Fodder – animal feed – is any agricultural foodstuff mostly used to feed domesticated livestock – such as cattle, goats, sheep, chickens and pigs.
Under the integrated crop-small ruminant production system in West Africa, Ghana’s Crops Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is researching into the production, storage and marketability of fodder.
This is in line with the goal to increase agricultural productivity for poverty reduction and enhanced food security.
According to Animal Scientist on the project, Dr. Christopher Antwi, the new technology would enable farmers access quality feed for livestock production.
“The farmers do complain about the bulkiness of the fodder coming from the farm to the homestead, so we try to develop this technology which will reduce the cost of transportation,” he said.
Dr. Antwi says the technology is simple and cost-effective, involving a rectangular box – 75cm x 50cm – stuffed with fodder materials, compressed and tired with a rope to reduce the bulkiness.
“In the dry season, we don’t have enough fodder for feeding, so these would be back-up for the farmers to feed; so if other farmers see the bills in colleagues’ homes, they’ll buy to feed their animals,” he stated.
The project seeks to develop and strengthen the crop –sheep and goats value chain in the sub-humid tropics of Ghana and Benin and semi-arid regions of Gambia and Mali.
Agricultural Economist, Jonas Osei-Adu says there are opportunities in fodder marketing, especially in the northern parts of Ghana.
“When you grow cowpea or maize, how do you make use of the leaves to feed your animals? Economically, it’s going to increase farmers’ income because instead of buying special feed for your animals, you’re going to get feed at very cheap price and sometimes you don’t have to buy because you’ll get them direct from your farm to feed your animals,” he noted.
Some Ghanaian farmers are recording 50-200 percent increase in crop yield under the innovative project that integrates crop and small ruminants for sustainable production.
Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh