Livestock feed resources: Current production and management practices in central and northern rift valley provinces of Kenya
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Lukuyu B, Franzel S, Ongadi P.M. and Duncan A.J. 2011. Livestock feed resources: Current production and management practices in central and northern rift valley provinces of Kenya. Livestock Research for Rural Development. Volume 23(5), Article #112.
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Smallholder dairy farmers in developing countries face many feed constraints such as inadequate feed quality and quantity, poor storage facilities for feed conservation as well as insufficient water. However, feeding of livestock continues to pose many problems due to lack of information on composition and utilization of locally available feed resources. These problems are aggravated by lack of access to and high cost of feed inputs. The use of cheap and readily available local feed resources has great potential to increase livestock productivity. The East African Dairy Development project in Kenya, through use of various participatory rapid appraisal tools conducted a rapid appraisal study of three project areas. The objective was to assess feeds and feeding practices in smallholder dairy systems, identify feed resources available year round and where the gaps are as well as to determine what practices are available for improving production and utilization of feed resources in order to raise smallholder dairy production. Established opportunities for improvement include on-farm production and utilization of fodder, efficient storage, processing and utilization of crop residues, pasture improvement, appropriate water harvesting technologies, formulation of feed rations amongst small scale farmers, small scale feed conservation as well as development of fodder markets. Given the complex farming system within which smallholder farmers operate, changes are needed in both the technologies used for improving feeds and feeding systems and in the institutional and policy arrangements surrounding feed supply. In addition, technical interventions need to be developed in a participatory manner along with farmers and other stakeholders within the system to make them relevant and sustainable.