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Development of a participatory, farming systems approach to improving Bali cattle production in the smallholder crop-livestock systems of Eastern Indonesia

Shaun Lisson
CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 54, Hobart,
Tasmania 7001, Australia

Summary. Bali cattle 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. Currently, demand within Indonesia for beef cattle both for meat and live cattle for resettlement areas exceeds the local capacity to supply these animals and as a consequence the population of Bali cattle is actually declining in most areas of Eastern Indonesia. A range of constraints relating to the availability and quality of forages, and animal management need to be overcome if smallholder farmers are to redress this trend and, while the approaches and technologies (e.g. improved forages, controlled mating) exist to address these constraints, adoption by farmers to date has been sporadic. This paper reports on findings from a major study with smallholder farmers in Eastern Indonesia to develop, test and apply tools and knowledge sharing techniques for evaluating strategies to improve Bali cattle production. The approach combines the principles of farming system research with strong farmer participation in all steps from system benchmarking, the identification of cattle/forage improvement options and the on-farm testing and communication of findings. The work involved a multi-disciplinary team comprised of forage, livestock, farming systems scientists, social scientists, resource economists and extension specialists drawn from a range of Indonesian and Australian Government agricultural research, development and extension agencies.

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