Taro, Colocasia esculenta, and other fodder sources for backyard pig husbandry in northern Vietnam
Abstract, The 1st International Conference on Animal Nutrition and Environment, September 14-15, 2012
The objective of this study is to report the diversity of fodder plants used in a village at the edge of Ba Vi National Park, about 70 km west of Hanoi city. Our report is based on interviews with householders and direct observation of pig fodder usage in each household. The research was conducted in August 2012 (middle wet season). Many households grow paddy rice for home consumption and maize in hillside areas for pig feed. Collecting bamboo shoots and medical plants also seems to be an important source of cash income. Most villagers keep about 1-3 sows and piglets in a pig house in their backyard. Pigs are usually fed three times per day (morning, mid-day, and evening). They mix locally available rice bran, maize flour, and leafy fodder plants to feed their pigs. At least six kinds of fodder plants were seen: sweetpotato leaf and runners (Ipomoea batatas), banana stem (Musa acuminata), water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica), taro leaf (Colocasia esculenta), and yautia leaf (Xanthosoma saggitifolium). These leafy fodder plants are mostly obtained from the home garden of each household. Special ingredients may also be added according to the condition of individual pigs. Taro leaf is commonly used, and seems to be an important fodder material. The methods used to prepare taro leaf vary, but always include chopping and boiling of the whole leaf (blade and petiole). These treatments reduce the acridity of the taro leaf for pigs. To understand backyard pig keeping systems better, attention needs to be given to the full diversity of plants used as fodder, the diversity of methods used for their production and preparation, and the reasons for their use, in different soci l and economic contexts.