Farmers' preferences and use of local fodder trees and shrubs in Kenya
Authors: Roothaert, R.; Franzel, S.
Source: Agroforestry Systems, Volume 52, Number 3, August 2001 , pp. 239-252(14)
Abstract:Indigenous fodder trees and shrubs are now receiving increased research attention. Systematic information from farmers about the species they use is, however, scanty. The objective of this study was to find out farmers' ranking of local fodder tree species of their choice; their criteria for assessing fodder trees; how the most preferred species rated on each criterion; species' uses, management, and ways of establishment; and implications of these results for the design of similar studies in the tropics. The study consisted of informal and formal surveys in three agroecological zones with mean annual rainfall of 775, 950 and 1300 mm, respectively. Farmers used an indigenous board game, bao, to rank species. Improved, stall-fed dairy animals were the dominant livestock type in the subhumid zone whereas communally-grazed, local-breed cattle and goats were common in the dry zone. A total of 160 different local fodder trees and shrubs were used by farmers in the three zones. The three most preferred species in the subhumid zone were Triumfetta tomentosa, Commiphora zimmermanii, and Bridelia micrantha; in the medium zone, Aspilia mossambicensis, Lantana camara, and Grewia tembensis, and in the low zone, Melia volkensii,Crotalaria goodiiformis, and A. mossambicensis. In the subhumid zone, the most frequently mentioned criteria were the ability of the fodder to satisfy hunger and contributions to animal health. Palatability and drought resistance of the tree were the most important criteria in the medium zone and, effect on the condition of the animal and palatability were most important in the dry zone. Farmers' ratings on palatability for cattle and goats, and milk production for goats differed significantly among tree and shrub species (P < 0.05). The study has helped identify species for further research and development activities, with the aim of improving their productivity and disseminating them among farmers.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2001-08-01