Voice of America (Washington, DC)

Africa's Livestock Demand Better Feeding

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Herrero says you can improve the quality of grasses that would lead to potentially doubling or tripling productivity.

The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) is studying ways to grow crops where the stover and the straws have greater nutritional value, he explains.

"And this is a fascinating area of research that the CGIAR centers are really contributing to. They found that with these improved stovers you can at least double productivity in some of the cases," Herrero says. Then, the farmer has the same amount of grain but with a crop residue that is much better for the animal.

Livestock produce 12 to 18 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, Herrero said. However, with continued increases in livestock emissions of methane gas, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide emissions, he says we could see further increases in temperatures and disruption of the climate cycles.

To reduce the effect livestock have on climate change, especially in developing countries, Herrero says farmers need to become more market orientated, "so that they can try to produce more animal product.

At the same time, creating more markets also implies the provision of services, improved varieties of grasses, and other inputs. "It's really a whole package to help farmers intensify their production practices," the scientist emphasizes.

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