Ms Mirriam Makato, the Village Knowledge Centre (VKC) manager at Kangundo, Kenya, conducted a training on the establishment and management of Brachiaria grass on 22 November 2019. The participants of the training were from different villages of Kangundo sub-county and practice mixed crop-livestock farming systems and dairy is one of their most important livelihood strategies. Most of these farmers were aware about the benefits of Brachiaria grass from fellow farmers and friends.
“Nienda uvanda nyeki inu yiukumwa ni kila muimi, nikana nakwa niyonee useo wayo,” (I want to establish this grass that is being praised by every farmer so that I can witness is benefits), one farmer who attended the training commented.
The training focused on the establishment and management of Brachiaria grass. The farmers were informed that the grass can be grazed directly by livestock or used in a cut-and-carry system for animals under stall-feeding. It can also be conserved as hay or silage for dry season feeding. Farmers were taken through land preparation procedures, sowing, fertilizer application, weeding and harvesting.
Brachiaria grass is an innovation promoted by the InnovAfrica project in Kenya for improving livestock productivity and consequently food and nutrition security. The VKC is one of the innovative extension approaches tested in the project for sharing knowledge and information.
After the training, Brachiaria seeds were distributed to 12 women and 10 men farmers. There are many farmers willing to plant Brachiaria grass in the region due to publicity created through VKC and on-going rains. In November 2019 alone 82 farmers visited the VKC to seek information on livestock production and Brachiaria seeds.