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Introduction of dairy cattle production systems in soil conservation areas

C. M. Shayo

Zonal Research and Training Centre
Livestock Production Research Institute
Mpwapwa, Tanzania

HADO project-related opportunities and achievements
Re-introduction of livestock to the closed areas
Farmers' views towards this technology package
Bull services
Linkages with other departments and policy makers
Development of feeding strategies and management systems
Economic analysis
Recommendations for future milk market outlets
Potential of small ruminants and poultry in HADO areas
Farm draft power
The need for a sustainable livestock production system


Dodoma is a region situated in the semi-arid zone of central Tanzania. The pressure of cultivation and grazing among other factors, resulted in severe land degradation in some areas such that there was a danger of desertification.

In 1973, the Government launched a national soil conservation programme aimed at land reclamation and soil fertility restoration in the worst affected areas of Dodoma region under the Dodoma Soil Conservation Programme, locally known as Hifadhi Ardhi Dodoma (HADO). Among several of measures taken was the removal of all grazing livestock from the severely eroded areas.

There have been some achievements in the eroded areas in the context of land reclamation. However, total eviction of grazing livestock is suspected to have resulted in incidences of malnutrition in the closed areas HADO areas) due to the subsequent shortage of milk and meat. A project on Development of Feeding and Management Systems for Stall-fed Improved Cows in the HADO Areas. was proposed to look into possibilities of re-introducting livestock into the closed areas without the attendant land degradation problems.

This paper highlights the general problems and achievements related to the HADO programme and progress on the implementation of the project on stall-feeding and management systems of improved dairy cows in the HADO areas,. The technological package of stall-feeding and improved dairy cattle is widely accepted but its expansion is constrained by inadequate numbers of foundation stock.


Tanzania has one of the largest ruminant livestock populations in Africa. According to the livestock census of 1984, mainland Tanzania had 12.51 million cattle, 3.08 million sheep and 6.44 million goats. Most of these animals are concentrated in the semi-arid areas (MALD, 1988) partly due to the absence of tsetse flies and the additional factor of the minimum competition for land for alternative uses such as crop production. The bulk of the cattle are indigenous zebu with the exception of 0.14 million improved dairy cattle.

Dodoma region is one of two regions in the semi-arid zone of central Tanzania and is characterised by long dry seasons of up to eight months (Jackson, 1977; Shayo, 1992). In 1984, the region had 1.00, 0.17 and 0.54 million cattle, sheep and goats, respectively, representing about 8% of the mainland's total ruminant livestock population (MALD, 1988).

Some areas of Dodoma region have been exposed to severe land degradation to the extent that soils have become extremely shallow and infertile making the possibility of desertification real. There are several factors which accentuated land degradation, including human activities (anthropogenic) and physical (natural) factors, but mainly the presence of grazing livestock.

In response to the situation, the Government of Tanzania initiated soil conservation programmes in the Dodoma region in 1973. These programmes aimed at land reclamation and soil fertility restoration in the worst affected areas under the Dodoma Soil Conservation Programme, locally known as Hifadhi Ardhi Dodoma (HADO). Measures taken to achieve the above mentioned objectives included afforestation, appropriate cultivation methods, control of run-off by contour band construction and planting vegetation in the river beds.

However, the presence of grazing livestock in the target areas affected the establishment of trees, contour bands and vegetative cover in the river beds. Therefore, these animals were translocated from the severely eroded areas of Kondoa District, Mvumi Division and some villages in Mpwapwa District (Berege and Chitemo). In Kondoa District an area covering 1256 km² was closed to a total of 46,370 cattle, 10,666 sheep and 28,840 goats in 1979. In 1985 a total of 30,991 cattle, 8352 sheep and 25,042 goats were removed from an area of 713 km² in Mvumi Division (Östberg, 1985; SUAC, 1987). Since traditionally livestock provide foods (mainly in the form of milk and meat), income, manure and a number of social functions, removal of the animals denied inhabitants access to milk and manure. An absence of milk and meat in the diet may have caused incidences of malnutrition in some sectors of the population, particularly for children, pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers.

