Natural pastures constitute the largest proportion of the livestock feeding resources in Uganda. They support over 90% of livestock feeding systems which are largely managed extensively on ranches, forested and roadside communal grazing lands. Forages thus contribute significantly to year around livestock feed supply for both open grazed and cut-and-carry (stall fed) systems. The forage improvement endeavours geared towards identifying, selecting and promoting forage resources that are consistent with vagaries of climatic change, low soils fertility level, challenges of termite damage and in some cases water logging conditions that exist in some areas during wet seasons, can make drastic changes in livestock productivity.
We are currently undertaking breeding works geared towards development of forages that are highly nutritious; high yielding; tolerant to drought, heat and diseases; remain green for long enough into the dry seasons; sprouts aggressively at the on-set of rain seasons and responds commensurately to fertilizers. These features encompass the preferred characteristics of a livestock feed that can be utilized for year round availability to support both intensive and extensive feeding systems.
All our efforts in forage breeding and agronomy are directed towards availing feed resources that can be utilized throughout the year to be able to support both intensive and extensive feeding systems. It is anticipated that the interventions will result in stabilizing the spatial and temporal fluctuations in forage availability that hinders farm productivity and curtail expected incomes among livestock farming communities and other value chain actors.