- Farmers from 30 farms in Dadaab, Fafi, Garissa Township and Balambala subcounties have benefited from silage processing training.
- Silage making is a method used for conserving available fodder for times of scarcity.
Farmers from 30 farms in Dadaab, Fafi, Garissa Township and Balambala subcounties have benefited from silage processing training.
Silage making is a method used for conserving available fodder for times of scarcity.
The process utilises the available types of fodder whether green or dry, which is cut into small pieces, compacted and allowed to ferment in controlled conditions.
According to Livestock and Pastoral Economy executive Hassan Abdirizak, the prolonged drought, coupled with effects of climatic change that have had adverse effects on the residents who majorly depend on livestock as their main source of livelihood, has now forced the pastoralists to think outside the box.
The devastating famine situation in northern Kenya has been described by experts as one of the worst in decades.
He said the this training is aimed at increasing and accelerating fodder preservation, utilisation and commercialisation to increase and stabilise quality milk and beef production in light of recurrent drought which has affected production.
“In line with H.E Governor Nathif Jama’s manifesto, we want to address the issue of lack of animal feed during drought which has adverse effects on livestock,” Hassan said.
The training which is co-facilitated by Somali Lifeline Organisation (SOLO) was carried out at Hasso Fodder Innovation Hub in Galbet ward.
Agriculture Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP II) engaged Dairyverse consultants who have experience in fodder conservation, ranging from hay making, urea treatment of straw and silage making to train the farmers.
Garissa county government in collaboration with ASDSP II and SOLO has further supported these farmers with fodder production, harvesting and processing inputs.
These inputs comprise motorised grass harvesting and chopping machines, fodder additives, silage bags and different variety of fodder seeds.
Silage processing, Hassan said, would create jobs for farmers especially local youths and women, boost their income by selling the surplus feed and also reduce conflicts over pasture and water.
“Climate change has caused livelihood disruption and we need to look for the best way to adapt,” he said.
Dr Haret Hambe, the county director for Livestock and Pastoral Economy and the coordinator for ASDSP II programme, urged livestock farmers to join cooperative societies near them so that they could access such specialised training from the county programmes and other partners.
"As you are aware, drought has become so ravaging in this part of the country after four consecutive seasons of failed rains. All we are trying to do is to bridge that big gap, and which other better way than supporting our people to venture into silage processing,” Dr Hambe said.
Ahmed Abdi, a pastoralist based in Fafi subcounty, welcomed the training that he said had come at the right time.
He urged extension officers to organise for more trainings across the county so that many more farmers can have the knowledge and skills required.
“As you know, as a community we are pastoralists and that is what we have known for a long time. So we are happy when we are taught on new technologies that will go along way in helping our animals survive this drought that claims hundreds of our livestock,” he said.
(edited by Amol Awuor)