Documenting past feed-related interventions in Tanzania

In Tanzania, we performed a literature search and key informant interviews to compile information on successes and failures of past and current feed-related interventions for dairy production. This compilation should help us to learn and revise our approach to technology dissemination strategies for development. We also expect to learn that sometimes institutional/organizational interventions may have larger effect(s) than technological interventions. A summary table is available.

An abstract on "Past dairy feeding interventions and lessons learnt in Tanzania" authored by A.E. Kimambo et al. has been accepted for poster presentation by the 6th All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture (AACAA) in Nairobi, 27-30 Oct. 2014; the respective draft article will be posted here soon.

G.H. Laswai et al. summarized "Perceptions of dairy producers on feed availability and milk production in selected areas of Tanzania" from the dairy value chain assessments led by the MoreMilkiT project, in which MilkIT collaborated.

Experimenting with different feed technologies in Tanzania

Improved cultivars of Napier grass for zero-grazing in Lushoto

After some technical training, members of the village innovation platforms in Lushoto experimented with new Napier grass varieties since early 2014, particularly those that are resistant to the Napier Stunt Disease (see under Innovation Platforms). They planted demonstration plots, but also farmers individually planted the grass.

During the last week of October 2014, a participatory assessment has been conducted with farmers in Lushoto. A brief summary on preliminary results was prepared by Fred Wassena.

Improving dry-season feed reserves of agro-pastoralists

Agro-pastoralists practice rotational grazing during the rainy season months, whereby animals can graze in one area at a time, while standing hay is conserved in other areas. Or traditional fodder banks are protected, known to be used during the dry season when there is feed scarcity, normally the months of August to October. These traditional dry-season forage reserves are usually fenced off with traditional materials and only utilized during dry season. In Tanzania, there is a variety of names used for these reserves differing with zone and tribe, for example as follows:
  • Ololili’, also spelled ‘Olalili’ or ‘Alalili’ (Mwilawa, 2000; Mapinduzi et al., 2003; Goldman and Riosmena, 2013)
  • ‘Olokeri’ / ‘Olopololi’ in northern Tanzania (Maasai)
  • ‘Ngitili’ or ‘Ngitiri’ in Shinyanga (Otsyina et al., 1997)

Similar dry-season reserves exist in other parts of eastern Africa, for example ‘Ekwar’ and ‘Amaiire’ in Turkana district of Kenya (Blomley et al., 2007); or 'Kalo' in the Borana lowlands of Kenya (Gemedo Dalle et al., 2006).

We aimed at improving forage availability longer into the dry season in agro-pastoralist dry-season feed reserves by introducing Buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris) and forage legumes such as Stylosanthes scabra cv. Seca and S. hamata cv. Verano. Due to unexpected drought and subsequent local water logging, establishment was partly poor. As the high climate variability reflects everyday’s life for pastoralists, adaptive research is required to identify the best improved forages and optimal way of their establishment in the existing enclosures.

Also, livestock keepers need to first agree on their own regulations/bylaws to not put the improved Ololili at risk by uncontrolled grazing, especially by goats and sheep. This indicates the need for multi-disciplinary research rather than working on technical solutions alone. Deeper understanding of Ololili ownership, management, decision making and use of benefits is still required to drive this concept further. If successful, this approach may also reduce existing land conflicts between pastoralists and crop farmers, becoming a stepping stone towards intensification in these extensive areas.

Scoping study of Ololili

In late October 2014, we conducted a scoping study of Ololili in Morogoro Region (interviews with 38 participants). The questionnaire used for the study is available here. A brief summary on preliminary results was prepared by Fred Wassena.

In Morogoro Region, about 40% of households in the area were estimated to have Ololili, with 1 (-2) Ololili privately owned by the majority and about 10 acres (i.e., 4 ha) each. It was said that the larger herd goes away in search of pasture for 6 and more months. However, it appeared that women were less in charge of Ololili than assumed as the (male) household head would usually also stay at the homestead and rather younger men were going with the larger herd. The most important challenge mentioned by respondents was uncontrolled, illegal grazing in the Ololili by disrespecting fences and traditional regulations.

References especially on Ololili

Feed conservation in Lushoto

Making hay and silage from grass

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