Sheep are grazing in an area that is drying out in Ninh Thuan province (Photo: VNA)

Ninh Thuan (VNA) – Officials from the agriculture sector and some provinces gathered at a recent workshop in Ninh Thuan province to discuss ways to sustainably develop goat and sheep farming and adapt it to climate change.

Goat and sheep farming in Vietnam has developed strongly over the years, according to the Department of Livestock Husbandry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

About 2.7 million goats and sheep had been raised nationwide as of October 2017, up 28.6 percent year on year. In the coastal central region, the country’s goat and sheep farming hub, Ninh Thuan province is the biggest centre with 54 percent (more than 138,000) of total goats and 96 percent (some 160,000) of total sheep.

Nguyen Van Bac, an official from the National Agriculture Extension Centre, said in some provinces like Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Phu Yen and Dak Lak in the central region, and Tra Vinh, Tay Ninh and Dong Thap in the south, goat and sheep farming models have been generating high profits.

However, small-scale production using traditional methods, a shortage of production and consumption links, plus increasingly serious climate change impacts, have been affecting goat and sheep production.

Ha Thuy Hanh, Deputy Director of the centre, said climate change has had major impacts on animal husbandry development. Farming in many localities considered goat and sheep production centres has shown signs of becoming stagnant, even shrinking.

She added in some provinces, prolonged drought and natural food shortages over the years have killed many goats and sheep, causing big losses for farmers.

Echoing this view, Director of Ninh Thuan’s agriculture extension centre Nguyen Tin said climate change has greatly influenced local animal husbandry. The province has recorded animal deaths due to water and food shortages every year. Notably, more than 5,900 head of livestock died due to drought from early 2015 through the summer-autumn crop of 2016. Water scarcity has also killed about 120 head of livestock, including more than 100 goats and sheep, in Ninh Thuan since April.

At the workshop, many participants said the biggest problem is finding resilient breeds, asking the agriculture ministry to propose the Government allocate funding to import goat and sheep breeds from countries with climate conditions like Vietnam.

They called on the Department of Livestock Husbandry and the National Agriculture Extension Centre to select good breeds in each locality for cross-breeding.

They also urged building more support policies and production chains, controlling quality from breeds to final products and ensuring benefits for both farmers and businesses. 

In the face of expanding industrial and energy projects, localities need to set aside areas for animal farming, find climate change-resistant plants to use as food for livestock and develop animal product processing factories, participants added.-VNA