Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 44, Issue 7, pp 1459–1468 | Cite as

Feed inventory and smallholder farmers’ perceived causes of feed shortage for dairy cattle in Gisagara District, Rwanda

  • Moses Kamanzi
  • Cletos MapiyeEmail author
Original Research


A survey was conducted to indentify dairy cattle feed resources and smallholder farmers’ perceived causes of feed shortage in the central and southern plateaus of Gisagara District, Rwanda. Data were obtained by interviewing 120 smallholder milk producers using structured questionnaires and through direct observations made during transect walks. In all the surveyed areas, rangelands (mean rank = 1.12), crop residues (1.21), improved grasses (2.34), browse (3.23) and herbaceous (4.84) legumes were ranked as the main feed resources. Pennisetum purpureum (95% of the respondents), Leucaena diversifolia (60%) and Calliandra calothyrsus (40%) were the most cultivated fodders in all the plateaus. The dominant crop residue was Zea mays stover (65% of the farmers) in the surveyed areas. In both plateaus, land scarcity was ranked (mean rank = 1.45) as the most important cause of feed shortage followed by inadequacy of forage planting material (2.72) and lack of knowledge on forage production and utilisation (3.02). To ensure sustainable viability of smallholder dairying in densely populated highlands, screening and evaluation of high-yielding and easily propagated pastures, incorporation of forages into cropping systems, value addition of low quality roughages and training farmers on forage production and utilisation should be prioritised.


Browse legumes Crop residues Land scarcity Napier grass Sustainability 



Authors are indebted to the farmers in Gisagara District for their participation in the current study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Animal ProductionNational University of RwandaButareRwanda

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