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Assessing the sustainable development and intensification potential of beef cattle production in Sumbawa, Indonesia, using a system dynamics approach

Dahlanuddin, Benjamin Henderson, Kanar Dizyee, Hermansyah, Andrew Ash

Abstract

The intensification of beef cattle production in dryland areas of East Indonesia has the potential to substantially raise the incomes of smallholder farmers that dominate the sector. In this study we assess the potential for intensifying beef production on Sumbawa Island, by introducing a household feedlot production system (2±20 animals) based on the Leucaena leucocephala (leucanea) tree legume as an improved source of feed. We used a system dynamics approach to model the entire value chain, accounting for herd dynamics, demand dynamics and seasonality. Our findings complement the growing body of biophysical evidence about the potential success of this intervention, by simulating improvements in the annual profitability for beef farmers in the project area of up to 415% by 2023. Increases in farm profit were shown to depend near equally on the higher productivity of the leucaena feeding system and an associated price premium, demonstrating the importance of supporting improved agricultural production with better marketing practices. The intervention was also shown to generate positive or neutral benefits for the main post-farm value chain actors. Importantly, it also reduced the GHG emission intensity of outputs from the beef herd by 16% by 2020. We explored number of scale-out pathways, including a relatively moderate pace of autonomous adoption for our main analysis, resulting in the accumulation of 3,444 hectares of leucaena 20-years after the initial project phase, which could sustain the fattening of 37,124 male cattle per year. More ambitious rates of scale-out were found to be possible without exceeding the animal and land resources of the island.

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