The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has just approved a small grant to the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) for a project entitled the ‘potential farm to landscape impact and adoption of forage technologies in smallholder dairy production systems in Tanzania.’ The project will start in January 2015 and run for two years. It is aligned to the CGIAR research program on livestock and fish.
The overall project goal is to improve the productivity and livelihoods of smallholder dairy farmers with minimum trade-offs for the environment through increased adoption of improved forage technologies. It will raise awareness among stakeholders (development organizations, policy makers, farmers) about potential impacts of forage technologies on productivity, environment, and livelihoods and adoption potential and barriers so that they can better target their interventions.
The first step in the project is to classify the crop-livestock systems with special regard to feeding systems, using existing household datasets, feeding system assessment and newly collected data. The aim is to quantify feeding baskets and feeding gaps, thereby identifying bottlenecks and entry points and providing necessary input data for modeling efforts.
In a second step, environmental effects of forage technologies will be assessed at farm to landscape level. The ‘CropSyst’ model will be used to simulate the growth and yield of crops in response to soil and climatic conditions under a range of environmental effectsm, including soil C dynamics, N2O emissions, N leaching, soil erosion and soil water dynamics. Methane emissions can be modeled with the Ruminant model of CSIRO Australia. The farm level environmental information will be integrated in whole farm trade-off modeling to assess potential multi-dimensional impacts of forage technologies, e.g. using the whole farm model FarmDESIGN hosted by Wageningen University. Similar trade-off analysis will be conducted at landscape level using spatial data, GIS software and modeling tools such as LandscapeIMAGE from Wageningen University.
CIAT and partner staff and students will be trained in all modeling approaches. The Tanzanian Livestock Research Institute (TALIRI) will assist in following up and agronomic and soil data collection from forage trials. They will further take the leading role in capacity building of farmers and extension staff in establishment, maintenance, utlization and conservation of improved forages through training and exchange visits.
Moreover, TALIRI will continue to strengthen the already established feed Innovation Platforms (IPs) by actively engaging all stakeholders along the dairy value chain.
The third output will focus on the adoption potential of forage technologies, and will use a qualitative participatory expert-based assessment approach called QAToCA (delivered by ZALF – the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research in Germany). The adapted version of QAToCA for forage technologies will specifically focus on analyzing the influence innovations, stakeholder capacities, institutional conditions, markets and gender on adoption potential of forage technologies.
The project will interact closely with the dairy platforms of the Livestock and Fish program in Tanzania. Livestock and Fish scientists are participating in different dairy development platforms at national, regional and local level and there is active demand from stakeholders for science-supported development interventions.
The project complements ongoing projects, mainly a) the MilkIT project, which ends in December 2014 and has established participatory on-farm trials with farmers in Tanga and Morogoro provinces; b) the CLEANED project, which finishes at the end of 2014 and established a framework for ex-ante environmental impact assessment of smallholder dairy interventions; c) the Sustainable intensification through forages project which started in July 2014, mainly aiming at assessing potential environmental and productivity impacts of forage interventions at plot to farm level; and the d) the MoreMilkiT project which focuses on value chain aspects (commercialization, institutions, business models, and livelihoods of dairy development.
More information from Ms. Birthe Paul (CIAT)