Photo K. Dhanji/ILRI

Rapid survey of livestock feed resource availability and use in Mai Son district, Son La province, Vietnam, using the Gendered Feed Assessment Tool (G-FEAST)

Livestock production is the second main livelihood source for farmers in the North-West highlands of Vietnam. Animal nutrition is a key factor in livestock production and, often times, challenges related to feed are widespread leading to low livestock productivity. Identifying context-specific feed issues and how gender influences feed practices prior to proposing measures to improve animal nutrition is a key step in addressing feed-related challenges. In this study, the Gendered Feed Assessment Tool (G-FEAST) was applied to assess the availability and use of local feed resources by characterizing gender aspects influencing feeding practices with the ultimate goal of designing site-specific livestock feed intervention strategies. The study was carried out in 6 villages in Chieng Chung and Chieng Luong communes, Mai Son district, Son La province, Vietnam. Data was collected through separate focus group discussions and individual interviews for women and men (67 women and 70 men). Main feed-related challenges identified included lack of winter feed, low-quality diets and low yielding forage varieties. The results of this study present key opportunities for feed interventions such as promoting improved forage varieties, knowledge on better utilization of crop residues, feed processing and preparation (e.g. silage) and improved diet proportions with high quality feed components.