Smallholder and semi commercial farmers engaged in the monogastric sector (aquaculture, pig and poultry) can improve profitable with the use of locally available feed resources rather than imported ingredients which cost them dearly.
A research project aimed at assisting the PNG monogastric sector to develop cheap balanced diets and encouraging the establishment of small scale feed mills to make cheaper concentrate diets based mainly on local feed resources is well into plan.
The project stands to impact with a 25% increase in profitability of monogastric sector and increase production by 5% per annum, equating to A$47m. Currently the local monogastric sector has a market value of A$190.5m per annum, comprising some 600,000 small farmers.
The four-year project is titled: “Enhancing the role of small scale feed milling in the development of the monogastric industries in Papua New Guinea”. Its annual review meeting in Lae from March 12-13 2013, after its first year of implementation, revealed that all partners are happy with the progress so far.
Funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the project is undertaken through a diverse collaboration involving the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), Primary Industries Industry and Investment NSW (Australia), Highlands Aquaculture Development Centre (HAQDC), National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI), National Fisheries Authority (NFA), PNG University of Technology (Unitech), Christian Leaders Training College (CLTC), Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF) and the Lutheran Development Service (LDS).
The review was told that smallholder and semi commercial aquaculture, pig and poultry farming are making an important contribution to the livelihoods of rural households in PNG. An increasing number of farms are being established around major urban markets because of the demand for high quality animal protein with some smallholders adopting appropriate management and nutrition using commercial feeds.
However farm viability is vulnerable due to the rising costs of imported ingredients and the lack of cheap feed made from local ingredients. Local feed resources are available that could be utilized more effectively for feeding fish, pigs and poultry.
Economic modelling from an earlier study indicates that there is a significant reduction in costs when poultry diets are manufactured by mini mills using local feed ingredients. Improving the profitability of the monogastric sector through the use of locally available feed resources has been identified as a high priority by the PNG government, NARI and NFA.The project’s anticipated outputs include:
1. value chain maps and marketing strategies for sale of locally milled feed, pork, poultry and fish;
2. regional business models, user briefs and training manuals for running mini mills;
3. improved monogastric production;
4. information on the quality of local feeds;
5. training and investigation/refinement of feeding options;
6. revised extension and training materials used by NGOs and public extension services;
7. campaign in PNG to promote mini mills and feeding options to improve profitability; and
8. training of research and extension staff as well as participating farmers.
The implementation strategy will involve specific business plans for feed mills to be developed using data generated from mini feed mill facilities built in previous ACIAR aquaculture and poultry projects at Goroka, Erap, Aiyura, Labu and Kiunga. Unitech has involved its post graduate students and together with NARI and SARDI scientists, they will evaluate social issues impacting on the development of feed mills and monogastric enterprises and the profitability of various feeding options.
Research facilities at partner institutes and demonstration facilities at NGO sites (CLTC, LDS, OTDF, and HAQDC) will be used to evaluate a range of diets based on site availability of locally available feed resources. Best feeding options will be tested on a number of village farms located near the mini mills.
This project aligns with the vision of the PNG National Agricultural Development Plan (2007-2016) of transforming the agriculture sector into a vibrant and productive economic sector.
The review was attended by over 20 representatives from the project partners.