Drought-resistant grass to spur milk production by 40 per cent, a report says
Struggling East African dairy farmers could benefit from new varieties of high-quality, drought-resistant forage grass known as Brachiaria that boosts milk production by 40 per cent," Improved Forages and Milk Production in East Africa" , a new report says.
The forage grass could enable farmers to increase their incomes, according to experts at the Colombia-headquartered International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) – a CGIAR Research Center.
Steven Prager, a co-author of the report — which was published last month — and a senior scientist in integrated modelling at the CIAT, says the report was based on many years of forage research in Latin America and the Caribbean, and recent field trials in Kenya and Rwanda from 2011 to 2016.
According to Prager, the study demonstrates the high potential for improved forages in East Africa and high payoff for investment in improved forages.
“The results are based on multiple scenarios of an economic surplus model with inputs derived from a combination of databases, feedback from subject matter experts and a literature review,” he explains, adding that the economic analysis was carried out at CIAT headquarters with the support of tropical forage experts in East Africa.
“The objective of this study was to understand the potential payoff for investment in action to improve dissemination and use of improved forages,” Prager tells SciDev.Net.
One of the big unknowns in the development and implementation of agricultural technology, according to Prager, is how many potential users are required to make it worthwhile to invest in the development and designation of different technologies.