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Status of Animal Nutrition Research and Development in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan

by 5m Editor
14 May 2012, at 12:00am

R&D status in research and development organisations and in the feed industries in each country as well as suggested animal nutrition approaches for livestock development are outlined by Harinder P.S. Makkar in a working paper in Animal Production and Health for the FAO.

Tajikistan

Livestock production in Tajikistan accounts for about 30 per cent of total agricultural production. The imbalance between feed demand and supply is perhaps the most important limiting factor for sustainable development of the livestock sector in Tajikistan. The pastures provide more than 50 per cent of the nutrients to the livestock population. Livestock yields in Tajikistan are the lowest in the Commonwealth of Independent States.

All the five institutions surveyed in Tajikistan are in the public sector and are engaged in research and development (R&D), extension and outreach activities in animal nutrition. The major emphasis of the work conducted in these institutions is on pasture and grazing management and on improvement in the feed situation. Most of the work is being carried out on ruminants and to a lesser extent on poultry. No work is being carried out on pig nutrition. The main nutritional strategies envisaged by these institutions include nutritive quality evaluation of feeds, improvement in quality and yield of feeds, optimum and rational use of locally available feed resources, introduction of new fodder varieties, fodder conservation and nutrient requirement of yaks and poultry.

There is a need to impart training to staff especially on the latest techniques of feed analysis and nutritive quality evaluation. The training is required in almost all routinely used (in other parts of the world) techniques in animal nutrition, for example digestibility estimation, the in–vitro gas production technique, Tilley & Terry and nylon bag techniques, amino acid analysis, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques and microbial protein estimation.

The staff has shown desire to learn more about yak nutrition. Most of the institutions have basic laboratory equipment i.e. oven, balance, Kjeldahl apparatus Soxhlet apparatus and distillation unit but most of the equipment is over 20 years old. The institutions have the necessary facilities for conducting animal experiments on rabbits, sheep and cattle but very limited basic slaughter house facilities. Most of these institutions wish to procure an amino acid analyzer, gas liquid chromatography, all-glass distillation apparatus and apparatus for feed quality estimation, e.g. the in–vitro gas production system.

There is no ongoing R&D or extension project in animal nutrition in any of the five institutions. The institutions evaluate impact of R&D activities in the area of animal nutrition through a special approbation commission. Almost all of the staff have limited skills in English language and prefer the literature in Russian language. The staff members would like to undertake short-term courses in English language. These institutions have national collaborations mainly for establishing linkages with local farmers and producers and for getting information on scientific investigations on animal feeding. The suggestions given by these institutions for improving R&D activities in animal nutrition are:

  • Improvement in funding for the laboratories
  • Modernisation of laboratory equipment
  • Training of young professionals in latest techniques of feed evaluation
  • Availability of qualified and trained staff for feed analysis and feed formulations
  • Development of fodder resources
  • Setting up of demonstration plots for fodder crops
  • Enlargement and sharing of knowledge base on feed quality and forage production
  • Fostering of contract with feed industries and livestock breeders, and
  • Production of commercial feed and mineral mixture.

The major emphasis should be on strengthening of laboratory infrastructure (funding, equipment, training), pasture management and introduction of superior pasture fodder varieties.

Kyrgyzstan

Animal husbandry is a significant part of the agricultural economy of Kyrgyzstan. Forty–four per cent of the land is used as pastures for livestock but the yield is low. Large seasonal variations in animal body weights indicate that animal feeding is for survival and not for production. A large percentage of Kyrgyz livestock are poorly managed and fed inadequate diets, particularly during winter.

The major thrust of the six institutions that participated in the study from Kyrgyzstan is on pasture management, fodder production and feed improvement. All the institutions, except the Kyrgyz National Agrarian University, are involved in R&D activities. There is no scientific or technical staff engaged in poultry or pig nutrition. The ongoing projects in R&D are mainly on the chemical composition of pasture plants. Practically no ongoing extension activities exist.

