New varieties of high-quality, drought-resistant forage grasses could boost milk production by 40 percent and generate millions of dollars in economic benefits for struggling East African dairy farmers, according to a new analysis by experts at CIAT.
“Farmers could benefit more from surging consumer demand for livestock products in East Africa,” said Dr. Steven Prager, a senior scientist at the Center. “Our research shows that brachiaria grasses could be the cornerstone of productive and resilient livestock systems that quickly provide more milk and money for small-scale dairy farmers.”
Prager is co-author of the new CIAT study that assessed benefits that could accrue to East African dairy producers from adopting new varieties of a pasture grass called brachiaria. The grasses were developed by CIAT plant breeders to survive harsh growing conditions, while providing considerable nutritional benefits for livestock.
The CIAT analysis focused on the additional milk and money they could deliver for an estimated two million small-scale dairy farmers across Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. It found that investing in forage quality – and in getting new forages to farmers – can be a low risk investment likely to generate benefits in the order of tens of millions of dollars.
See selected related news stories:
- Africa Science News: New Drought-Resistant Pasture Grass to boost African livestock farmers yields, income
- African Eye Report (Ghana): Report: New Drought-Resistant Pasture Grass Could Boost Milk Production
- Daily Nation (Kenya): Scientists develop new brachiaria grass varieties
- Daily News (Tanzania): New Forage Grass Varieties Seen to Be Money Maker in Dairy Industry
- Dairy Technologist (Kenya): Brachiaria Grass: Holy Grail of Dairy Farming Increases Milk Production by 40%
- Guardian (Tanzania): Study recommends dairy farmers use of brachiaria grass
- Philippines News Agency: Scientists develop drought resistant grass variety for East Africa
- SciDev.Net (English): Forage grass could spur milk production by 40 per cent
- SciDev.Net (French): Elevage : une variété de fourrage pour produire plus de lai
- Ventures Africa: Why the diet of a milk-producing cow should be the most important priority of any dairy farmer
- Voice of America TV: Drought Tolerant Grass Boosts Milk and Meat Production
- Xinhua (English): Scientists develop drought resistant grass variety for East Africa
- Xinhua (Spanish): Científicos desarrollan variedad de pasto resistente a sequía para este de Africa