Track 1-11

Description

Silage adoption has so far been low in the tropics, particularly under smallholder conditions. Innovation and adoption processes of silage technologies were promoted in drought-constrained areas of Honduras using a flexible, site-specific and participatory research and extension approach. A total of about 250 farmers participated in training workshops and field days conducted in 13 locations. Smallholders successfully ensiled maize, sorghum and/or Pennisetum spp. mainly in heap and earth siloswhereas little bag silage (LBS) adoption was low. LBS proved useful as a demonstration, experimentation and learning tool. A ‘silage boom’ occurred in five locations where favourable adoption conditions included the presence of demonstration farms and involvement of key innovators, lack of alternative dry season feeds, perceived benefits of silage feeding, a favourable milk market and both extension continuity and intensity. The lack of chopping equipment was the main reason for non-adoption by low-income smallholders. The study showed that when targeting production systems needs and farmer demands, silage promotion can lead to significant adoption, including at smallholder level, in the tropics. This experience could contribute to increase the effectiveness and sustainability of silage extension in similar situations elsewhere.

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Lessons from Silage Adoption Studies in Honduras

Silage adoption has so far been low in the tropics, particularly under smallholder conditions. Innovation and adoption processes of silage technologies were promoted in drought-constrained areas of Honduras using a flexible, site-specific and participatory research and extension approach. A total of about 250 farmers participated in training workshops and field days conducted in 13 locations. Smallholders successfully ensiled maize, sorghum and/or Pennisetum spp. mainly in heap and earth siloswhereas little bag silage (LBS) adoption was low. LBS proved useful as a demonstration, experimentation and learning tool. A ‘silage boom’ occurred in five locations where favourable adoption conditions included the presence of demonstration farms and involvement of key innovators, lack of alternative dry season feeds, perceived benefits of silage feeding, a favourable milk market and both extension continuity and intensity. The lack of chopping equipment was the main reason for non-adoption by low-income smallholders. The study showed that when targeting production systems needs and farmer demands, silage promotion can lead to significant adoption, including at smallholder level, in the tropics. This experience could contribute to increase the effectiveness and sustainability of silage extension in similar situations elsewhere.