In a visit LIVES team made to Tanzania, we came across a farming system which included crops and livestock components: rice, sunflower, dairy and meat cattle. There are also sunflower oil processors and rice mills in the nearby town that sell by-products (oilcake and rice bran) to traders outside of the district we visited. During our discussions with dairy farmers and pastoralists, we learned that possible uses of rice bran and oil cake for dairy or animal fattening is unknown. This reminded me of two similar situations we had come across in IPMS sites in the past.
The first case was in Goma District, where we introduced short term fattening of sheep with supplementary feeding. At first, through a rapid assessment of the input/service supply system in the District, we learned that a cotton seed oil processing factory operated in Agaro, the District capital. The assessment also showed that traders purchase this oil cake and sell it to pastoralists hundreds of kilometers away. In subsequent discussions with the factory manager and a group of farmers interested in sheep fattening with supplementary feeding (cotton seed cake), the IPMS partners made arrangements to link these producers and the factory for bulk supply of the oil cake; and facilitated payment with group loans provided by the local micro finance institute (see this sheep fattening case study).
The second case is from the rice value chain development in Fogera District, where the rice production acreage dramatically increased from 5,000 to 15,000 ha over a 5 years period, resulting in more rice straw. Consequently, rice processing also increased resulting in more rice husk from rough grinding for household consumption, and rice bran from polishing rice for sale of white rice in and outside of the District. More and more farmers in the district became aware of the value of the rice bran and started purchasing it from the grinding mill owners. Still, traders purchase a significant amount of rice bran and sell it to dairy farmers elsewhere in the country (see this rice value chain case study). In a recent visit to Fogera, we saw that rice straw is now also exported to a particleboard factory, thus reducing its use for livestock in Fogera.
So why are feed resources right under farmers’ noses not used more intensively in the same farming systems? There are several reasons, including perhaps simple ignorance of the possibilities ranks high. Other reasons are that use of the resource outside the District may be more economical and therefore fetches a higher price, or it may be that farmers who are not market-oriented don’t want to buy inputs, or perhaps the volume available is not worth commercially exploiting, or factory owners may prefer bulk sales rather than individual retail sales. It was for the latter reason that IPMS introduced bulk purchase/payment for “fatteners” in Goma.
The lesson from all this is that value chain practitioners should map and rapidly assess/understand the feed value chain supply system of locally produced feed resources and identify potential interventions for the benefit of livestock producers in the farming system that produces the resource.
More from the visit