Patron -  Joanna Lumley, OBE

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Prosopis as Animal Feed

Animal fodder training for women in the Khashm El Ghirba region of Kassala State (2011)

In days gone by, pastoralists in the Horn of Africa were able to roam far and wide - so that in the dry season (which in this part of Sudan is 10 months of the year) they used to travel long distances to areas where fodder was available for their animals - by rivers and small lakes. With the increase in population and the growth of arable agriculture, much of the traditionally available pastures have either been taken over  for arable agriculture or the migration routes have been made less accessible or closed off altogether. To meet this challenge, PENHA has worked with the government’s Animal Production Research Centre (APRC) in Khartoum to develop a feed which could be used in the dry season so that it is not necessary to have to migrate such long distances. This research has able to make a positive use of a recently introduced shrub which had become a major problem in Sudan (and in the Horn of Africa as a whole) called “muskit” (Prosopis Juliflora) by the local people. A simple method has been developed, combining tradition knowledge with a new scientific approach, to use muskit with more traditional feeds.

The main objectives of these training programs were:

  1. Exploring the indigenous knowledge of the women about animal fodder and combining this with scientific knowledge and so ending with optimal knowledge. Research has shown that the participation of the end beneficiaries in planning, execution and monitoring programmes guarantees success and sustainability.
  2. Introduction of some modern and simple technologies for feed preparation and preservation

Alternative Animal Feeds for Pastoralist Communities in Kassala State (Phase 1: January 2008)

The central strategy for this training is the transfer of better feeding technologies by training of trainers e.g. within line ministries and established local pastoralist non-governmental and community based organisations and community leaders. In this way the benefits are replicated in pastoral areas with local and federal government support. The trainees will be equipped with new knowledge, practical skills and tools on how to best use crop fodder and crop residue.

Objectives

  1. Tackle poverty and food security among Sudanese pastoralists and agro-pastoralists through technical capacity building and training programmes for the development of the livestock related activities
  2. Advocate, promote and raise awareness among civil society and policy makers including local and central government and line ministries in Eritrea and Sudan to include pastoralist communities and livestock issues in the agenda of national development and food security. Change negative attitudes and approaches towards pastoralism within government policy making deparments and development programme design.
  3. Empower pastoralist communities and their institutions to play a full role in their own development.
  4. Build capacity through support for and delivery of training for pastoralist Community Based Organisations and front-line government staff (extension workers) working with pastoralists, agro-pastoralists and/or other livestock owners
  5. Exchange and share knowledge, experiences and research data with other experts and pastoralists in Eastern Sudan and in Western Eritrea who face similar ecological and socioeconomic conditions.

Achievements

Nomadic pastoralists, agro-pastoralists and sedentary livestock owners who were chosen from different ethnic groups in Kassala state were the main beneficiaries of the training. Totally 33 pastoralist has benefited from the training on alternative fodder production skills of which 25% were women. A training  was successfully developed by Animal

Phase 2 Training (end 2008)

In total, 100 pastoralists attended training sessions and obtained skill and knowledge about more effective and efficient ways of animal feeding. They are now able to replicate the new knowledge in their areas.

As a result of the training some participants have started spreading the knowledge they learned to their neighbours, relatives and other community members. The numbers who indirectly benefited from the training amounted to over 1,000 livestock owners in the Kassala State. As extension of the training, the Pastoralist Environment Association in Kassala State (PEAKS) was formed to pursue a better livelihood for pastoralist in Eastern Sudan particularly in Kassala state. Through the mutual cooperation, the College of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Production, Animal Production Research Centre and PENHA, pastoralists groups in Kassala benefited in various ways, such as obtaining new skills, knowledge and ideas.

The training module developed in Sudan was used in Western Eritrea in January 2009 and 220 pastoralists and farmers were trained there.

Reports which describe and illustrate the training can be downloaded here. The first is training in Halfa (download here (752kb)). The second was in Ghirba (download here (731kb)).