattle yet livestock specialists estimate only 620 smallholdings are found. In Vanuatu 10 500 rural households raise cattle but these are aggregated into approximately 3000 discrete smallholdings. The number of cattle smallholdings is thus approximately 48 000.

The distribution of livestock ownership by households, smallholdings and largeholdings or plantations is shown in Table 1. Fiji has the highest number of households/smallholdings owning beef and dairy cattle and goats. PNG has the highest number of pig, chicken and sheep owning households and Fiji and Vanuatu have the most cattle holdings with more than 50-100 head.

Table 1. Households, smallholdings and largeholdings owning livestock in the South Pacific

 

Holdings

 

H/holds

 

Households Small

Households Large

Holdings

 

Country

Pigs

Chickens

Goats

Sheep

Cattle

Cattle

Cattle

Total

Fiji

15000

65000

24000

100#

1825

42700

150

95000

PNG

344713

155450

9642

3148

8659

620

30

550000

SOLOMONS

35000

35000

100

0

300

300

20

50000

TONGA

10451

9771

1000

0

1700

1700

7

14366

VANUATU

22000

20000

3000

3

10500

3000

120/200*+30

22500

W. SAMOA

12858

13323

20

0

2330

2300

30

15500

Totals

440022

298544

37762

3251

65998

47950

390

747500

 

 

Notes -

# - expected number with partial dispersal of Nawaicoba cull ewe flock, 25% annual increase expected.

* - 120 of the former registered pre-independence plantations in Vanuatu raise from 100 -12000 head, averaging c. 660 per plantation and c. 30 local smallholders would raise in excess of 100 head (Chief Robert at Wasayolo on Santo has 600 head). Sources:Most recent country census and smallholder survey figures; PNG - Banguinan et al., 1995; Solomons - Wate (1995), MAF internal reports.

NB: a largeholding for countries other than PNG has more than 100 head of cattle, in PNG - 400 head.

Thus it is assumed that 60-70% of all rural households raise livestock, both non-ruminant and ruminant, which would benefit from high quality forages as either the principal component of ruminant diets or as a protein rich supplement to traditionally protein deficient, energy rich non-ruminant village diets i.e. 66 000 households raising pigs and 45 000 households raising chickens (rarely mutually exclusive).

Easily grown, high quality forage legumes have the potential to significantly improve non-ruminant animal production providing direct human nutritional and disposable cash benefits for family members. It is assumed a 10%/15% level of adoption of proven legume dietary supplementation is achievable over a 10/15 year period.

Proven regional technologies exist whereby animal production per hectare at ecologically optimum stocking rates from: a) introduced grass pastures can be improved by 25-75% by incorporating a persistent 20-30% legume component; or b) native grasslands in the under 2000 mm rainfall isohyet can be increased 3 or 4 fold by establishing the best adapted improved grass/legume suite; or c) native pastures in the >2000mm isohyet zones can be at least doubled by replacing, using a range of mechanical and manual approaches with adapted, improved grass/legumes and from d) any weedy pasture can be increased by up to 300% by adopting proven weed management systems. In some cases the realisation of this potential will be dependent upon correcting critical soil nutrient deficiencies and providing animal mineral, energy and sometimes protein supplementation depending on the edaphic environment and levels of production sought.

Currently, as described by Macfarlane (1996a) in the proposed project participating countries listed in Table 1, 678 000 beef cattle, 29 000 dairy cattle, 26 000 sheep and 233 000 goats graze 650 000 ha of open pastures, 133 000 ha under coconuts, and 14 000 ha under native, mainly regrowth forests as in Vanuatu, or replanted forests. Approximately 440 000 ha of land under coconuts is under-utilised, neither used for silvopastoral nor agrisilvicultural activities. Current regional copra production is approximately 300 000 tonnes per annum. Regionally approximately 1.4 million ha is devoted to grazing and coconuts while approximately 40 million ha of land is classified as forested by FAO (1988). Little forest remains in Tonga, Western Samoa and large areas of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu have been completely deforested, often prior to European contact.

Table 2 covering potential pasture resources illustrates that there is ample scope for these countries to reach and exceed self-sufficiency in beef by re-habilitating existing grazing resources and underutilised coconut lands, thus relieving historical pressure on native forests. There is growing customary landowner pressure in Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands for, and regional re-afforestation/logging corporation interest in, grazing with forestry for reasons of fire control and earlier income generation. There is significant potential in the future for feedlotting using molasses, palm and palm kernel cake and copra meal in PNG given proximity of cattle breeding centres and processing plants.