Besides nutritional considerations the massive translocation of livestock from the target area created a number of problems for inhabitants which included the following:

· farm operations and village transport were affected as oxen and donkeys were removed from the area

· crop productivity was reduced due to lack of farm power, manure and the lack of animals for sale to generate funds for the purchase of inputs such as inorganic fertilisers

· poverty level of the villagers increased due to the high mortality rates of animals moved into new areas where East Coast fever and trypanosomiasis were endemic and supervision was difficult

· the traditional functions that made use of animals (e.g. rituals, bride price and circumcision ceremonies) were undermined

· separation of livestock from the farmers created social and psychological problems

· livestock density in the areas where the animals were shifted to increased, thus the soil degradation problems became evident in new areas.

HADO project-related opportunities and achievements

Over a period of time the regeneration of vegetation cover took place and arrested ecological degradation in the affected areas. As vegetation increased and soil erosion was reduced the gullies were covered with vegetation. Additionally through the programme, agricultural activities have been diversified, e.g. introduction of intensively managed new crops such as tomatoes. The labour which was traditionally tied to herding cattle was freed and available for other activities. Similarly, land which was grazed communally was allocated to arable cropping. Probably the most important achievement remained the sensitisation of inhabitants to soil conservation. Furthermore, the planted trees provided wood and reduced the burden of wood collection by women.

Re-introduction of livestock to the closed areas

In addressing the negative aspects associated with total eviction of livestock in the eroded areas, HADO officials saw the necessity of some form of livestock keeping (to provide protein-rich foods and a source of income) in the area after the land had regenerated. In 1988, the Livestock Production Research Institute (LPRI), Mpwapwa, was asked to look into the possibilities of re-introducing livestock in the closed areas and to initiate a sustainable production system that would not lead to land degradation, avoiding the traditional and indiscriminate grazing system.

As it is generally accepted that attempts to restrict herd size under traditional extensive grazing systems would not have been possible, some form of restricted grazing and/or stall-feeding (zero-grazing) was judged to be the only reasonable alternative.

Hence, a project on "Development of feeding and management systems for stall-fed improved dairy cows on smallholdings in the HADO areas" was proposed, with financial support from the Swedish Agency for Research Cooperation with Developing Countries (SAREC). The main aim of this Project was to introduce and monitor growth and milk production of crossbreds and zebu cattle in a zero-grazing system in the proscribed areas. It was also intended to assess the availability of feeds; and to test, develop and recommend appropriate, simple and cheap methods of supplementary feeding to improve the utilisation of low quality roughages (hay and crop residues). The development of feeding packages for the wet and dry seasons was also to be considered.

There were several important benefits associated with the adoption of a zero-grazing system, as compared to extensive grazing (Ogle, 1990) both in the context of soil conservation and fertility and in relation to livestock productivity and efficiency of feed utilisation.

Considerable amounts of energy are expended by grazing animals in their search for food and water; this activity has the disadvantage of reducing efficiency in productivity. In extensive grazing systems the time available for grazing is always limited by herding hours, therefore feed intake is likely to be less than in a stall-feeding system. In a zero-grazing system it is possible to balance the various components of a diet so that feed is utilised with optimum efficiency. Animals kept in the shade throughout the day are protected from direct sunlight and therefore suffer less from heat stress. In addition, while animals are in confinement the exposure to parasites and disease vectors is reduced. Stall-feeding also expedites the collection of farmyard manure and therefore enhances the improvement of soil fertility and organic-matter content and ultimately improves crop production.

In order to ensure the success of the project a set of pre-conditions were developed to be fulfilled by farmers to enable them to qualify to keep livestock in closed areas. The prerequisites were based on previous experiences and on the adherence to the objectives of promoting water and soil conservation. The set package of conditions for re-introduction of cattle in the conservation areas included:

· animals should be restricted within a 50-m radius of the household or shed

· a permanent water source should be within a reasonable distance

· animal shelter should be constructed

· the participating farmer should establish pasture or fodder plots of not less than approximately 0.6 ha per animal

· the number of cattle household should not exceed three cows and one bull. Suckling calves, should be removed after attaining 18 months

· a farmer should buy basic equipment and drugs for animal disease control, such as acaricides and hand spray

· improved dairy cattle were the only breed types allowed in the HADO areas.

