On 26-29 Jan 2015, a “Forages for Africa” meeting was held at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University in the UK. The meeting, organised by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and IBERS brought together partners around the Forages for Africa initiative. Participants included researchers from Colombia, the UK, and Central and East African countries, and key sponsors and donors.
The Forages for Africa program responds to the increasing demand for meat and dairy produce in East Africa by enhancing livestock productivity. It aims to introduce well-adapted tropical forages into crop-livestock farming systems and thereby enhance the quality, volume and availability of livestock feeds. It will ensure that the introduction of new farming methods is culturally sensitive and adaptable, particularly in respect to the role of women in small-holder farming.
The long-term impacts of these activities include:
- increasing smallholder farm incomes by offering farmers enhanced productivity and competitive products at market
- improving environmental health through both animal and human consumption of enhanced products
- regeneration of degraded land by means of progressive and sensitive introduction of forage species
The development of the Forages for Africa program has been well-received in principle by a range of national and international organisations but until now, no formal request for funding has been made.
Feeds and forages are important and have a direct impact in the entire livestock production system. They can increase the quality and quantity of meat and dairy produce and affect the amount of methane emitted from ruminants. The Livestock and Fish CGIAR Research Program feeds and forages flagship aims to address the various animal feed and forages challenges in specific target countries.
From the Livestock and Fish Program, Tom Randolph, program director, Amos Omore, value chain coordinator for Tanzania, Michael Peters, CIAT representative for the Livestock and Fish program, CIAT is a Livestock and Fish CGIAR partner mandated with forages research and An Notenbaert, Systems Analysis for Sustainable Innovations Flagship leader as well as one of the workshop organizers, participated at the event. ILRI’s Jean Hanson and Sita Ghimire (ILRI-BecA) also participated at the event.