Maziwa Zaidi (More Milk) in Tanzania―Best-bet technologies and innovations: Brachiaria grass for improved livestock productivity

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Information about Maziwa Zaidi (More Milk) in Tanzania―Best-bet technologies and...

Published on October 15, 2019

Author: ILRI


1. Maziwa Zaidi (More Milk) in Tanzania: Best-bet Technologies and Innovations Brachiaria Grass for Improved Livestock Productivity Sita Ghimire, Collins Mutai and Leah Kago Key messages and solutions • Brachiaria is a native African grass that produces high amounts of high-quality biomass. It increases the availability of quality forage and improve the livestock productivity. • Bracharia is adapted to drought and low fertility soils, sequesters atmospheric carbon dioxide, protects soil from erosion, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. • It lessens carbon footprint of livestock production system. Opportunities and benefits • Significant benefits of Brachiaria grass on livestock productivity and income of farmers. • Brachiaria cultivars for East Africa and methods for seedling production and hay making are available. • Brachiaria provides income generation opportunities for women, youth and people with limited assets. • Brachiaria grass has been upscaled by various programs in Africa. There is high demand for Brachiaria seeds – an opportunity for private sector. Pictures Suitability • Brachiaria can grownin all types of soils that support plant growth and development. It requires annual rainfall of 800 mm and above; it grows well at altitudes from zero to 2400 m. It is susceptible to frost. Evidence • Introduction of Brachiaria grass extended forage availability up to 3 dry months in Kenya and Rwanda. • Feeding cows on Brachiaria grass increased milk production between 15 to 40% more than those fed on local forages. • Feeding heifers on Brachiaria grass + concentrate increased body weight gain over 50% more than those fed on Napier grass + concentrate. • Production of Brachiaria hay and planting materials has emerged as new agribusiness for youths and women in the region. In Kenya, a bale of 18-20 kg hay costs KSh 250 to 350 and a Brachiaria seedling cost KSh 2 to 10 in Kenya. March 2017 Problem statement • Shortage of livestock feed both in quantity and quality is major factor contributing to low livestock productivity in East Africa. • Intensification of livestock production system is necessary to meet growing demands for animal-source food in the region. • Brachiaria grass has played key roles in transforming livestock sectors across the tropics except in Africa. This document has a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence. October 2019 Maziwa Zaidi thanks all donors and organizations which globally support the work of ILRI and its partners through their contributions to the CGIAR system

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