Foundation stock of improved animals

Tanzania mainland had only 143,410 dairy grade cattle in 1984 (MALD, 1988) in the hands of parastatals, smallholders and government farms. It was initially thought that the LPRI, Mpwapwa, could supply the improved animals (Mpwapwa breed) to farmers in the closed areas but this was not possible due to their limited numbers at the station. The Mpwapwa breed has approximately the following percentages of genotype make up: 32% Red Sindhi, 30% Sahiwal, 19% Boran, 11% Tanganyika Shorthorn Zebu (TSZ) and 8% Bos taurus (mostly Ayrshire) (Kiwuwa and Kyomo, 1971). As the breed is composed of predominantly tropical varieties, it was considered to be adaptable to the tropical environment. The targeted milk production level was 2300 kg per lactation, while the carcass weight of the steers was expected to be 230 kg in less than four years.

The small number of improved livestock in the country has made their prices prohibitive. Even in the government's livestock farms/ institutions the cost of one pregnant improved cow in 1989 was TSh 40,000 (about US$ 200), a price too high for most farmers. Bearing in mind this problem, two suggestions were put forward:

· That the farmers interested in keeping the improved animals should pay half of the cost of purchasing the animals on condition that the first female calf would be returned to the project and sold to another farmer. The other half of the cost was covered by the project.

· Farmers who could not afford to pay half the cost were permitted to use the best milkers from their local herds, but on condition that they would be mated to improved bulls.

The idea of obtaining some of the best milkers from the local herds, was regarded as the most cost effective and fastest means of disseminating technology in the area. Dependence on improved cows/heifers from either LPRI, Mpwapwa, or its sister institutions would be unrealistic. Furthermore, locally raised animals were more likely to be adapted to the environment.

Farmers' views towards this technology package

Results from a survey showed that almost all the farmers, particularly those who previously possessed livestock, were interested in the scheme of keeping an improved animal. However, as agro-pastoralism was the dominant agricultural form and uncontrolled grazing was the main characteristic in these areas, most farmers were hesitant to assume the risk of adopting the newly introduced technologies of forage production, construction of a shed and stall-feeding. The new technology was developed and adopted almost exclusively in areas of high population density where farm holdings are too small to accommodate traditional grazing practices.

Kondoa District was chosen by HADO officials as a project site on the basis that it had a history of severe soil erosion. The Project started in 1989 with educational meetings, seminars and farm visits conducted by LPRI's research and technical teams. Initially, 20 farmers accepted the package and purchased the improved dairy cows and a few more opted to retrieve their best milkers from the translocated local herds.

A batch of 20 improved cows/heifers were purchased by the project from the Livestock Research Centre (LRC) at Tanga in the coastal belt of the country. Early in 1990, the heifers were sent to LPRI, Mpwapwa for mating before they were supplied to the farmers. By September 1990, the pregnant heifers/cows started to calve. The animals from LRC had about 75% exotic blood, mainly Ayrshire, Friesian and Jersey types. This high level of exotic blood was a source of concern as it was felt that it was too high for the semi-arid areas. However, animal performance in the closed areas has so far been satisfactory and preliminary analysis of milk production showed that the milk yield from the improved cows ranged from 5 to 20 (mean = 11) kg per animal per day, while milk production from the local cows ranged from 3 to 8 (mean = 5) kg per cow per day. This excludes the milk suckled by the calves.

Another group of 20 improved heifer crosses between Bos taurus and mostly Friesian and TSZ from LRC and West Kilimanjaro (in the northern part of the country) were transferred to LPRI, Mpwapwa, in late 1991 and are currently being mated before they are supplied to farmers. In the past two years the introduced cattle have performed well. The large quantity of milk produced has attracted the attention of a significant number of households in the closed areas, thus more families became interested in keeping improved dairy cows. This development led to a situation where demand out-stripped supply of the improved animals.

To date, there is a total of 55 animals in the zero-grazing scheme in five villages in Kondoa District. This includes 17 improved cows, two bulls, 11 female calves, seven male calves, 11 adult zebu cows, and 7 F1 cross calves.

