Vanuatu livestock industry uses forecasts to counter climate change

29/09/2011

<p style="text-align: justify;">Climate change is beginning to take its toll on Vanuatu’s significant livestock industry. Some of its effects include heat stress that comes with increasing temperatures and daily extremes;<!--more--> lower meat, milk and egg productivity; increased animal deaths from storms and cyclones; loss of grazing pastures and animal feed from wild fire and drought.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Countering these changes is a key priority of the sector. The Vanuatu Livestock Department is working with the Animal Health &amp; Production Thematic group of SPC to come up with answers. Last month the SPC organised a regional workshop in Fiji to discuss and identify climate change adaptation solutions for livestock, including pigs, cattle (beef and dairy), chickens, sheep and goats as well as another workshop in Vanuatu earlier this month.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The workshops focused on enabling farmers to use seasonal forecasts to make livestock management decisions. They made recommendations to improve productivity by considering erosion control, improved climate tolerant pasture grass species, the design and layout of animal pens for shade and shelter, and even the establishment of integrated livestock and forestry production.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The farming community will also begin to provide dry shelter for pigs and chickens ensuring food supply even during the heaviest rains. They also plan to tether animals such as bullocks and goats in areas that do not flood. Over the next three months, farmers and experts will be on the lookout for outbreaks of animal diseases such as hoof rot and skin diseases, which occur more frequently in wet weather.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Every month the farmers are advised a three-month rainfall outlook and the country is expected to get a normal to above normal monsoon until December.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The Vanuatu National Provident Fund (VNPF) is a major investor in the livestock sector and has the wellbeing of the industry at heart.</p>
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<p style="text-align: justify;">Photo / vanuatubeef.com</p>

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