No institute in Kyrgyzstan has any means to monitor and evaluate impact of R&D activities in the area of animal nutrition. The laboratory activities in the country are not at all satisfactory. No feed analysis activity at Kyrgyz National Agrarian University, Department of Production of Agricultural Products and at Kyrgyz Veterinary Research Institute exist. Only nitrogen, ether extract and crude fibre estimations are being conducted at other institutions. Funds are scarce.

Since the staff in most of the institutions is not exposed to any training, exposure to almost all the aspects of feed analysis including the in–vitro gas production, PCR techniques and near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and pasture management is required.

The staff have indicated a desire to undertake lessons to improve English language skills.

The situation with regard to the availability of equipment is not encouraging either. Many of these institutions have very little and very old equipment in their laboratories. All of these institutions would like to procure all modern equipment for animal nutrition studies. The facilities for conducting animal experiments are also inadequate. Most of the institutions do not have animal cages or slaughter house facilities. The linkages with feed industries and farmers are moderate. Increased funding, increased scientific and technical staff, implementation of research recommendations and political stability are some of the suggestions given by the institutions to improve R&D activities in animal nutrition.

The following constraints were identified:

  • Insufficient and outdated equipment
  • Inadequate financing
  • Inadequate exposure of staff to animal nutrition research methods
  • Inadequate information
  • Poor feedback mechanisms
  • No means to monitor and evaluate R&D activities, and
  • Insufficient investment in feed manufacturing.

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Small-scale livestock farmers with few cattle are the principal source of milk and meat. It is estimated that small-scale farmers are producing at only 40 per cent of their efficiency due to poor animal health and low rates of animal growth.

Only one filled questionnaire from an R&D organisation was received from Azerbaijan Scientific Research Institute of Forages, Meadows and Pastures. This institution has two ongoing projects, being carried out at farmers’ fields, and are due to conclude in December 2011. There is no ongoing extension project.

The institution does not have any means of obtaining feedback from farmers, farmers associations and feed industry about the effectiveness of the extension/outreach activities. The priority areas for R&D work in animal nutrition are identified through close contacts with the farmers. Inputs are not obtained from other stakeholders or the feed industries. The institution does not have a formal means to monitor and evaluate impact of R&D activities. No information has been provided on the type of specific animal nutrition strategies that have been passed on to farmers, farmers' associations or feed industries.

Laboratory activities are practically insignificant. The laboratory facilities are inadequate.

There is hardly any equipment and the staff is also not aware of the recent feed evaluation techniques including those that give information on feed safety and are used routinely in animal nutrition research in other parts of the world.

The laboratory equipment available is not listed but the institution would wish to procure all modern equipment required for animal nutrition research. The institution has no facilities for animal experiments. The staff are willing to undergo training for improving qualification and skills and is also willing to have detailed information in the area of animal nutrition. Lack of knowledge of English language has been identified as a constraint and the staff has desired to undertake short courses in the English language. The linkages of animal nutrition groups with feed industry, farmers’ associations and individual farmers are moderate.

The main reasons for poor R&D activities in animal nutrition are:

  • Lack of laboratory equipment
  • No training for the staff
  • Inadequate funding
  • No formal means to monitor and evaluate R&D activities in animal nutrition
  • No means of obtaining feedback from end-users, and
  • Weak research-extension-user linkage.

The suggestions given to improve R&D activities in the institution include strengthening financial position, sharing information regarding experiments and enhancing staff skills.

Research and Development Status in Feed Industries

Tajikistan

All the three feed industries in Tajikistan have moderate linkages with research institutions.

All of these industries have basic set up for proximate analysis, including minerals and vitamins, of feed ingredients. The industries wish to procure modern equipment for feed analysis and evaluation. All the three industries have collaborations for research or consultancy.

The source of information for these feed industries include professional journals, books, web sites, conferences, CDs and technical pamphlets. The feed industries would like to have more detailed information but mostly in Russian language.

The industries are interested to have detailed information and training on the latest methods of feed evaluation, feed formulation and production of compound feeds for cattle and poultry. English is not a preferred language. The staff would like to undergo training in English language. Lack of feed ingredients for the preparation of compound feeds and absence of well equipped laboratory for feed quality evaluation are listed as constraints.