Bull services

As the Project also aimed at upgrading zebu cows and back-crossing the crossbred animals, it was necessary to have in place either artificial insemination (AI) or bull services. The AI service was not viewed as a practical proposition. Some alternative ideas were therefore reviewed by the team:

· An individual or a group of individuals should buy a bull collectively to service their cows. Fees for servicing the cows of individuals would be decided by the bull owners. The money generated would help the farmer(s) maintain the bull.

· The Project would purchase the bulls and supply them to selected farmers in the project area with the proviso that the farmer(s) would keep the bull for a certain period, for example three to four years after which he would be allowed to own it. During this period, the bull would provide services free of charge.

· Establish bull centres which would avail the bulls to the farmers when required. However, it was found that management of these centres could prove difficult.

· Conduct artificial insemination (AI) services. As most villages in the closed areas are situated in remote places where transport is problematic, AI was not considered a viable proposition.

The idea of individuals to share the cost of purchasing the bulls was considered to be the most appropriate approach. Initially, three groups of farmers shared the costs of purchasing three improved bulls from LPRI, Mpwapwa. The bull's breed mix was about 34% Bos taurus blood.

The research team agreed to assist one progressive farmer in the closed area who had a considerable amount of land and local zebu cows and was prepared to upgrade his herd. Furthermore, the farmer agreed to sell the offspring to interested farmers in the area. As an incentive to the farmer, the Project undertook to provide some technical and financial support. This was regarded as an effective means of propagating improved stock and zero-grazing technology in the closed areas.

Introduction of improved pastures

Two plots of improved pastures were established in two villages under the Project. In each location, different species of local and introduced pasture grasses, legumes and browses were planted in replications measuring 20 x 20 m and managed by LPRI staff. The plots were utilised for demonstration purposes to create an awareness to the existence of different types of pastures for animal production and their management. The Project also used the plots as sources of pasture seeds and fodder for farmers. Furthermore, the plots were used for screening forages for adaptability and production.

Advisory services

The Project implementers considered that as part of the process of the transfer of technology it was important for farmers to be exposed to innovations on-station and on-farm. Farmers were given opportunities to invite their fellow farmers from other areas of the district and exchange ideas and experiences. On other occasions, farmers from the closed areas were invited to participate in field days in other parts of the semi-arid zone. These field days have proved to be one of the most successful ways of increasing the confidence of farmers practicing zero-grazing technology in the HADO areas. Visits to the LPRI research station reinforced these ideas. In addition, LPRI staff have attempted to conduct frequent seminars, farm visits and meetings with farmers in the project area.

A staff house for LPRI staff has been constructed in one of the five villages to facilitate delivery of advisory service. In view of the nonexistence of delivery services for inputs, Project funds were used to purchase some of the veterinary drugs and equipment. Costs were recovered through the sale of the same to the farmers.

Linkages with other departments and policy makers

In order to ensure viability and wide acceptance of a project in a rural setting (with linkages to other ministries and other institutions), the project developed linkages between HADO project staff, policy makers, farmers and heads of departments within and outside the region. A public awareness campaign on the objectives, implementation and achievements of the project peaked around the field days. These relationships have hitherto evolved positively and public awareness on the project is good. On field days, policy makers from the ministries, regional and district heads of departments and members of parliament are invited. In addition, seminars involving the regional heads of departments are arranged by LPRI annually with similar aims.

The Kondoa District livestock extension office and HADO office in Kondoa offer assistance to LPRI staff in the form of transport, manpower, advice and equipment whenever required.

Development of feeding strategies and management systems

The climate in the study area is semi-arid and therefore water shortage is constraint to the improvement of livestock production. In the more humid areas of Kilimanjaro region in northern Tanzania where zero-grazing has been practiced for a long time, banana pseudo-stems are used as the main source of water to the stall-fed cattle, sheep and goats.

Incidentally, inedible water melons (Citrullus vulgaris) are widely planted by agropastoralists in the semi-arid areas of central Tanzania with one hectare producing 5-10 tonnes of water melon fruits (Kusekwa et al, 1990). The use of water melons as an alternative source of water for cattle has recently been studied (Shayo, 1992). Results showed that the water content in water melon fruits was 95% and the proportion of the dry seeds in the whole fruit was about 2%. Shayo (1992) did not find any significant differences in the daily water intake (P> 0.05) between the two groups of young bulls provided with either drinking water or water melons (Table 1). There was also no significant difference (P> 0.05) in daily hay intake between the two treatments. The animals in both treatments did not show any signs of disease throughout the one-month experimental period.

