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Transformation of Vietnamese livestock farming

Our experts share their knowledge to help businesses grow sustainably and improve lives. As is the case in the livestock sector. PUM expert Jan van Zelm shared his years of experience as a lecturer in livestock farming and business economics with a collective of farmers in Vietnam. His practical advice on livestock nutrition, disease prevention and optimisation of cows’ living conditions contribute to the economic progress of over 200 farming communities in Quang Tri province, Vietnam.


“From 2010, I have been breeding cattle using the traditional method,” farmer Ho Xuan Sinh says. “After the visit of PUM expert Jan van Zelm, I started fattening them with special feed. When I raised the cows in the traditional way, it took me a year to sell a cow. With the new method I learned from Jan van Zelm, I can sell the cow much faster. As a result, with 10 cows, I now earn 9 million VND (about 370 Euros) a month instead of 5 million VND (about 200 Euros). After the Vietnamese New Year in 2023, I will buy two more cows!”

farmers indonesia, milk cooperative KPSP Setia Kawan

Developing the agricultural sector

Ho Xuan Sinh is one of 200 members of the Quang Tri Young Entrepreneur Association (QTYEA) benefiting from Jan’s knowledge. The PUM expert was invited by Quang Tri province and the entrepreneur association QTYEA. Chairman Ho Xuan Hieu of QTYEA explains why both organisations saw opportunities precisely in improving animal husbandry in and around Hong Da. “Most of the 200 members of QTYEA have small or very small enterprises and really need help to develop. Many of them work in the agricultural sector, especially in animal husbandry. Quang Tri province is very suitable for animal husbandry, but farmers have no knowledge about fattening cattle.”

The right formula 

And so ‘Mister Jan’ was invited. Initially, he advised cattle feed producers on the right formula for instant feed, choice of beef breeds and housing of fattening bulls. During a follow-up visit he additionally taught fodder producers and livestock farmers how to make good roughage from Napier grass and maize. And so it is not only cattle feed producers who are developing thanks to his advice, but precisely the large group of young, small-scale cattle farmers, who often have no more than half a hectare at their disposal. Jan did not limit himself to fodder, but looked at the overall set-up of small farms. Ho Xuan Hieu: “He taught us what the right group size is (10 cows), and gave advice on building a good barn.” According to farmer Ho Xuan Sinh, he has made progress in three areas. He needs less time to breed the cattle, can prevent or cure their diseases, and the cows gain weight faster.

Cattle feed producer Le Van Tuyen is an important link in the chain: Jan van Zelm taught him to make better cattle feed and to harvest the grass at the right time. Jan van Zelm: “At hip height, the grass has the best quality. Then the grass is harvested sometimes chopped and fed fresh to the fattening bulls. The maize is still harvested by hand and then the plant including the cob is chopped and preserved and finally stored in Jumbo bags.” As Tuyen’s business is still young and small, he may store his stock with the more experienced and successful entrepreneur Ho Xuan Hieu, who also produces fodder: “As president of the QTYEA, I am happy to transfer my knowledge and experience together with PUM to the more than 200 members of the association.” So without visiting all farmers personally, PUM expert Jan’s knowledge is spreading through the entrepreneur association QTYEA, farmer Hieu, Tuyen and the cattle feed to a large group of young cattle farmers in Vietnams Quang Tri province.

Ho Xuan Sinh

“A growth per day of 1 kg or more is now achievable.”

Jan van Zelm:

“It is great to see how after my farm visits and giving a presentation to 200 interested farmers, a number of farmers in Quang Tri got to work building or renovating stables. Subsequently, the rations fed to the animals were also changed to make growth of 1,000 grams per day feasible. A simple example of a change with a great result: instead of the Napier grass being harvested at a length of 3 metres, it is now harvested at a length of no more than 1 metre, resulting in a much higher feed value.