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Intensification of crop-livestock farming systems in East Africa: A comparison of                                         ...
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Intensification of crop-livestock farming systems in East Africa: A comparison of 3 sites in the highlands of Ethiopia and Kenya


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Poster prepared by Kindu Mekonnen, Alan Duncan, Diego Valbuena, Bruno Gerard, Dagnachew Lule, Mesfin Bahta and Gedion Rachier at the International Conference on “Challenges and Opportunities for Agricultural Intensification of the Humid Highland Systems of Sub-Saharan Africa”, Kigali, Rwanda, 24-27 October 2011.

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Intensification of crop-livestock farming systems in East Africa: A comparison of 3 sites in the highlands of Ethiopia and Kenya

  1. 1. Intensification of crop-livestock farming systems in East Africa: A comparison of 3 sites in the highlands of Ethiopia and Kenya Kindu Mekonnen, Alan Duncan, Diego Valbuena, Bruno Gerard (ILRI), Dagnachew Lule (Oromia Agricultural Research Institute), Mesfin Bahta (Amhara Regional Agricultural Research Institute) and Gedion Rachier (Kenya Agricultural Research Institute) 1. Introduction Small scale crop-livestock farms represent a large fraction of the rural population in the East African highlands. Yet, the level and pace of intensification vary among regions, villages and farms. Determinants for crop-livestock intensification include population increase, economic opportunities, cultural preferences, climatic events, lack of capital to purchase crop and livestock inputs and labour bottlenecks. The evolution of crop-livestock interactions in Sub-Saharan Africa follows four major phases. Those are pre intensification phase (crops and livestock are independent activities), the phase that corresponds to the emergence of crop-livestock interactions, diversification and specialization phases (Powell and Williams, 1993). Studying the level of crop-livestock intensification in the east African sites helps to identify gaps, opportunities and develop short to long term interventions. The objectives of this study were to (i) Fig 3. Distance of villages to market and other Fig 4. Crop residue transportation to compare the extent of crop-livestock intensification in terms of inputs utilization, and access to institutions. The number of villages for the study at markets in Nekemte and the surrounding markets and services, (ii) assess constraints of crop-livestock intensification, and (iii) explore options each site are eight. areas. to overcome constraints of the existing crop-livestock intensification in three sites in the highlands of Ethiopia and Kenya. (a) 2. Research methodologies Identified three sites in the two east African countries (Ethiopia and Kenya). Kobo and Nekemte sites represented the north eastern and western parts of Ethiopia whereas Kakamega represented the western parts of Kenya (Fig 1). Selected eight villages in each of the three sites based on market and road access: Near-Near: near to road, near to market; Near-Far: near to road, far from market; Far-Near: far from road, near to market; and Far-Far: far from road, far from market. Identified 10-20 farmers in each village to respond as a group during the final village survey. Fig 5. Access of villagers to (a) livestock and (b) crop extension experts in the three east African sites. Considered a total of 24 villages in the three sites. Fig 1. Location map of Ethiopia and Kenya 3. Results Table 1. Characteristics of the three study sites in east Africa. Kobo Nekemte Kakamega Altitude 1416-1634 1748-2418 1426-1719 Major soil types Vertisol Nitisol Oxisol Mean annual rainfall (mm) 768 1037 2009 o Mean annual temp ( C) 30 29 28 Total village population 330-2250 196-391 400-5000 Fig 6. Main constraints of (a) crop and (b) livestock production in the three east African sites. Total village HHs 66-450 35-70 80-1200 Total village land (ha) 77-910 74-164 200-900 Total cultivated land (ha) 66-280 61-149 160-810 Major crops sorghum, teff maize, teff maize, beans 4. Discussion TLU (tropical livestock unit) 141-1004 69-213 121-673 Villages in Kakamega and Nekemte receive adequate annual rainfall that can contribute to crop- livestock intensification (Table 1). About 10 % of the households in Kakamega keep crossbred cattle whereas all the households in Table 2. Land allocated (ha) for growing crops in the rainy season and households keeping cattle (%) at the three east African sites. Kobo and Nekemte keep only indigenous cattle (Table 2). The percentages of households that apply chemical fertilizers in Nekemte and Kakamega are quite Kobo Nekemte Kakamega significant when compared to the Kobo site (Fig 2a). High rainfall, the nature of the soil type (P- Cropping systems fixing) and the production systems are pressing farmers to apply chemical fertilizers and sustain cereals 963 (97) 581 (74) 1238 (31) productivity of crops in the two sites. legumes 19 (2) 13 (2) 859 (22) oil crops nd 54 (7) nd Dry fodder (crop residues + stubble grazing) and green fodder (Napier grass + crop residues) cover hort. crops 5 (1) 24 (3) 1776 (44) 99 and 78 % of ruminant dry season feed intake in Kobo and Kakamega sites (Fig 2b). fallow nd 107 (14) 133 (3) Villages in Nekemte are distant from input and output markets (Fig 3), and have poor road Households keeping cattle (%) infrastructures. As a result, smallholder farmers depend on inefficient forms of input and output cross breeds 0.0 0.0 9.6 transportation systems (Fig 4). indigenous breeds 100.0 100.0 90.4 Villagers in Kobo and Nekemte meet crop and livestock extension experts and get their advise nd refers no data Numbers in parentheses represent percent of area coverage. regularly (Fig 5a and b). The allocation of 3-4 development agents (DAs ) at Kebele level is one of the reasons for improved information exchange between farmers and DAs in the Ethiopian sites. Intensification of crop production is constrained by weeds, diseases and pests, and high input and low output prices whereas livestock production is limited mainly by feed shortage, diseases, and endo and ectoparasites (Fig 6a and b). (a) (b) 5. Conclusion and recommendations The three study sites in east Africa are found at different crop-livestock intensification level because of variability in rainfall, adoption of crop and livestock technologies, and access to input/output markets. Dealing with some of the constraints that affect crop and livestock production could lead to a more sustainable intensification of crop-livestock farming in the East African highlands. 6. References Powell, J.M. and Williams, T.O. 1993. An overview of mixed farming systems in sub-Saharan Africa: Fig 2. Use of (a) cropping technologies and (b) dry season lives feed sources in the 3 east African sites. International Livestock Centre for Africa. Livestock and sustainable nutrient cycling in mixed farming systems of sub- Saharan Africa. Volume II: technical papers. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.RESEARCH POSTER PRESENTATION DESIGN ©