Magina – Homabay
Magina sets up a Village-Based tropical pasture production – a business story
On 30th July, 2020, Riana Development Network (RDN) organized a business training 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).
This training initialized last stages of setting up demonstration farms for high-quality foreign grass(es) like Bracheria and the Panicum. This model of farming has the potential to improve the quality of produce without having to change livestock breeds. Since what livestock is fed on has direct effect on the quality of their produce, 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 crops being Bracheria – Cobra, Cayman, Mulato II and the famous Panicum Maximum. “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” said Mr. Ochola – an Agronomist for fodder production and utilization with Advantage Crops Limited.
These fodder crops are ideal business opportunity for Magina farmers because they grow very fast and mature earlier, allowing farmers to have more feeds frequently. The crops are adaptable to various climatic conditions, tolerant to high temperatures and flooding, appropriate for program’s dairy goats and the small ruminants. These fodder crops mature very fast and cuts every 45 days. Cutting is recommended at a few inches above the ground to give room for another cycle of growth, this harvest can be given to all livestock including ploughing oxen.
These grasses adapt to well-drained soils of medium-to-high fertility. Without drought stress, these fodder grasses are expected to flower early. Program participants got training on careful data recording in all measurement processes, examples being; planting no less than 2kgs of seeds per acres of land, preparing a fine-grain nursery, making straight grill contours, four inches apart, scarcely spreading the seeds on a row, covering the seeds with just a pinch of soil, placing a grass cover over the nursery (to control moisture loss) and consistent watering every morning and evening during seasons without rain. A demonstration farm was set and each registered participant received a packet of Bracheria seeds to kick off the project on their own farms.
These efforts are geared to promote survival and high productivity from the small ruminants transferred to participants early in the program. This partnership will also establish market value chains to help farmers sell excess produce, another contribution into the Creating Decent Employment Opportunities program.