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Barriers to uptake of improved feeding strategies: Reflections


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Presented by Werner Stür at the Africa-RISING Quick Feed Project Inception Workshop, Addis Ababa, 7-8 May 2012

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Barriers to uptake of improved feeding strategies: Reflections

  1. 1. Barriers to uptake of improved feeding strategies Reflections by Werner StürAfrica-RISING Quick Feed Project Inception Workshop, Addis 1 Ababa, 7-8 May 2012
  2. 2. Structure of presentation• An agronomist’s point of view• Why is it not so simple?• What approach should we take?• Which tools are available?• Conclusions 2
  3. 3. An agronomist’s point of view Current situation  Production system (draught, capital preservation, risk management, not used to regular income)  Condition of animals (many are thin and in poor body condition, poor reproductive performance, low milk yields)  Feeding systems inadequate for good animal growth (competition for scarce community grazing resources is getting stronger, stubble grazing, crop residues, general lack of feed and insufficient quality)  Potential for improvements 3
  4. 4. An agronomist’s point of view (# 2) Future scenario  Urbanization and rising living standards will increase demand for meat and milk  Increasing labour cost will necessitate change to less labour intensive practices  Mechanization will reduce need for draught animals  Livestock prices are relatively stable compared to crops  Potential for increased livestock production 4
  5. 5. An agronomist’s point of view (# 3) There are technical solutions  A little more feed per animal would go a long way to improving animal productivity  Options: Reduce the number of animals, improve herd structure or grow additional feed  Forages: Introduce forage legumes to improve diet quality; or grasses to increase available feed quantity  Grow specific fodder crops  Strategic feeding of available feed resources – smarter use 5
  6. 6. Why is it not so simple? Technologies are seldom simple  Need to identify suitable technologies (and practices) for different situations  Often there are additional conditions for success  e.g. seed supply, fertilizer inputs, labour requirements or the farmer needs special knowledge to be able to apply the technology successfully  Introduction of a technology leads to changes in the production system and leads to more innovation (and this process requires time)  Find robust entry technologies and then work with stakeholders to develop new, more efficient systems 6
  7. 7. Why is it not so simple? (# 2) Smallholder farming systems are diverse  Variable soils, climate, water availability  Range of crops and animals  Different feeding and livestock management systems  Technologies need to ‘robust’ to fit a wide range of situations People and livelihoods differ  Households differ in term of labour, capital and land availability  People have different objectives, interests and willingness to take risks  Technologies need to be targeted  Farmers (and other stakeholders) need to be really want to improve animal production and are willing to invest 7 effort into doing so
  8. 8. Why is it not so simple? (# 3) Incentives for increasing production  Will the farmer get the benefit of producing a fatter animal? Or can (s)he sell the additional milk for a good price?  Can the farmer access the required inputs easily and at reasonable prices?  It is not just productivity that matters, but there may be other important factors along the value chain that need to be considered 8
  9. 9. What approach should we take? Need systems-oriented innovation  Production, marketing and input supply (value chain)  Work in partnership with key stakeholders  Iterative, not one-off  Build capacity of people involved (emphasis on learning)  Need to target interventions to particular situations, farmers and livelihoods 9
  10. 10. Which tools are available? Farmer Participatory Research (FPR) Approach  Working with farmers and other stakeholders to find ways to improve livestock production  Learning cycles over an extended period  Livestock needs to be important to farmers’ livelihood and farmers need to be really motivated! FEAST  A diagnostic tool to find out if there is an opportunity for feed interventions  If affirmative, the end point is an agreement to work farmers and other stakeholders to improve feeding systems  It does not come up with best-bet interventions to test 10
  11. 11. Which tools are available? (#2) Techfit  Identify suitable technologies for evaluation  Entry technologies – a starting point for innovation that provide significant results to motivate farmers and other stakeholders (provide a vision) Value chain analysis  Market studies; e.g. Rapid Market Assessment (RMA)  Input supply analysis Livelihood analysis 11
  12. 12. Conclusions  One-size-fits all technologies don’t work  We need a systems-oriented innovation process that  includes all relevant stakeholders  takes account of the range of farming system and livelihoods in the area  places innovation in the context of the value chain to ensure that farmers reap the benefits of innovations12