On 14th April, 2021, InnovAfrica project organized a one-day policy dialogue meeting on food security in Rungwe District, Mbeya region whereby one of the topics of discussion was the best way to grow Brachiaria forage grass to increase milk production in the country.
Speaking at the meeting, on behalf of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) of Sokoine University of Agriculture Prof. Maulid Mwatawala, Director of the Directorate of Postgraduate Studies, Research, Technology Transfer and Consultancy Prof. Esron Karimuribo commended the InnovAfrica project for uplifting and improving people's lives and did not hesitate to express how proud the university is to be part of that success.
Brachiaria pilot research plots at Ilenge Village Knowlege Centre, Rungwe - Mbeya
Prof. Karimuribo said that Sokoine University of Agriculture's participation in this project helps to achieve various global goals including Sustainable Development Goal Number Two which aims to achieve "zero hunger" by 2030
"This project focused on promoting Brachiaria grass farming as an alternative way to get better food for livestock which in result will help increase the production of quality milk and then the farmer sells milk and increases their income but also when the milk is used by community members it help improves their health and nutrition”, said Prof. Karimuribo
Presenting a brief overview of the project which was being implemented in Mbeya Region, Rungwe District, the Project Coordinator, Prof. Dismas Mwaseba said that they as researchers have seen Brachiaria seeds thrive in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania and can be of great help to pastoralists in the area.
Director of the Directorate of Postgraduate Studies, Research, Technology Transfer and Consultancy Prof. Esron Karimuribo (fifth from left) front listening to information from project researcher, Dr. Ismail Suleiman (fourth from left)
Prof. Mwaseba mentioned also that they have established the Farmers and Innovation Platforms group and if used properly it has the potential to spread Brachiaria farming which is of great benefit to pastoralists and farmers.
Various farmers participating in the project have said that they are currently seeing the benefits of the project and especially after the increase in milk production and the availability of these grasses unlike before.
Pastoralist Mehne Mwasumbi and Stanley Salingo noted that since they planted the grass, they have been comfortable all the time where in Mehne's case she explained that even when her husband is not there she just goes out of their house to cut grass and feed cattle but also sees a difference in milk production at present whereby its quality has increased significantly
Ilenge Village Knowledge Centre - Rungwe, Mbeya
Brachiaria grass in its original form
The goal of InnovAfrica is to improve food and nutrition security (FNS) by integrating sustainable agriculture intensification systems, innovative institutional approaches with novel extension and advisory services, and by enhancing capacity building and knowledge sharing in smallholder farming in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) through a strong EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership.
Read more information about this project in the following links
Photo and Story credits: Gerald Lwomile, SUAMEDIA