IJAIR NAAS Score : 3.99 ,ISSN : 2319-1473

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IJAIR NAAS Score : 3.99
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IJAIR NAAS Score : 3.99
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Sustainable Forage Production Strategies for Small Scale Livestock Production in Zimbabwe

Irenie C. Chakoma
This paper seeks to review current forage production strategies, constraints to and opportunities for small-scale livestock production in Zimbabwe. Crops and livestock form an integral component in providing food for the human population in rural areas of Zimbabwe. This has necessitated re-orientation in developing technical packages that integrate the two production systems. Food crops are produced for subsistence, livestock are raised to provide mainly draught power for crop cultivation, and other secondary outputs such as milk, meat, hides and manure. Existing forage production practices in the small scale farming areas of Zimbabwe depends on availability of resources such as land, capital, inputs and labour. Most farmers in these farming areas give priority to crop production and not much land is left fallow for forage production. Feed resources available for livestock are maize, groundnuts, soyabeans and cowpea stover. Forages produced for livestock are include napier grass, legume siratro and other indigenous species. Production of the forages also depends on management practices, that is, crop establishment, nutrient supply, weed and pest control, seed production, forage conservation and utilization. A major point for the cultivation of forages lies in their potential to provide improved quantity and quality feed to livestock and legumes improving soil fertility. Most research work on forage production has been conducted at research stations and of late efforts are being made to conduct them on-farm. Results from have been made to gather dust in office drawers instead of reaching the intended users. There is low adoption of forage production technology in the small scale farming sector as evidenced by poor management practices and low forage yields. A deeper understanding of the farming systems in these areas, farmers’ perceptions of forages and constraints limiting improved forage production is key to all research work. This entails identifying the clients of research, systems of disseminating research results to the appropriate beneficiaries and how research results are utilized. Strategies on utilization of research results involve institutional support, farmer training, farmer-to-farmer extension, farmer field schools, farmer participation in research work, identifying gender roles, costs involved and appropriateness of technologies under which the small scale farmers operate. Achieving agricultural sustainability in forage production for livestock is also a function of the social, economic and agro-ecological environment in which farmers are exposed to. Growth in forage production is inevitable and can reduce food insecurity through availability of livestock feed and soil fertility improvement while increasing farm incomes, employment and general farmer livelihood. The forage production strategies are also supported by the five Is for success and they include innovation (research and extension systems), infrastructure (road and transport systems), inputs (farm inputs, credit, irrigation water), institutions (markets and support services) and incentives (policies and trade).
Select Volume / Issue:
Year:
2012
Type of Publication:
Article
Keywords:
Forage Production; Livestock; Small Scale; Zimbabwe
Journal:
IJAIR
Volume:
1
Number:
3
Pages:
85-90
Month:
November
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