Title :Management of Prosopis juliflora Invasion through Production of Animal Feed in Marigat Sub-County, Kenya
Audience :Livestock Farmers, Academic and Research Institutions, and Extension Officers
Category :Land Management
Prosopis juliflora commonly known as ‘Mathenge’ is found mostly in Arid and Semi- arid Lands (ASALs) of Kenya. The ASALs account for about 80% of the country’s land area. Due to severe droughts experienced in the 1970’s which seriously degraded the ASALs, there was increased planting of Prosopis to rehabilitate such areas and to mitigate recurrent famine and loss of livestock. The first planting of Prosopis in Kenya, presumably P. pallida and/or its hybrid, can be traced to tree species trials established in 1973 at the Kenyan coast in Mombasa County and Menengai in Nakuru County. These trials were to enable selection of trees and shrubs that could thrive in the drylands. Prosopis was one of the species selected for dryland planting through these trails. In 1982, Prosopis was introduced in Baring County to rehabilitate areas that had suffered poor environmental conditions due to: prolonged droughts; strong winds; dust storms and bare ground, resulting to inadequate pasture. However, due to the fast growth and prolific seeding of Prosopis, the species has since become invasive. Marigat Sub-County is one of the areas that suffer greatly from Prosopis invasiveness.
Marigat Sub-County in Baringo County lies between latitude 00 20’N and 00 44’N and longitude 350 57’E and 360 12’E. The area altitudinal range is between 900 and 1,200 m above sea level, and is generally hot and dry throughout the year. Rainfall variability is very high with an annual average rainfall of about 650 mm. Most of the rain falls within one season from April to August, followed by a prolonged dry season. The rainfall pattern is strongly influenced by local topography. Temperatures within the Sub-County range from 30oC to 35oC but can rise to 370 C in some months, with the hottest period being between January and March. Soils mainly comprise of clay loam and alluvial deposits. Land tenure system in the area is communal.
Farmers and pastoral groups in Marigat-Sub County are undertaking various activities to control Prosopis spread. One such group is LOKASACHA Group, with membership across the five locations of Marigat Sub-County, namely; Loboi, Karaba, Sandai, Chepinging and Arapai. The Group has a membership of 1,500 women and 500 men. Farmers in Sandai village are sedentary and undertake various farming practices including; crop and livestock keeping, and agroforestry. Farming is both subsistence and commercial in nature and relies both on rainfall and irrigation.
For livestock farmers, animal feed is vital for sustenance of their livestock mainly; cattle, sheep and goats. Pasture unavailability has been a common challenge in Marigat sub-County due to suppression of other fodder species by Prosopis. Although Prosopis can offer alternative feed for livestock, the high sugar content in its pods has been reported to negatively affect livestock teeth. Alternative ways to use prosopis pods for fodder has been introduced through new feed formulations, and is being adopted in the sub-county.
To increase livestock feeds through utilization of Prosopis pods.
LOKASACHA Group members collect mature ripe Prosopis pods to produce livestock feed. The composition of the feed is at a ratio of 30% Prosopis pods and 70% of other feeds which include: maize cobs (10%), maize stovers (20%), millet stalks (10%), Balanites aegyptica seeds (10%), Acacia tortilis pods (10%) and grass (10%). The 70% of the feed materials are added to lower concentration of the sugar content from Prosopis as well as make the feed more nutritious. The raw materials are mostly collected from the farms and in the wild then sun dried, an activity undertaken by women and youth throughout the year. Each material is sun dried and milled separately. The material collected can be stored in the Group store before milling and distribution to members.
|Sun drying Prosopis pods
||Milling livestock feed
||Milled livestock feed|
LOKASACHA has two milling machines, which enable members to produce 5 bags of 90 kg of feed per hour. The Group also has one compressing machine that is used for making livestock feed blocks.
Milling and compressing the feed blocks is undertaken by men. On receiving the animal feed, each member contributes Ksh 10 to the Group, whereby Ksh 5 is for community development and Ksh 5 is for the Group’s logistics expenditure.
• Increased availability of animal feeds all year round, leading to reduced livestock mortality and improved livelihood.
• By milling, one ton of Prosopis pods, over two million seeds are destroyed, thus reducing a significant source of new invasion.
• Introduction of new raw materials for feed formulation of high nutritive value leading to improved livestock health and productivity.
• Improved aesthetic value of the land.
• Decreased invasiveness of Prosopis through utilization of pods.
• Reduced community conflicts due to availability of adequate livestock feed.
• Each group member contributes Ksh.10 (US$ 0.1) after every milling, where Ksh 5 (US$ 0.05) is channeled for logistics and Ksh 5 (US$ 0.05) for group use such as equipment maintenance.
• Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) provides technical support to the Group.
The milled feeds are compressed to form pellets that are easier to store and transport.
• Inadequate funds
• Low debt repayment by members
• Sustenance of the elderly using Group resources.
Prosopis pods can be processed and used as a livestock feed when mixed fodder materials.
The practice is helping the community in Marigat Sub-county to have an alternative source of livestock feed and is creating harmony and improved livelihood.