Grass? How an unlikely weapon can help farmers beat drought in Africa

Blog post

To resist the droughts that decimate rural livelihoods, researchers and farmers in Tanzania are testing different forage grass and legume species to discover which management and grass combinations can boost the quantity and quality of forages in local conditions.

They are testing different methods of planting like intercropping and contour planting, varying height and frequency of cutting, and applying different types and amounts of manure.

Producers, local governments and the private sector share tips and advice on improving livestock and milk production through “Innovation Platform” groups.

Since 2014, data from field trials monitored by TALIRI and CIAT, has been collected on forage biomass, soil nutrients and rainfall. The aim is to advise farmers which forages suit their conditions and can be integrated into their farm system in ways that don’t compromise their own food security.

Read the full story from CIAT

This research is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish under the banner of Maziwa Zaidi, a multi-stakeholder initiative aimed at transforming the dairy value chain in Tanzania. It reports from work conducted as part of the “Potential farm to landscape impact and adoption of forage technologies in smallholder dairy production systems in Tanzania” project funded by GIZ.