In the ‘Land of a thousand hills’ where the largely steep landscape has led to severe erosion, finding sufficient feed to support the growing dairy industry has been a major challenge to smallholder farmers.
However, a visit to farmers in Eastern and Southern provinces of Rwanda during the country’s dry season in July revealed that the climate smart Brachiaria grass—or ivugbwe as it is known locally—has the potential to extend forage availability throughout the year.
Rwandan dairy farmers have been participating in a research project to assess the performance of best bet varieties of Brachiaria grass for different agro-ecological regions in Rwanda. The Swedish funded project on ‘Climate smart Brachiaria grass to increase livestock production in East Africa’ was led by the Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub and implemented in collaboration with the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB).
In this 5-minute video, the farmers talk about why Brachiaria grass has quickly become a favorite forage for their livestock.