Locally developed, yet cost effective technology (silos) for storing fodder for livestock (New Agriculturist)

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Fodder storage to help livestock keepers endure drought

Written by: Geoffrey Kamadi

Tube silos occupy less space and are much cheaper than conventional techniques

Kenyan smallholder farmers are turning to a simple, locally developed, yet cost effective technology for storing fodder for their livestock in order to adapt to increasingly frequent periods of drought. They are using tube silos, developed by the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), which are made of polythene; with a diameter of approximately 0.5 metres and a height of one metre, each can hold up to 900 kgs of fodder for up to two years.

Given that one animal consumes 20 kgs of fodder a day, a single silo is able to sustain an animal for 45 days. “One of the major constraints facing the smallholder farmer is providing enough feed to their animals throughout the year,” explains Teresioru Riungu, the KARI centre director at Muguga South. “When the dry season comes these farmers do not have fodder for their animals.” Water is mixed with molasses in the ratio of 1:2 and this mixture is then sprinkled on silage made from either maize at milk stage or napier grass. “After this is done, the mixture is placed into the polythene then compacted to displace oxygen, before the silo is then sealed tightly,” Riungu adds.


Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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