Track 1-02

Description

Animal feed resources remain a major constraint for livestock development in tropical Africa. In Rwanda, grazing lands are shrinking sharply because crop cultivation is progressively encroaching on grazing areas with increasing human pressure (Mutimura and Everson 2011). Therefore, over 60% of households cultivating less than 0.7 ha, and owning livestock, practise zero-grazing, where farmers cut-and-carry forage and crop residues to feed animals that are kept exclusively under sheds (MINAGRI 2009). In general, the main feed for dairy cattle under a zero-grazing system is Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum). For more than a decade, efforts to improve the feed resource base and feeding management have been based on the introduction, characterisation and evaluation of exotic forage species, including grasses and legumes. The main aim of this study was to identify and document the status of improved forages as animal feed resources and for use in environmental protection in Rwanda.

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Status of Animal Feed Resources in Rwanda

Animal feed resources remain a major constraint for livestock development in tropical Africa. In Rwanda, grazing lands are shrinking sharply because crop cultivation is progressively encroaching on grazing areas with increasing human pressure (Mutimura and Everson 2011). Therefore, over 60% of households cultivating less than 0.7 ha, and owning livestock, practise zero-grazing, where farmers cut-and-carry forage and crop residues to feed animals that are kept exclusively under sheds (MINAGRI 2009). In general, the main feed for dairy cattle under a zero-grazing system is Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum). For more than a decade, efforts to improve the feed resource base and feeding management have been based on the introduction, characterisation and evaluation of exotic forage species, including grasses and legumes. The main aim of this study was to identify and document the status of improved forages as animal feed resources and for use in environmental protection in Rwanda.