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Viability of smallholder dairy cattle management and its intensification strategies based on whole-farm analyses in southern Mozambique

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This study uses questionnaire survey data to assess the viability of dairying among smallholders in southern Mozambique by diagnosing the feed, health, reproductive management practices, and cost performance of farmers who received Jersey cattle as part of a special dairy development program. The study also explores intensification strategies and their economic impact using whole-farm analysis, for which detailed information on all crop and dairy activities, and the feedstuffs being used, was gathered based on systematic farm-based record keeping, along with chemical analyses of feed samples. Results indicate that the smallholders increasingly discontinued milk production due to unsuccessful disease control and breeding. While short-term benefits were derived from low-cost dairy activities, the associated flaws in feeding, housing, and health care undermined cow fertility, productivity, reproductive performance, and survivability, which, in turn, precluded any long-term benefits. Our whole-farm analysis revealed that when the dairy herd is restructured and cropping patterns are optimized, the smallholders are able to meet household food demands and the nutritional requirements of the animals, continued lactation, and increased income. Farm-based milk processing can further upshift income levels. Along with upgraded feeding, housing, health, and marketing systems, appropriate breeding programs offer an enabling environment for dairy herd expansion and intensification to help smallholders secure food and enhance their economic well-being.

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The data supporting the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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This study was conducted under collaboration between the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences and the Agricultural Research Institute of Mozambique. The authors are also grateful to the smallholder dairy farmers in Manhiça for their participation in our survey, and to Mr. Takeshi Matsumoto of the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences for sharing the results of the chemical analysis of local feedstuffs. The authors also appreciate the valuable comments of Dr. Damião Wetimane Nguluve of the Agricultural Research Institute of Mozambique.

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This study was supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Japan.

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Correspondence to Junji Koide.

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We obtained prior informed consent from all participants in the survey. The manuscript does not contain clinical studies or patient data.

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Koide, J., Tinga, B.I. Viability of smallholder dairy cattle management and its intensification strategies based on whole-farm analyses in southern Mozambique. Trop Anim Health Prod 53, 130 (2021).

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