 

These estimates of potential improved and native pasture areas are based on the detailed experiences of TCP/RAS/4451, the implementation of the proposed project, which, with institutional and private sector collaboration, would demonstrate solutions to current production and marketing related constraints, and, the assumption that a critical minimum level of post-project institutional support and positive marketing environments are maintained.

The rates of pasture establishment over the 10-20 year periods for each country to reach self-sufficiency and then, optimum land use determined industry scale, are achievable given a range of available, affordable, mechanical and manual pasture planting technologies and reliable supplies of quality seed, ideally with as much legume seed as possible produced locally. The animal unit stocking rates used in calculations are proven for respective open and shaded grazing systems and have been regionally validated during TCP/RAS/4451 follow-up missions in 1995 and reported in Macfarlane (1996b).

An increase in the regional grazing resource area of c. 350 000 ha from additional native grasslands in PNG and rehabilitated native pastures under coconuts, an additional 200 000 ha of legume oversowing of native grasslands, an additional 240 000 ha of improved grass/legumes, and 116 000 ha of legumes into existing improved grasses will achieve country beef self-sufficiency (valued at US$ 28M/yr) with some surplus beef for substitution or export. Gains in milk self-sufficiency (Fiji to 65%, Tonga to 20% and Western Samoa 100%) valued at US$ 7M) and Fijian sheep meat self-sufficiency of 10% are achievable (Macfarlane, 1996b).

Table 2. Potential pasture resources in 2015 following SCAPP Project and sustainable post-project sustainable livestock services.

 

Improved pasture types

   

native pastures

       

Country

nat. Grsld ovsown leg

exist & new .imp. grs + leg

Legume exist imprvd grsld

Legumes cash crops garden, pigs poultry

legumes in forestry

 

<2000mm rain

>2000mm rain

Fiji

89500

103500

6200

1000

10000

 

74500

21500

PNG

114000

56500

40000

11000

10000

 

270000

15000

Solomons

5000

10000

5000

1000

5000

 

2000

5000

Vanuatu

5000

65000

30000

500

2000

 

3000

25000

Tonga

-

2900

4500

150

100

 

-

500

W. Samoa

-

6000

30000

150

-

 

-

5000

Totals

213500

253920

115700

13800

27100

 

349500

72000

Sources: Macfarlane (1996b) - SCAPP Country Project Design Documents; Vanuatu - Skea et al., (1993) and Macfarlane (1993).

The expansion of the current 90,000 ha Vanuatu grazing resource with an estimated additional 38,000 ha of improved pastures is primarily limited by current low prices not lack of technology awareness and skill at all levels although refresher training of livestock extensionists would assist the process, particularly with respect of new smallholders. Project activities in Western Samoa, whilst reinforcing previous FAO and existing AusAID outcomes, would not have a significant direct impact on expanded pasture areas apart from those devoted to dairying. The SCAPP Project clearly would be responsible for generating the critical mass of knowledge and skill upon which the large resource carrying capacity growth in PNG and Fiji and to a lesser extent Solomon Islands and Tonga would be based.

The SCAPP Project assumes over 20 years that 15% of households establish 1000 m2 of high quality legumes for non-ruminant forage, cover cropping in cash crops or for mulch, erosion control or weed control in gardesns. The project also assumes regionally, an additional 27,000 ha of forestry will adopt promoted pasture and grazing management technology for fire control, improved tree growth and supplementary livestock income.

The region's current annual value of major livestock product imports are beef (US$28M), sheep meat ($71M), milk and dairy products ($16M) and poultry ($4M). The current levels in tonnes of beef imports/current formal and informal beef and 2010 predicted production levels are: Fiji (1,197/3,600/5,700), PNG (10,000/2,400/7,084) with self-sufficiency attainable in 2015, Solomon Islands (270/350/764), Tonga (192/150/381) with maximum production of 450 tonnes after 22 years, Vanuatu (nil/3,700/6,600) and Western Samoa (864/820/2,400). Refer Macfarlane (1996a).

