Improving the value of maize as livestock feed to enhance the livelihoods of maize-livestock farmers in East Africa
[Slp_project_cimmyt05maize] <p> full title: "Improving the value of maize as livestock feed to enhance the livelihoods of maize-livestock farmers in East Africa" <p> Feed shortages prevent many of the poorest farmers in East Africa from building better livelihoods. Improved dualpurpose crops that provide higher grain yields as well as better fodder quantity and quality can play an important role in mitigating against feed scarcity without requiring additional land and water. Maize is an important staple crop in East African mixed crop–livestock systems. The project Improving the value of maize as livestock feed to enhance the livelihoods of maize-livestock farmers in East Africa targets maize for grain and stover though a multidimensional crop improvement approach. <p> The project was conceived as an inter-centre collaboration between the International Livestock Research Centre (ILRI) and the International Center for the Improvement of Maize and Wheat (CIMMYT). It brings socio- economists together with crop improvement and livestock scientists. The specific objective was to match new maize cultivars to farmers’ needs by including stover fodder traits into maize improvement programmes in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. Farmer’s perceptions were obtained through participatory rural appraisals in maize-growing areas selected for contrasting population densities, livestock numbers and alternative feed resources. <p> The findings from the project will inform the seed industry about the most preferred cultivar types in areas where livestock is important. New cultivars will match farmers’ needs better in mixed crop–livestock systems. Impact modelling of household incomes has shown that substantial increases in income are possible through higher milk and stover sales facilitated by new maize cultivars improved for grain as well as stover yield and quality.