Table 1. Daily water and water melon intake, and their effect on mature hay intake by growing bulls.¹


Free water (kg) Water melons (fresh) (kg)

Intake (kg/animal/day)


Acacia pods

















Water melons















1. None of the treatment differences were statistically significant (P< 0.05).
2. Includes water from the hay and from water melons and acacia pods.
3. DM from water melon seeds was not included.


Feed energy and crude protein availability have been identified as the most crucial nutrients in livestock production in the tropics especially in the dry seasons (Wilson and Minson, 1980; Adu and Adamu, 1982; Van Soest, 1982). The nutritive value of the natural pastures and cereal residues during the dry season is below optimum for supporting growth and milk production, therefore supplementation of energy and protein is necessary. However, villages in the Project areas are in remote places and transportation of commercial supplements is difficult and costly, furthermore, the villagers do not have sufficient income to purchase supplements. This raises the need for supplementation using locally available feed resources. While locally produced cereal byproducts and pulses are potential feeds for ruminants, they are fed to non-ruminants and are therefore not available to ruminants.

Legumes forage and browse are probably the best alternative supplement for ruminant livestock fed on low quality roughages in these circumstances. Apart from being a source of quality feed, leguminous trees and shrubs have many more qualities that give them a multipurpose value in farming systems; for example they are a good source of firewood and for fixing soil nitrogen. A survey in the study area revealed the existence of common natural trees and shrubs in the closed areas, which may be used as a source of feed and they include: Albizia harveyi; Albizia patensiana; Delonix elata; Acacia tortilis and other Acacia species, Dichrostachyus glomerata and Brachystegia species.

Acacia pods and water melon seed meal

Acacia tortilis trees are widely distributed in the target areas. Their importance in livestock production is in the value of the leaves and pods as feed for ruminant livestock (Gwynne, 1969; Coppock et al, 1987; Tanner et al, 1990). The project made investigations (Shayo, 1992) on acacia pods and water melon seed in reference to chemical composition, yield, digestibility, ammonia-nitrogen (NH3-N) production in the rumen and effects on milk yield and composition of Mpwapwa cows. Water melon seeds are a byproduct obtained after feeding the melon fruits to animals as a source of water. Estimates on the yield of Acacia tortilis pod revealed a range from 28 to 206 kg (mean = 93.4 ±44.2 SD) per tree per season where as water melon seed production ranged from 30 to 180 kg per ha depending on spacing and rainfall patterns. Chemical composition of different components of Acacia tortilis and Acacia albida pods and water melons as compared to sunflower seed cake and Cenchrus ciliaris hay is provided in Tables 2 and 3 and their in vitro digestibility and in sacco degradability are shown in Tables 4 and 5, respectively. The data indicates that based on chemical composition and in vitro digestibility, acacia pods and seeds and water melon seeds have a reasonable nutritive value. The phenolics contents in Acacia tortilis seeds and pods did not seem to influence degradability and overall in vitro digestibility.

Table 2. Chemical composition of different components of water melons, Acacia pods, sunflower seed cake and Cenchrus ciliaris hay. 1

Table 3. Mineral composition, ADF-N, soluble phenolics (SPHEN) and condensed proanthocyanidins (CPRC, abs/g NDF) of different components of acacia pods, water melon seeds and sunflower seed cake.1

Table 4. In vitro organic matter digestibility (IVOMD) of different components of acacia pods, water melons, Cenchrus ciliaris hay and sunflower seed cake.



Acacia tortilis seeds


Acacia albida seeds


Water-melon seeds


Sunflower seed cake


Cenchrus ciliaris


Acacia tortilis empty pods


Acacia albida empty pods


Table 5. In sacco degradability of different components of Acacia pods, water melon seeds, sunflower seed cake and Cenchrus ciliaris hay after different incubation times.


In sacco degradability, % of DM

Incubation time (hours)







Acacia tortilis seeds







Acacia albida seeds







Water melon seeds







Cenchrus ciliaris hay







Sunflower seed cake







A tortilis empty pods







A. albida empty pods







Daily NH3-N production in the rumen on supplementation with or without 1.5 kg each of Acacia tortilis ground pods or water melon seed meal is shown in Figure 1. The fistitulated steer was fed on Cenchrus ciliaris hay and was supplemented with test feeds at 0900 hours and 1700 hours for 18 days and data collection was done during the last three days commencing on day 15. The data indicated that the proteins in the test supplements were in the form of undegradable proteins which could be strategically used in that form.

Effect of supplementation with Acacia pods, water melon seed meal and sunflower seed cake on rumen NH3-N of a steer on Cenchrus ciliaris-bases diet.

Results on milk yield and composition of Mpwapwa cows fed on Cenchrus ciliaris based diet and 1 kg maize bran (control) supplemented with or without 1.5 kg each of Acacia tortilis ground pods, water melon seed meal or 1 kg of sunflower seed cake are shown in Table 6. Supplementation improved milk yields and supplementation with water melon seeds or Acacia tortilis pods yielded similar amounts of milk as with 1 kg of sunflower seed cake.

Table 6. Effect of supplementing Mpwapwa cows on a Cenchrus ciliaris based diet with Acacia tortilis pods, water me/on seed meal and sunflower seed cake on daily milk yield (kg) and composition. ¹


Milk yield (kg/day)

Milk composition (%)

Crude protein

Total solids


Butter fat

Control (hay + maize bran)






Control + water melon seeds






Control + acacia pods






Control + sunflower seed cake












1 The means in the same column with different superscripts are significantly different (P<0.05).

Based on the report by Tanner et al (1990) who observed considerable amounts (46%) of intact (undigested) Acacia tortilis seeds in the faeces of sheep supplemented with unground pods, the project routinely ground the whole acacias pods.

Nutritive value of browse

Considerable information is available on the potential contribution of the introduced leguminous species such as Leucaena leucocephala (NAS, 1977; Jones, 1979) and Gliricidia septum (Smith and Houtert, 1987) as supplementary feeds. However, some of these species do not exhibit their full agronomic characteristic potential when established in specific areas owing to climatic conditions and edaphic factors. For instance, Sesbania speciosa has been noted to be less resistant to termite attack than Sesbania sesban, whereas Leucaena leucocephala has shown poor growth in the study areas of Kondoa highlands.

Studies on the potential role of local trees and shrubs in livestock production during the wet and dry season in central Tanzania have been carried out at the Livestock Production Research Institute, Mpwapwa (Olsson and Welin-Berger, 1989; Backlund and Bellskog, 1990). Based on nutritional merits, nine species of trees and shrubs (Table 7) were selected as being the most outstanding and were recommended for further studies including ease of establishment followed by feeding experiments. Selection of these species was based on nutrient composition, digestibility, palatability, relative abundance and leafiness during the dry season. Preliminary results in Table 7 show that the species are promising as browse plants. Agronomic studies are underway to assess their performance under management

Table 7. Chemical composition of the most promising browse species in central Tanzania (% of DM).









Delonix elata








Grewia similis








Albizia harveyi








Cadaba farinosa








Combretum quenzii








Jasminum species








Crotalaria species








Helinus species








Commiphora trothae








1. IVOMD = In vitro organic-matter digestibility

Agricultural residues, local and introduced pasture species

One of the measures taken by the HADO programme to reduce the problem of soil erosion was to introduce some fibrous rooted grasses such as elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) and makarikari grass (Panicum coloratum) in the river beds and along the contour bands, respectively. These are also important sources of feed to ruminant livestock in the HADO areas. Grasses such as Digitaria decumbens and the leguminous Neonotonia wightii are important natural pasture species in the locality. Other natural pasture species in the HADO areas include Cenchrus ciliaris; Bothriochloa insculpta; Panicum maximum; Chloris gayana; Heteropogon contortus; Aristida adescensionis; Brachiaria brizantha; Cynodon dactylon; Cynodon plectostachyus; and Eragrostis species.

The main crops grown in the closed areas are maize, sorghum, finger millet, bulrush millet, sweet potatoes, cassava, groundnuts, bambara nuts, pigeon peas and lablab. In the wetter areas sugar cane is planted. In almost all eases, intercropping of up to five crops is common. Quantitatively, the cereal crop residues and pulses are the most important and studies are underway to quantify production in villages.