Fiji's formal dairy production (tonnes milk fat equivalents, MFEs) is predicted to rise from 1570 to 2400 tonnes by 2010, Tonga's from 12 to 24 and Western Samoa from nil to 52 tonnes MFEs/year as a result of FAO Project initiated assistance. Vanuatu's dairy industry will naturally expand and the development of PNG and Solomon dairy industries is still somewhat uncertain. These predicted livestock production outcomes are based on Table 2 grazing resources, fertilised if necessary (especially phosphorus and sulphur) with animals nutritionally supplemented if economic to do so.

DEVELOPMENT CONSTRAINTS TO BE OVERCOME

Improved and sustainable livestock development on smallholdings and plantations is constrained to varying degrees in respective countries (least in Vanuatu) by insufficient use of proven high yielding, quality and adapted grasses and legumes, proven systems of weed management, correct stocking rates for respective open and shaded grazing systems, insufficient attention to sound animal husbandry practice particularly bull replacement, castration, dehorning and heifer separation. This reflects insufficient farmer awareness and appropriate problem-solving skills and lack of competent, regular institutional and private sector extension, management and essential development services (physical and financial) support. Improved on-farm production is also variably constrained by low and discouraging livestock product prices (Vanuatu and Fiji particularly) which can reflect high freight prices, intrinsically high processing costs or inequitable price setting by butchers. Farmers are inadequately organised to take more control of their product. Consumer demand for beef in the region could be improved through better local product promotion and retailing a greater range of products including lower cost, bone-in beef for low income Melanesian and Polynesian families.

A detailed coverage of institutional, extension delivery, training capacity, research direction, markets and marketing services, inbreeding and genetic improvement, availability of physical inputs, mechanised pasture improvement services and credit for creditworthy farmers is provided in Macfarlane (1996b).

THE STRATEGY OF SCAPP

The overall strategy of the Regional Project will be to significantly contribute to the attainment of National Livestock Development Strategies. Specifically the Regional SCAPP Project in each of the participating countries will maximise the adoption of proven forage and grazing system management technologies over a three year period by smallholders and largeholders whilst strategically demonstrating how improved community awareness, alternative marketing strategies including low cost remote area butchery development and provision of genetic improvement services and pasture establishment services can produce a dramatic impact on disposable incomes.

The prime vehicle for rapid farmer adoption and the prime resource for training will be a rapidly established network of demonstrations in each country clearly demonstrating convincing solutions to farmer defined problems. A critical mass of convinced key farmers managing such demonstrations and acting as community group extensionists will be an essential part of respective national extension delivery and training capability.

Through a varied and tiered training programme, both in-country and in highly motivational regional programmes in Vanuatu, Western Samoa, Fiji and Australia the project will raise the technical, problem-solving, planning and management advisory skills of all livestock and crops/livestock personnel to an unprecedented level and through strategic resource support to complement Government extension advisory inputs these officers will be able to serve their client farmers and rural communities more efficiently, competently and confidently. This will indirectly add to extensionist self-esteem and strengthened institutions. All training and extension support activities would consistently involve livestock production improvement within the total farming system context.

The project will demonstrate over its life that supporting livestock as an integral part of Melanesian and Polynesian farming systems provides immediate and quantifiable returns on public resources invested. The profile of livestock will be raised and its capacity to compete more effectively and convincingly for scarce public resources will be enhanced, which will be essential for sustainability of delivery of project outputs and messages. An important strategic activity will be to keep District, Provincial and National politicians and senior decision -makers well informed of project objectives, programmes and achievements. An increased allocation of Government and other extension and training agency resources particularly for travel, continued in-service and farmer attachment training and field days in the post-project phase will be essential for maximum sustainability.

Baseline and on-going survey, monitoring and feedback, regular consultative project management meetings involving, in an unprecedented way, GOV, semi-GOV, NGO, farmers and agribusiness will be a standard project feature. Inter and intra-institutional and institutional - private sector communication barriers will be dismantled by a highly mobile, accessible regional FAO team of three who are all extension and communication specialists in the South Pacific will also be a project hallmark. And finally by or before the end of year 3, project outputs, applied technologies and messages will be viewed by the community as socio-economically and environmentally positive. The project will have ensured equitable access of community members to its output regardless of gender, age or location.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND IMPLEMENTATION

Project Objectives

The Project Development Objective or Goal is " to achieve improved and sustainable levels of animal production from pasture based feeding systems within South Pacific farming systems whilst making a positive contribution to environmental re-habilitation and improved socio-economic welfare of beneficiary rural communities"