The suggestions by these industries for improving feed analysis and feed formulation in feed industry are:

  • Provision of professional training
  • Improvement in the feed production process
  • Provision of latest and modern equipment
  • Collaboration with specialists in foreign enterprises, and
  • Improvement in marketing.

Kyrgyzstan

The filled questionnaires received from three feed industries in Kyrgyzstan do not provide any information on the production capacity, annual production or the type of feed analysis being conducted by these industries. No information has been provided regarding the existing equipment or equipment to be procured.

The detailed information regarding new technologies has been requested and the preferred language for this is Russian. Translation of literature into the native language would be preferred. No information has been given by any of the feed industry on how to improve feed analysis. The linkages and collaborations with research institutions are strong but with farmers' associations and individual farmers are moderate.

Azerbaijan

Three feed industries from Azerbaijan participated in the study. These feed industries are running at over 70 per cent of their capacity. Surprisingly, only one sample is analysed per month. Similar to the situation in R&D organisations, the staff is not aware of the recent feed evaluation techniques and hardly any equipment is available in the laboratories for such analyses.

The staff have some exposure to professional journals, conferences and books but would like to have detailed information, mostly in Russian language. The staff would like to take English language courses to improve their language skills. Strengthening of staff position and improvement in the financial situation have been proposed as the ways to improve the feed analysis.

All the three industries have collaboration in the area of feed analysis and formulation with Azerbaijan Scientific Research Institute of Cattle Breeding and Azerbaijan Scientific Research Institute of Forages, Meadows and Pastures.

Most of the equipment listed for procurement by feed industries are the same as identified by R&D organisations.

The survey has established that there is

  • Weak resource base
  • Inadequate financing
  • Insufficient and outdated laboratory equipment
  • Lack of qualified staff
  • Lack of training
  • Limited availability and access to improved technologies
  • Absence of formal means to monitor and evaluate R&D activities
  • Limited means of obtaining feedback from end-users
  • Weak research-extension-user linkage
  • Lack of information systems and inadequate information
  • Insufficient investment in feed manufacturing, and
  • Inadequate marketing facilities.

It is interesting to note that in a recent study (CACAARI, 2010) on the Priorities in Agricultural Research for Development in Central Asia and the Caucasus by the Central Asia and the Caucasus Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (CACAARI) identified key researchable issues, which included the following:

  • Need for greater investments in agricultural research and restructuring of the research system to coordinate the national agricultural research system and to meet the national agricultural development goals

  • Introduce changes in agricultural education system in line with the goals of agricultural research and development

  • Create an effective extension system for the country to create linkages with farmers, researchers and civil society organizations and to facilitate technology transfer

  • Need for capacity development in research infrastructure and enhancing research capabilities of the researchers and technicians, and

  • Need to strengthen agricultural research and development linkages at sub–regional, regional, inter-regional and global levels.

In general, these countries have limited resources. The animal nutrition activities are characterised by lack of standard procedures and poor laboratory infrastructure. Research and extension need a reorientation to inter-disciplinary understanding of the multiple functions of livestock for rural households including the future high demand of animal products by increasing urban population and the strong interaction with cropping systems.

Suggested Animal Nutrition Approaches for Livestock Development

  • Countrywide systematic mapping and quality evaluation of feeds and fodder resources

  • Assessment of the current and potential yield of pastures and improvement of their productivity, quality and carrying capacity

  • Development of appropriate forage production and conservation systems

  • Optimum use of locally available feed resources and development of appropriate systems for their upgrading and supplementation

  • Development of feed quality control systems

  • Nutrient requirement and balanced feeding of animals including yaks

  • Assessment of mineral status of feeds, soil and livestock, and

  • Development of strong linkages among researchers, extension workers and farmers.

Future programmes must address: a) the training of personnel (scientific, technical, extension and supporting) to improve skills and knowledge in feed evaluation, and b) the improvement of laboratory infrastructure, both in R&D institutions and feed industries.

Further Reading

- You can view the full FAO report by clicking here.


May 2012