Magina Location sets up Village-Based Tropical Pasture Production – a Business Story
By Phelix Ouma
On 30th July, 2020, Riana Development Network (RDN) organized a business training session in partnership with Advantage Crops Limited – a Kenyan company involved in crop product development, integration and delivery of new generation seeds of forage grasses, legumes and vegetable varieties. With this partnership, RDN seeks to improve the development, testing, production and delivery of high-quality seed of genetically superior varieties with gene combinations that confer multiple adaptation, productivity and quality advantages to farmers on the Creating Decent Employment Opportunities program (CREDEEP). Advantage Crops has dedicated their research and product development efforts towards harnessing grass breeds with the highest nutritional value, that would maximize quality and quantity of animal produce and health.
The training initialized the last stages of setting up demonstration farms for high-quality fodder crops like Bracheria and the Panicum. Livestock feed has a direct effect on their produce and these crops have the potential to improve the quality of produce. It is also suitable for the farmers’ livestock breeds. The grass(es), . Mr. Ochola, an Agronomist for fodder production and utilization with Advantage Crops Limited explains that, “fodder crops are highly palatable to both small and larger ruminants. When we feed our animals on dried fodder crops, it has an instant effect on the quality and quantity of milk and general health.”
These fodder crops are ideal business opportunity for Magina farmers because they are fast growing with early maturity rates (45 days). Farmers can have a constant supply of feed for their animals. The crops are adaptable to various climatic conditions, tolerant to high temperatures and flooding and therefore appropriate for the programme’s dairy goats and the small ruminant livestock.
Programme participants were trained on preparation on fine-grain nursery preparation, the correct amount of seeds to plant per acre, how to make straight grill contours in order to reduce soil erosion and retain fertility, watering needs etc. Registered participants were provided with free seeds to kick off production.
This partnership will establish market value chains in Narok and Kisii areas where dairy farming is highly practiced. The program will also build a silo for storing bales of fodder as local reserves for grazing during the dry seasons.
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