Making the case: Meat and milk are a critical component of a balanced diet in East Africa and are vital to nutrition security, particularly for children. As a result of population growth and changing diets, the demand for meat and milk is rising quickly, presenting new opportunities for livestock producers. Mixed crop-livestock systems produce 70% of the meat and 90% of the milk in the region while also providing livelihoods for some 50 million of Africa’s rural poor. But currently, livestock systems of the East African highlands suffer from low productivity, are at risk from extreme weather, and are also hotspots for GHG emissions.
Innovation for impact:
The project goal is to design climate-smart dairy production through improved forages and feeding strategies that increase the incomes and resilience of smallholder farmers:
Assess: Map livestock systems, simulate feed production, increase livestock density, and increase efficiency.
Characterize: classify households and feeding systems to develop climate-smart options.
Design: Model climate-smart options and validate with farmer groups for suitability and ease of adoption.
Evaluate: Validate best-bet forage and management options in farmers’ fields.
Scale: Apply results through IFAD programs and other development partners. Strengthen capacity of regional agricultural programs through learning exchanges between Rwanda-Burundi and Tanzania-Kenya.
Small-scale dairy producers, especially women, youth and marginalized groups, and actors along the dairy value chain, will increase productivity and resilience while reducing negative impacts of their livestock systems.