The project goal has four Immediate Objectives or Components:

a) training of government and non-government extension agents and key men and women farmers to improve technical, problem-solving, planning, management and extension skills relevant to sustainable productivity from native and improved grazed pasture systems leading to the transfer of appropriate technologies to farmer groups by competent district extensionist/key farmer networks.

b) an on-farm demonstration network depicting convincing, cost-effective technologies for improved and sustained productivity of pastures for major commercial livestock systems and household-based subsistence livestock systems.

c) an effective extension support programme involving regular field days and farmer-demonstration contact, videos, publications, posters, radio programmes and television which improves rural and urban community awareness of the technical, economic, environmental and social benefits of adopting promoted technology.

d) specific development assistance in provision of mechanised pasture planting services and facilitating reliable seed supplies, improvement of national genetic quality of cattle and availability of bulls to remote commercial farmers, in remote area meat marketing and in promotion of local meat products where these factors are major constraints to sustainable ruminant livestock development.

Target groups

The principal or target beneficiaries of the project will be c. 47,950 smallholdings and 390 largeholdings/plantations with beef and dairy cattle along with 3251, 37,762, 298,544 and 440,022 households with sheep, goats, chickens and pigs respectively. Project activities will also be directed to new and young emerging livestock producers particularly those involved with cattle and sheep. For instance in Fiji the current 100 sheep raising smallholders is expected to grow to 2000 within 15 years. All ruminant farmers will become familiar with project messages and outputs and it is assumed 60% will adopt proven technologies over a 20 year period. It is assumed at least 5% of all households adopt project promoted herbaceous, shrub and tree legume technology in their subsistence gardening and commercial cash crop enterprises.

The secondary beneficiaries of this project are direct project counterparts and collaborators, government, semi-government, non-government livestock in farming system extensionists, agribusiness, institutional livestock trainers, agricultural teachers and secondary students, agribusiness, local consultants and development assistance agencies involved in Country and Regional agriculture. The general community will be more aware of the positive socio-economic and human nutritional benefits of project promoted technology leading to the enhanced availability and affordability of locally produced livestock products. The general community will also display a more balanced understanding of the role and importance of livestock in farming systems and even peri-urban households and the potential for environmental re-habilitation using appropriate grazing system management technologies. The project will seek to reverse negative community perceptions regarding livestock. In this process of improved community awareness, women agricultural and livestock extensionists and trainers and women involved in the National Womens' Groups and Nutrition Councils will be specifically involved.

Leading and emerging women livestock farmers will have access to overseas and in-country training opportunities which will include the achievements of leading women livestock producers. Project field day organisers will ensure that interested women livestock producers are encouraged to participate and if interested women prove reticent at such activities, specific field day/group visit activities will be organised for women involved in livestock production. Women are likely to be have a higher profile relative to men in non-commercial beef and dairy (usually tethered), pig and poultry domestic production and the project will ensure their needs for first hand access to information are catered for by closely involving them in key on-farm demonstrations and associated field days in the major cropping areas and in ensuring sufficient low cost farmer leaflets are produced to cover 20% of non-ruminant households.

Location, duration and phasing

Regional project headquarters would be with Animal Health and Production Division at Vatuwaqa, Suva. The SCAPP Regional project would be planned to commence during the period 1 July 1996 - 1 January 1997 and would run for 3 years. However during FAO Review in years 2 and 3 the need, if any, for project continuation in a modified form to cater for changed circumstances and on-going background advisory support for national livestock extensionists would be assessed. Respective Country Projects in Fiji, PNG, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu and Western Samoa would be based at Vatuwaqa, Lae, Honiara, Nuku'alofa, Livestock Department at Tagabe, Vila and Livestock Division at Avele, Apia. In all countries project activities would be spread across most commercial areas but would concentrate on those areas with greatest livestock numbers and greatest commercial productive potential.

The project would be characterised by the following major phases: an initial 3-4 month inception phase, a rapid and intense demonstration development phase concentrated from approximately months 3-12, a Vanuatu based training phase from M6-8, a concentrated extension materials development phase from M12-18, regular field days and development services support from M6 to project completion and an emphasis on in-country training from M12 onwards.