Sweet potato vines, pigeon pea leaves and lablab are particularly important protein supplements during the dry season as they remain green almost throughout this season. Table 8 provides some data on the chemical composition of some of the agricultural residues and other locally available feed resources in Kondoa District.

Table 8. Chemical composition of some feeds in the HADO areas.


DM composition (%)






Groundnut haulms






Sweet potato vines






Makarikari hay






Digitaria grass (fresh)






Digitaria grass (hay)






Maize stover






Economic analysis

A diagnostic survey and analysis conducted by the researchers identified a number of problems existing in the farming system, including:

· low income and poor productive based farming system

· nutritional problems due to inadequate diet especially for children due to unavailability of milk and meat

· inefficient resource allocation and under-utilisation of resources like crop residues.

In order to improve the system and minimise some of the above problems, a socio-economic study was initiated with the specific objective of examining the effect of introducing zero-grazing technology in relation to income distribution, labour utilisation and the mobilisation of farmers towards this technology.

The hypotheses were:

· Income of the cooperating farmers has increased in comparison with those farmers with no livestock;

· Introduced zero-grazing technology is neutral to income distribution;

· Introduced zero-grazing technology is increasing or stimulating general awareness towards development opportunities; and

· Zero-grazing is changing the division of labour in households.

The results of this study, which will lead to a Master of Science degree, have not yet been published. However, preliminary results from interviews with the wives of the households with improved cattle under a zero-grazing system show that the work load has increased for women and children.

It is considered that zero-grazing technology has provided milk to families keeping the re-introduced animals and their neighbours. It is expected that malnutrition-related problems would have been reduced to a certain extent. A specific study is currently being conducted in the target areas in order to establish the impact of the zero-grazing technology on aspects of human nutrition.

Recommendations for future milk market outlets

Currently, there have not been any problems with the marketing of milk in the rural areas. As more farmers are becoming involved in keeping the improved dairy cows in the closed areas it is likely that in future milk will flood the market. The poor transportation system will limit disposal of this product to external markets. Studies on appropriate technologies of processing the milk to produce products of a longer shelf-life should be initiated.

Potential of small ruminants and poultry in HADO areas

While there is a great possibility of eliminating shortages of milk, the problem of the provision of meat is still unresolved. It is generally not expedient to slaughter dairy animals for meat and only unwanted bulls and cull cows should be slaughtered. A system of keeping the small ruminants (sheep and goats) tethered in the conservation areas as an alternative meat supply of could be considered.

Poultry could also be a useful source of meat and income in smallholdings. Chickens are particularly attractive as specialised housing need not be provided. If they were confined, their manure could be collected and used as a supplement for dairy cow rations and as a valuable source of non-protein nitrogen.

Farm draft power

Under special concession the HADO authorities authorised the re-introduction of oxen and donkeys for ploughing during the period of land preparations and harvesting. However, creates a problem of introducing diseases such as East Coast Fever to the stall-fed improved cattle.

Stall-feeding draft animals is relatively uneconomical as they also eat the available feeds intended for the stall-fed dairy animals. The possibility of using the improved female cows for draft purposes in the conservation areas should be investigated. Well-fed healthy cows, particularly the large bodied types, should be quite capable of meeting the draft power requirements of smallholdings, especially if mulch and manure have been applied (Ogle, 1990).

The need for a sustainable livestock production system

The high number of grazing livestock in the HADO area was regarded as one of the causal agents for soil degradation. These animals were translocated to neighbouring villages where the extent of overgrazing and land degradation was not severe. However, land degradation caused by overgrazing is expected to take place in these areas in the near future. To circumvent this possibility it is recommended that a national strategy be drawn to analyse the issue of integrating livestock with crops and keeping livestock numbers only at the optimum carrying capacity of the land. This will ensure the sustainability of the whole farming system. The lack of a defined land tenure system in these areas is considered to be crucial and deserves a great deal of attention, One of the problems facing women in the conservation areas is the time spent and energy expended in search of fuelwood. As collection of manure is relatively easy in the zero-grazing system, biogas production from manure could reduce the burden of fuelwood collection.


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