In Tanzania, most research work on Brachiaria forage-livestock system by Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) InnovAfrica team is concentrated in and around Ilenge village in Rungwe District.
Both on-station and on-farm experiments have focused on three Brachiaria cultivars: Brachiariabrizantha cv. Piata, Brachiaria brizantha cv. Xaraes and Brachiariadecumbens cv. Balisisk. These have been tested against a local pasture species Elephant grass [Cenchrus purpureus (Schumach.) Morrone].
However, efforts are on-going to upscale the technology beyond Rungwe District. So far this has involved dissemination efforts that have been conducted in Iringa, Coast, and Morogoro regions as detailed below:
In Iringa work on Brachiaria started in October 2018 and is being undertaken in joint cooperation with Kibebe Farm which deals with dairy production and breeding.
The Farm has established Brachiaria demonstration plots (in the image below). It disseminates Brachiaria by giving tillers to customers who visit the farm to buy cattle breeds. The farm has so far distributed tillers to eight farmers.
Pasture experimental plots were established at Kibaha Education Center (KEC) in May 2019. Three Brachiaria cultivars were sown using standard protocol developed by InnovAfrica. Data on growth attributes was collected monthly for three months consecutively as shown in the image below.
All plots received similar management practices such as weeding and agronomic inputs (fertilizers). The growth performance was very good in almost all cultivars with B. decumbens cv. Balisisk being the best cultivar for the area.
University Farm at SUA
On-going experiments at SUA offer space for experiments on Brachiaria. They additionally offer training opportunities for SUA students as demonstrated in the image below.
In addition, the farm receives visitors interested in knowing more about Brachiaria. Last year, for example, a delegation of two visitors from Norway and Mulbadaw Farm in Hanang District in Manyara region in Tanzania paid a visit to Brachiaria experiments and expressed the need for cooperation on research on Brachiaria.
Journalists from SUA and Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) have documented some success stories that have nationwide exposure.
Below are some examples:
- TBC https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZpilKPc4co
These initiatives will help ensure that knowledge of Brachiaria grass will spread through many regions in Tanzania.