Organisation and management of SCAPP

At the Regional Level

A highly mobile, accessible FAO Regional Project management and technical team comprising a Project Director/Chief Technical Adviser (PD), a Pacific Islander Counterpart (RC) and an animal production specialist (APS) operating with a specific regional budget would work closely with existing institutions, both government, semi-government and non-government and the private sector to achieve successful co-ordination and implementation of six, concurrent, specific Country Programmes or Projects (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu and Western Samoa) with standard components and specific activities. Where possible management and technical expertise for the SCAPP Project implementation will be drawn from within the SPC Region and where possible training resources from within the region would be used in appropriate areas of sustainable animal production from forage based farming systems. The Regional Management team would work closely with established regional organisations such as SPC, USP and IRETA.

The Regional Project would engage consultant support for regional database development extension and training material editing and production, specific training on butchery construction and operation in PNG, Solomons and Fiji.

The cost of the PD, RC, APS, Executive Officer, consultants, duty travel, extension and community awareness materials of a regional nature would be borne by the Regional Project Budget. However, depending on specific levels of FAO and donor support for regional costs, bilateral donors for individual Country Projects or Programmes would be required to make a pro-rata contribution for regional technical support and co-ordination.

At the National Level

Management staffing and responsibilities

Respective Country Projects of the total SCAPP Project would work completely within existing institutional and private sector frameworks providing critical resource, human resource development, technical, problem-solving and planning support in order to achieve expected outputs and attainment of objectives. Neither the Country Projects nor the regional co-ordinating umbrella based in Fiji would place any significant additional demand upon any participating national Government resources.

Each participating Government would provide a full-time Project Country Co-ordinator (CC) and other officers as specified. Country Co-ordinators would be the best available livestock specialists with appropriate project and human resource management, extension and practical problem-solving and implementation skills and would be jointly selected by respective Governments and FAO.

Project design consultations have confirmed that applied research/demonstration and extension related activities associated with the regional project can be accommodated within collaborating government, semi-government, NGO and private sector resource and human resource capabilities. It is recognised in many countries that the primary limiting resource for livestock extensionists is mobility and vehicle availability and competition for time with implementation of disease surveillance and para-veterinary services (Fiji).

Inception phase, programming, linkages

During the initial 3-4 month Inception Phase (IP) covering all participating countries final adjustments to agreed work programmes would be made, project operational linkages established and responsibilities of Project staff and contracted workers and consultants, Government staff, NGO and semi-GOV collaborators and co-operating farmers defined and understood. The PD, RC and CCs would establish and maintain important linkages with Provincial/District leaders and politicians, and the full spectrum of indigenous and ethnic community members in participatory rural development.

During the IP baseline surveys covering a critical minimum set of livestock, pasture system resource physical data, soil, pasture quality and perhaps animal tissue data (to determine nutritional status and any constraints), industry production, household socio-economic and farm management indicators and farmer objectives and perceived constraints would be initiated by specified personnel and contracted agents leading to an on-going, institutional building survey, monitoring and impact assessment programme. Upon final agreement of the demonstration / applied research programme initial demonstration development activity would commence during this phase recognising that some demonstrations for institutionalisation would already be in place following TCP/RAS/4451.

Each Country Project would be guided by a Project Co-ordinating Committee (PCC) comprising the FAO PD and RC, Directors of Livestock and Agricultural Extension, livestock specialists, a representative from the national aid co-ordination body, a Department of Environment or national environment group representative, representatives from GOV and NGO Women in Agriculture Groups or Womens' Agricultural Extension Services, one or more leading livestock farmers including commercial women farmers (Fiji, W. Samoa), donor representative(s) and representatives of other interacting natural resource sector projects. The PCC would review project progress against targets and make adjustments to activities, if necessary, on the basis of changed or new circumstances.

Project administration

CCs would be responsible for adhering to an established FAO procurement system and for maintaining expenditure records and submitting them to FAO as directed. Project costs for international phone, fax and office consumables and equipment maintenance will be met by respective Country Project budgets.

During the first 4 months of the SCAPP Project Regional capital items and Country capital items and major expendable and non-expendable capital items, supplies and materials will be procured within respective countries and from elsewhere by Regional Project Management. Governments will make available tractors and disc harrows as agreed to complement the output of SCAPP equipment.

Country Projects would meet additional office equipment costs necessary to ensure efficient CC operation including supplemetary travel costs. The maintenance costs of all demonstrations would be met by the project and contracts for rapid establishment of demonstrations would be let to complement GOV staff input. The project would meet insurance and repairs and maintenance costs of its vehicles.

Governments would meet the salary, normal travel and allowances costs of seconded staff and make available normal secretarial, electricity and local communications services to CCs. Governments would make casual staff available for demonstration establishment and maintenance where possible. Governments would provide fuel for project vehicles.

 

Description of outputs, activities and inputs

Expected outputs

The proposed project, by strengthening government and non-government institutional capacity to deliver cost-effective, farming system and commercially oriented livestock advisory support to rural communities, improving extension agent - leading farmer networks, convincingly demonstrating proven technology to farmers, both men and women, and by generally improving the rural community awareness of and practical skills in appropriate pasture improvement and grazing system management technology will lay the basis for substantial increases in sustainable livestock productivity from adapted forages in all country farming systems. The project will have a major impact on the perceived and proven potential of agroforestry and will demonstrate the economic value of various grazing and pasture system strategies in reducing fire risk in commercial forests, both large scale and smallholder. Project forage technology will also have substantial impact on improving sustainable gardening and cropping yields and in reducing erosion. It is expected the project will assist the process of more integrated crop and livestock extension advisory services leading to greater farmer client satisfaction with service delivery. The project will give specific emphasis in formal and informal training of the fundamental importance of whole farm and catchment soil conservation and the necessity of convincing economic advantages of institutionally promoted technology.

Expected national impacts in the year 2010 of project initiated and promoted technology sustainably supported by government policies and a government and non-government extension network post-project have been previously made. It is assumed the national goat herds will remain constant and annual goat meat production will rise by 15% reflecting better pasture based nutrition. In all countries it is expected 20% of households will apply after 20 years project promoted technology to improved pig, poultry and sustainable garden and cash crop production leading to human nutritional, income and cash savings from product substitution which are difficult to quantify.

A detailed tabulation of expected project achievements and physical outputs over the planned 3 year period is provided in Annex 1 of the Regional SCAPP Project draft document (Macfarlane, 1996a).

 

Major activities and their scheduling

Training - Component 1.

Overseas training

Two week pasture improvement/grazing system management training for 34 key farmers (KFs) 17 livestock extension agents (LEs) in Vanuatu and 10 KFs and 8 LEs in Western Samoa for Tongan and other South Pacific Country trainees.(M6-8). One month commercial attachment refresher artificial inseminator training for 2 technicians from PNG, SOI, TON and SAM involving a mix of Fiji, Vanuatu and Australian experiences in M1-2 of the project. Two Tongan butchers trained in Fiji and 6 Western Samoan KFs (dairy) and LE (CC) on a 10 day dairy study tour in Fiji in Year 1.

In-Country formal training Courses

In each of years 2 (M15-18) and 3 (M27-30) of the project two tiered, one week duration, sequential training courses will be offered to men and women actively involved in the livestock in farming systens extension advisory and training network as follows:

a) livestock subject matter specialists (SMS) (trainer training) - senior government, semi-government (e.g. Smallholder Rural Projects Management Ltd (SRPM - PNG, Livestock Development Authority SOI), NGOs - senior Lutheran Development Service technical officer - PNG, Farm Support Association field officers - Vanuatu, PNG Cattleman's Association, senior Rewa dairy extensionists), institutional agricultural trainers (e.g Fiji College of Agric, UNITECH - Lae and Vudal, SI College of Higher Education, University of the South Pacific) and followed up by;

b) one week training courses offered by above SMSs technically backstopped by FAO Regional Advisers for district/divisional/provincial LEs, crop extensionists with an interest in livestock, leading farmers, agroforestry extensionists, NGOs including womens' groups, nutrition groups, soil conservationists. Project to provide course materials and per diems and travel assistance for GOV/NGO officers and KFs where absolutely necessary. Govts to provide venue and accommodation. Overall a 15% participation by women extensionists, trainers and community workers is expected;

c) these tiered courses will be followed by LEs and KFs delivering, with project resource support, at least 30 district level farmer courses of 15 farmer trainees each over 1-2 days covering practical pasture improvement, stocking rate, weed management, dehorning, bull management and other important animal husbandry issues.

In-Country farmer attachments

Remote area farmers attached to a series of leading farmers for 2 week periods starting M6-9 of the project and continuing to M36. Cost for travel, food and accommodation if necessary met by project.

Agricultural teachers and secondary students

The PD, RC, APS and CC, where feasible will provide periodic lectures and training materials to agricultural teachers and senior secondary agricultural students in each country by integrating with other District/Divisional activities.

