SLU news

Goats in Laos - A rewarding exchange between Sweden and Laos on sustainable goat production

Published: 26 September 2016
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Dr. Daovy Kongmanila has just arrived in Sweden and is excited about her work in the AgriFoSe2030 program. We took the opportunity to ask what she will be doing here and what her thought about AgriFoSe2030 is.

Tell us briefly who you are? What is your background? What are your research areas?

My name is Dr. Daovy Kongmanila. I work at the Faculty of Agriculture (FAG) of the National University of Laos (NUOL), Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR.

I am a specialist in animal sciences with a focus in nutrition and management in goats. I graduated both with a PhD degree on Animal science, Nutrition and Management in 2012 and a M.Sc.degree in Biology and Tropical Livestock Systems in 2007 from SLU. I completed a B.Sc. degree in my home country at the Faculty of Agriculture, National University of Laos during 1998-2003.

I have carried out research on identifying appropriate feed for native goat, cattle and insects, at the faculty’s experimental farm together with local farmers. This research has resulted in 13 published articles in both national and international journals. 

Dr. Daovy Kongmanila with two collegues from the Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, SLU at a goat farm in Laos.

At present, I have four main responsibilities at my university:

  1. I teach on subjects related to livestock sciences, farming systems and management and research methodology in courses on BSc and MSc level.
  2. I do research related to animal nutrition, production and farm management with a focus on goats, cattle and insects as mentioned above.
  3. I am a coordinator for the Laos part in the Mekong Animal Research Network (MEKARN, funded by SIDA) and mentor researchers that apply for funding from the Network. In particular, I supervise them on research methodology, data collection and data analysis.
  4. Finally, I play a role as a Deputy Director of the livestock unit under the Department of Livestock and Fishery. I supervise and mentor field staff of the livestock unit on research focusing on animal nutrition and production; and oversee all activities of the unit.

In addition to mentoring staff, I teach students and work with smallholder farmers to improve farming practices and farm management.

What will you be doing during your visit at SLU, Sweden and how does it relate to the AgriFoSe2030 programme? How do you contribute to the programme and what can you learn from it?

I am interested in participating in and contributing to theme 4 on Livestock-keeping among smallholders for a nutritious diet and increased food security in AgriFoSe2030. The project will be focused on improved goat keeping among smallholders. The project proposes to compile existing research results and knowledge, and facilitates knowledge transfer to smallholder goat producers to improve the management and feeding of their goats.

I will stay approximately 2 months at SLU. During that time, I will give some seminars, undertake literature reviews, and also prepare for a booklet. The main activity will be to gather data as a basis for a meta-analysis and draft a review paper. This will be the foundation for the coming activity back in Laos. Back home, I will visit a number of goat farmers and extension officers, continue to draft a review publication, plan and organise a stakeholder workshop, and also draft a policy brief.

This will be done through workshops for both producers, advisors and other stakeholders, and by producing an easy to read booklet that can be handed out to goat producers. One of the goals with the workshops is to facilitate the formation of an extension team, with representatives from different stakeholder institutions. I think I will learn a lot from AgriFoSe2030 by having a chance to really focus on existing data and analyses together with colleagues at SLU. I also hope I can take the course in meta-analyses given in Nairobi. Further, I will also practice my writing of policy material.

What are your expectations of the AgriFoSe programme? What do you think makes the programme important, and why and to whom does it matter?

I have big expectations of the programme! I foresee that I will learn a lot which I will bring back both to my university and to the famers. I believe that the knowledge about the potential of foliage from natural feed resources as a dietary supplement for livestock will be transferred to farmers via booklets. The booklets will provide guidance on best practice for a productive and sustainable goat production. If the animals would consume sufficient nutrients, it would result in high weight gain and good reproductive performance in the future.

A seminar at SLU concerning the potential and the challenges of goat’s production in Lao PDR will be a good opportunity for me and researchers at the Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, SLU to share knowledge and identify the gaps for future research and extension. Also, through the organised workshops with relevant stakeholders in Laos, which I mentioned earlier, we will set up the work of the extension team, to support and capacity build the farmer communities.

Tell us one thing that you are passionate about related to food security and sustainable agriculture.

Sustainable livestock production and healthy animals! Goat production provides a major proportion of the annual cash income and capital assets of farmer’s households in Lao PDR. When farmers have more knowledge and a better understanding of the goats’ feeding and care, then it is more likely they will adopt best practices for a productive and sustainable goat production. In the long-term this will lead to both improved farmer livelihoods as well as better animal welfare.


Contact

Sofia Boqvist, Associate Professor

Programme Director of AgriFoSe2030
Theme leader of Theme 4 in AgriFoSe2030
Dept. of Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Public Health, SLU
PO Box 7028, SE-750 07 Uppsala
Phone: +46 18-67 23 88
Mobile: +46 72-240 34 94
Sofia.Boqvist@slu.se

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Page editor: anneli.sundin@sei-international.org & cajsa.lithell@slu.se