Constraints and options to enhancing production of high quality feeds in dairy production in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda uri icon

abstract

  • Dairy production provides a unique development strategy as a source of livelihood for most smallholder farmers not only providing income through milk sales but also, milk for home consumption. Other important benefits include manure as an input to arable production and livestock as a reserve for cash for investment. Dairy production is mainly constrained by limited availability and access to high quality feeds especially during the dry season. The aim of the present study, conducted in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda during the year 2008, was to identify the feed resources available year round, where the gaps are and what is available to address these. The study areas were classified into geographical clusters. Consequently 3, 4 and 3 clusters were identified in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda respectively. Mixed farming/ dairy production systems dominated the study areas in Kenya while in Uganda, coffee-banana systems, banana-cotton farming system and agro-pastoral systems dominated the study areas. Study areas in Rwanda were mainly agro-pastoral systems. The study involved a rapid assessment of feed resources using semi-structured questionnaires with farmer groups and key informants. In the light of constraints and opportunities identified by the study, several strategies and technological options to improve availability and access to high quality feeds were identified and are briefly discussed. These included strategies to widen the feed resource base and increase acreages of fodder, promote feed conservation, utilize low quality crop residues, control bush and improve natural pastures and improve calf rearing and nutrition. Other important non-technological options such as organizational/institutional and policy-level interventions have also been highlighted. These include promoting and strengthening feed markets and forage seed systems, creating an enabling policy environment and introducing the innovation systems approach to foster change. Feed production therefore needs to be stimulated to enhance dairy output in all three study countries although the nature of the interventions may vary according to the country under study

publication date

  • 2009