Butchery operations and business training

Six existing Fijian butchers, as sole traders or employed by farmer co-operatives refresher trained along with 2 Tongans in butchery techniques, butchery operations and business management involving private sector expertise (M6-12). Approximately 20 rural entrepreneurs will be trained in PNG and Solomons by a PNG consultant on butchery construction, operations and business management and 10 Solomon Islander meat inspectors will receive refresher training (M18-24).

Demonstrations - Component 2.

The final agreement of the demonstration network would be adjusted on the basis of additional participatory rural assessments as part of the Inception Phase survey programme. All demonstration activity sites will serve as sources of farmer improved pasture nursery planting material (c.300 nurseries) and all demonstrations involving grazing animals would automatically demonstrate recommended animal husbandry practice along with specific production related messages.

The demonstration programme with a minor applied research component will cover 9 specific outputs, 19 activity types and 294 activity sites and 405 activities across participating countries. Multiple activities will occur on some farms. The direct provision or facilitation of commercial pasture improvement services, frequently involving existing under-utilised public sector resources for interested commercial farmers satisfied with the cost-benefits of particular demonstrated technologies, will assist the establishment of larger areas of improved pastures than through more steady, trickle down approaches.

The 9 demonstration outputs will include:

existing and new species assessed in different environments; cost-effectiveness of manual, zero-till and strip and complete seedbed preparation improved pasture establishment strategies; demonstrated or benchmark sustainable stocking rates and animal production in a range of shaded and open environments; animal production responses to mineral, energy and protein supplementation; proven weed management and control strategies for at least 20 weed species;

integrated landuse demonstration including integration of crops and livestock, cattle and forest conservation, silvopastoralism; improved village based feeding systems for non-ruminants;

specific demonstration of commercial women livestock producer's achievements.

Extension Support - Component 3.

Field days

The establishment of regular in-country field day progrannes in year 1, gaining in intensity in years 2 and 3 ( PNG-36, SOI-18, FIJI-36, TON-18, VAN - 6 (pigs, poultry), SAM-16 (pigs, poultry, dairy) will ensure a wide dissemination of convincing messages emanating from project sponsored key on-farm demonstrations, some of which would be continuing from TCP/RAS/4451. A similar number of less formal farmer group visits to key demonstrations are planned. M4 onwards.

Farmer group visits

Support for farmer group visits programme (PNG-36, SOI-18, FIJI-36, TON-18, VAN - 6 (pigs, poultry), SAM-16 (pigs, poultry, dairy)including remote area/island livestock farmers. M4 on.

Networking

Encouragement of networking between specialist livestock and generalist extensionists -researchers - community leading farmers from M6 onwards..

 

 

Farmer groups

Encouragement of community leading farmers (KFs) in fostering rural community group extension activity.

Other benefits of selected forage legumes and grasses

Promotion of pasture species notably legumes for more sustainable gardening, and adapted grasses and legumes for roadside stabilisation, erosion control from M12 onwards involving men and women extensionists, NGO Womens' Groups.

Video production

In collaboration with GOV information services, contracted agents e.g. UNITECH, Lae and SPC support for production of video and TV footage (free air time assumed) of major animal production from grazed pasture messages - 1) stocking rate management for beef, sheep and goats depending on rainfall, soil fertility and shade and including responses to supplementary feeding; 2) dairy management for profitable milk production including responses to supplementary feeding; 3) pasture improvement strategies for various environments; 4) woody weed control and re-habilitation of degraded areas and safe and effective use of herbicides.

M12-M24.

Management handbooks

Production of country specific Pasture and Grazing Management Handbooks for extension staff, training institutions, agricultural secondary schools and leader farmers. Produced M15-18, then ready for distribution.

Posters

Production of black and white poster series covering key issues. M18-21 then distribution.

Farmer leaflets

Production of country specific leaflets on key practical, planning and problem-solving issues through GOV Information Services with Project meeting consumable costs. M15-18.

Radio and television programmes

Assistance with production of regular radio series on improving animal production from grazed pastures (at least 36 programmes per year) and collaboration with TV, if available, at appropriate times for agricultural programme production. M4 onwards

 

Specific Development Assistance - Component 4.

Genetic improvement of cattle

Funding of semen imports to expand beef and dairy genetic improvement programme involving 2000 straws/yr and at least 1000 successfully impregnated, elite cows/yr, managed by specialist AI GOV and NGO technicians and freight assistance for bulls to remote commercial areas -Taveuni and Vanua Levu, Vava'u, Savaii, Malaita, E.Sepik, Gulf, Oro and New Ireland Provinces in PNG. Participating farmers would be obliged to sell surplus bulls to local farmers at no more than normal bull prices. M2 onwards.

 

Marketing

Funding of market awareness campaign highlighting the value for money and nutritional aspects of consuming locally produced animal products, particularly beef. Training in regional butchery design, operation and business management for existing and potential butchers has been covered under the training component and the cost of model, minimum standard slaughterhouses at Sigatoka, Malaita, Santa Cruz in the Solomons, Upper Ramu and possibly one other site in PNG. M12 onwards.

Mechanised services

The project utilising its own and GOV allocated equipment, following successful demonstration, would offer cost recovery services to interested farmers in all countries except W. Samoa (currently handled by Livestock Division) under the direct control of nominated OV or NGO managers with the view of an ultimate commercial, sustainable service available in all countries. The project would assist in ensuring the reliable delivery of locally produced or imported seed and would seek to convince local agribusiness merchants to stock/handle the recommended range of grass and legume seeds. The project would establish linkages between Australian suppliers and potential Fiji based seed merchants. Utilising the project brush seed harvester some Sigatoka Valley vegetable farmers with irrigation would be encouraged to evaluate the economics of pasture seed production as a commercial alternative enterprise.The Fiji and PNG programmes will each require 8-40 tonnes of pasture seed per annum. M6 onwards.

Costs and financing of Country Projects and the Regional Project

The total cost of the six Country Projects and the FAO Regional Management comprising the Regional SCAPP Project is US$3,759,226. Direct Country Project costs total US$1,786,590 and are apportioned as follows: Fiji (28.32%), PNG (30.14%), Solomon Islands (18.49%), Tonga (11.72%), Vanuatu (5.6%) and Western Samoa (5.74%). Across Country Projects the mean distribution of component costs is Training (20.1%), Demonstrations (10.5%), Extension Support (12%), Development Services Support (17.9%), and Management (39.54%).

Regional Project co-ordination, management and technical support costs plus standard FAO support charges amount to US$1,972,658. These costs are disaggregated as follows: national and international expert and consultant fees/travel allowances of $1,290,200, duty travel $120,000, regional office administration $53,410, capital equipment $46,550, contracted extension materials production $45,000 and materials and delivery costs for training courses in Vanuatu and Western Samoa of $76,000.

The estimated value of National Government contributions to their respective Country Projects is as follows: Fiji $239,000, PNG $266,000, Solomon Islands $77,500, Tonga $69,000, Vanuatu $28,000 and Western Samoa $25,000.

References

Banguinan, P.W., Mesibere, I. and Galgal, K.K. (1995). Beef cattle industry in Papua New Guinea: issues and constraints In: Lee, S.D., Macfarlane, D,C. (eds.), Proceedings of a South Pacific Regional Workshop on Pasture Improvement. Apia, Western Samoa, 8-11 December, 1995. FAO, Apia.

Macfarlane, D.C. (1993). Vanuatu Pasture Improvement Project: structure, programmes and achievements In: Evans, T.R., Macfarlane, D.C. and Mullen, B.F.(eds). Sustainable beef production from smallholder and plantation farming systems in the South Pacific: proceedings of a workshop, Port Vila and Luganville, Vanuatu, 2-22 August 1993, AIDAB, Canberra.

Macfarlane, D.C. (1996a). Regional Project Design Document - Sustainable Commercial Animal Production from Pastures in South Pacific Farming Systems (SCAPP). FAO/Government Co-operative Programme. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Rome.

Macfarlane, D.C. (1996b). Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu and Western Samoa Country Project Design Documents. FAO Regional South Pacific Pasture Improvement Training Project (TCP/RAS/4451). Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Rome.

Skea, F., Macfarlane, D.C. and Pointing, S. (1993). Beef industry background, structure and economic performance in Vanuatu In: Evans, T.R., Macfarlane, D.C. and Mullen, B.F.(eds.). Sustainable beef production from smallholder and plantation farming systems in the South Pacific: proceedings of a workshop. Port Vila and Luganville, Vanuatu, 2-12 August, 1993. AIDAB, Canberra.

Wate, D. (1993). Solomon Islands Country Paper In: Lee, S.D., Macfarlane, D,C. (eds.), Proceedings of a South Pacific Regional Workshop on Pasture Improvement. Apia, Western Samoa, 8-11 December, 1995. FAO, Apia.