Press release: New livestock-based initiative launched for better livelihoods, nutrition and gender inclusion in the Northwest Highlands of Vietnam

A two-day workshop, 20-21 April 2022, kicked off the One-CGIAR initiative on Sustainable Animal Productivity for Livelihoods, Nutrition and Gender Inclusion (or SAPLING) in Son La Province, Northwest Vietnam. The workshop brought together about 80 key stakeholders from Son La province including local authorities, farmers, private sector actors and the research program team to find ways to transform the livestock sector in Northwest Vietnam and make it more productive, resilient, equitable and sustainable.

In Son La Province, ethnic minority people, who account for a majority of the province’s population, experience the province’s highest levels of poverty, malnutrition and gender inequality. Though their livelihoods are critically dependent on agriculture, this sector, especially livestock production, faces several key challenges including low productivity and efficiency, poor animal husbandry, inefficient food safety management, nutrition insecurity, low decision-making power for ethnic minorities, women and youth, limited market access and low market competitiveness. SAPLING offers several solutions to address these challenges and will contribute to the recently approved national livestock strategy for 2021–2030 that emphasizes sustainable development, competitiveness enhancement, diseases and environment protection and food safety and quality improvement. SAPLING initiative aims to enable farmers of pigs, beef cattle and chickens to participate in inclusive value chains to achieve sustainable productivity gains.

A farmer is feeding her cattle in Mai Son District, Son La Province (photo credit: Luong Van Dung).

‘SAPLING emphasizes a co-design approach and seeks to engage with both public and private sector partners, throughout the initiative cycle, to co-create and co-deliver demand-driven innovation packages for inclusive and sustainable livestock value chains, in the Northwest Highlands of Vietnam’ said Mary Otieno, the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT (ABC) scientist and SAPLING Vietnam country lead.

This meeting was convened to enhance implementation of the SAPLING initiative. In the first day of the workshop, scientists shared an introduction to the SAPLING initiative and to the targeted value chains of pigs, beef and chicken. The country team then worked with partners to co-develop the Theory of Change (TOC) (aims, outcomes and priority innovation packages) for the coming three years, including priority sites for the initiative.

In the second day of the workshop, participants reviewed and finalized the TOC (identify gaps, actors and assumptions), discussed plans to prioritize innovations using trade-off analysis and scaling readiness assessment, and agreed on the roles and responsibilities and a calendar of key activities.

Recommendations and outputs from the workshop are crucial for the SAPLING team in defining the initiative design, workplan and project sites.

Fred Unger, regional representative for the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in East and Southeast Asia said ‘We are working to improve livelihoods, farmers ability to adapt to a changing climate and inclusiveness through livestock in Son La and the northwest of Vietnam. The project is unique in that it tackles interlinked challenges in a systems approach looking at animal health, animal genetics, feed and forages, nutrition and value chains. The project builds upon the work of the Lichan project. We are committed to supporting the local authorities and local community in transforming the livestock sector for better lives of people. ILRI together with ABC looks forward to greater collaboration with national and international partners.

SAPLING is among 32 initiatives funded by One CGIAR designed to achieve a world with sustainable and resilient food, land and water systems to deliver more diverse, healthy, safe, sufficient and affordable diets, and ensure improved livelihoods and greater social equality, within planetary and regional environmental boundaries. SAPLING aims to enable one million livestock producers (half of them women) of cattle, chickens, small ruminants and pigs to engage in inclusive value chains and achieve sustainable productivity gains of 30–50% by 2024. Vietnam is one of seven focus countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Nepal, Tanzania, Uganda) identified as part of the initiative. In Vietnam, the initiative is coordinated by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI),the Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT (ABC).


For the editor

CGIAR is a global agricultural research partnership for a food-secure future. Its research is carried out by 15 research centres in collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations

Moving towards ‘One CGIAR’

One CGIAR is a dynamic reformulation of CGIAR’s partnerships, knowledge, assets, and global presence, aiming for greater integration and impact in the face of the interdependent challenges facing today’s world.

The overarching objectives and principles guiding the transition have been set and we are now undertaking an inclusive and consultative process of co-creation to define the destination in further detail, and the transition pathway to reach it. For more information:

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) works with partners worldwide to enhance the roles that livestock play in food security and poverty alleviation, principally in Africa and Asia. ILRI’s mission is to improve food and nutritional security and to reduce poverty in developing countries through research for efficient, safe and sustainable use of livestock—ensuring better lives through livestock.

The Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) delivers research-based solutions that harness agricultural biodiversity and sustainably transform food systems to improve people’s lives. Alliance solutions address the global crises of malnutrition, climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation.