Improving the value of maize as livestock feed to enhance the livelihoods of maize-livestock farmers

Published on 9 April 2010

Research Areas


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Start Date: 1 March 2005 | End Date: 31 December 2009


This ILRI and CIMMYT collaboration proposes a new multidimensional approach to maize improvement to provide maize cultivars that better match the needs of resource poor mixed-crop livestock farmers for food and fodder. It aims at improving our understanding of where food-feed maize cultivars have potential from both a farmer and agro-ecological perspective, alongside research to develop dual purpose cultivars for diverse and often marginal environments in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania that produce higher grain yield under conditions of biotic (gray leaf spot, stem borer) and abiotic (drought, low fertility) stress than currently used cultivars while providing good stover quantity and quality for livestock fodder.

The goal of this project is to investigate the potential of dual-purpose maize to enhance the livelihoods of resource poor crop-livestock farmers of East Africa where the concentration of mixed smallholders is highest and agricultural systems are undergoing further intensification. The purpose is to contribute to smallholder food security and benefits from livestock through superior dual-purpose maize cultivars providing both food and feed.

The outputs of the project will be:

1. Influence of livestock related factors on farmers choice of maize cultivars assessed in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania

2. Superior dual-purpose maize cultivars identified from existing maize germplasm for diverse agroecological zones in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania

3. Opportunities and strategies for further genetic enhancement towards dual-purpose maize for diverse agro-ecological zones in East Africa defined

4. New tools for quick and economical on-field assessments of stover fodder value in crop improvement work

5. Additional selection criteria for variety releasing agents and public and private seed industry

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