The project approach adopts sustainable intensification of smallholder dairy production in Rwanda and Tanzania through the development of appropriate context-specific forage solutions with participating farmers, to ensure identified solutions are based on farmers’ priorities and needs. Scaling up is built into this project’s strategic approach, as the project grant is tied into the ongoing development investments of various other donors. The project’s target group comprises 8,000 poor smallholder farmers including women and marginalized groups along the dairy value chain. Forty extension agents and 10 policy makers, planners, and investors are working to complete this project. This project will thus generate outputs for direct use by farmers targeted under the development investments and it will build on CIAT expertise through the use of multipurpose tropical forage genotypes with high nutritional value, resistance to major pests and diseases, and suitability to major physical constraints (e.g. low soil fertility and drought). Furthermore, the project adopts a collaborative implementation approach to utilize expertise from other institutions of excellence including the International Livestock Research Institute, Rwanda Agriculture Board, and Tanzania Livestock Research Institute.
The project’s ultimate goal is to design climate-smart dairy production through improved forages and feeding strategies. Simultaneously, the objective is to support the wide-scale adoption of context-specific forage options that improve productivity, livelihoods, and that decrease environmental impacts.