CABMACC Funded “Dairy Productivity and Reduced Carbon Emissions” Project Makes Headway in Dedza
Dedza district is fast becoming one of the leading milk supplier owing to the increasing annual growth of dairy farmers. Dairy production provides valuable food products, regular income and employment for agricultural dependent households. Dairy farming generates important spill-overs to the rest of the economy and well managed livestock forms an important catalyst for reducing poverty and boosting human health.
Realizing this potential, the government of Malawi prioritized dairy farming in the agriculture sector and non-governmental organizations have also included dairy farming in their programs. This has resulted in dramatic increases in the number of dairy animals which however, if not properly managed has a negative impact on the environment. This come directly through the production of greenhouse gas emissions, and indirectly through the destruction of biodiversity, degradation of land, water and air pollution.
Recognizing the contribution of dairy animals to climate change, a consortium of researchers is implementing a research project referred to as “Evaluating feeding and breeding technologies for optimal dairy productivity and reduced carbon emissions”. The project which is funded by CABMACC is being implemented in Dedza (Mayani and Linthipe EPA) targeting one hundred (100) daily farmers from different milk banking groups.
According to the Principal Investigator of the project Dr. Liveness Banda, cost-effective feeding and breeding management technologies are being investigated, adapted and promoted in smallholder farms to sustainably contribute to improved livelihoods while reducing production of greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions per unit output of milk. This is being done through appropriate breeding and nutrition strategies.
Dr Banda said that the strategies enhance food and nutrition security contribution from dairy farming.
So far, smallholder farmers and extension workers have been trained in dairy husbandry, breeding, pasture production, feed formulation, dairy feeding regimes and business management. The project has facilitated pasture plots establishment and has made available a variety of pasture including Luecena, Rhodes grass and Cetrocema to be used as feed for dairy animals. Furthermore, the project has trained four artificial insemination technicians to assist farmers in increasing milk production. The project has further established an SMS based technology where farmers have access to technical advice on diary production. They are also able to communicate with experts regarding the milk production and other related issues under the project.
Amina Zandu, a lead dairy farmer from Mayani Milk banking group attributed the increase in the milk yields of her cows to the project. “Through this project we have been trained on the importance of feed diversification”, said Amina
She further said that she and her fellow farmers have also been supplied with a variety of pasture seed which they have planted in their fields and are currently using to make feed formulations. “Due to improved feeding, my milk production has increased and so has my income. I now have enough milk for sale and for my households’ consumption”, Said Amina.
Concurring with Amina, another farmer Grace Kawamba said that the general cattle house management training has helped in reducing the occurrence of disease infections which has been a major challenge in the past years.
Village headman Maganga expressed her gratitude towards the project emphasizing that dairy farmers in her area are now aware of the dangers of climate change and its linkage to dairy production.
Maganga requested for continued support and sustainability of the project saying that the project has evidently addressed relevant problems faced by dairy farmers in her area.
The CABMACC Programme is funded by the Royal Kingdom of Norway and is being coordinated by LUANAR’s Programmmes coordinating office. CABMACC aims at promoting Adaptation and Mitigation to the impacts of Climate Change.
Written by Christie Kang’ombe