The uptake of fodder shrubs among smallholders in East Africa: key elements that facilitate widespread adoption uri icon


  • Fodder shrubs are highly attractive to farmers as protein supplements for their dairy cows because they require little or no cash. Nor do they require land as they are grown along boundaries, pathways, and across the contour to curb soil erosion. But like many agroforestry and natural resource management practices, fodder shrubs are â??knowledge intensiveâ?�, that is, they require considerable skills that most farmers do not have such as raising seedlings in a nursery, pruning trees, and feeding the leaves to livestock. Because of the difficulty in acquiring knowledge and skills and at times, seed, the technology does not spread easily. Nevertheless, over the past 10 years, about 200,000 farmers in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and northern Tanzania have planted fodder shrubs, mostly to feed dairy cows. This paper highlights 5 key dissemination pathways that have facilitated widespread adoption: (1) large NGOs that promote fodder shrubs, (2) dissemination facilitators who train trainers and provide support to extension providers, (3) farmer-to-farmer dissemination led by a relatively few â??master disseminatorsâ??, (4) private seed vendors, and (5) civil society campaigns that bring together a range of different stakeholders to sensitize and train farmers. With formal extension systems in decline throughout Africa, research is needed to better understand how to make these dissemination pathways more efficient and effective for ensuring the sustained uptake of new knowledge intensive practices such as fodder shrubs

publication date

  • 2007