Livestock innovation platform
NB On 31 March 2010 RIU will stop leading on the Livestock Innovation Platform. Before then, RIU will explore linkages with other institutions that could continue facilitating the livestock platform activities.
Livestock production is an integral part of agricultural production in Malawi; the Livestock Innovation Platform is working in the piggery and dairy sectors. Compared to crop production, livestock constitute a relatively small sub-sector in Malawi's agriculture. The livestock sector is typically a low-input low-output management system with over 500,000 smallholder families (Source: Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation
Higher outputs of livestock production are experienced by a relatively small number of large-scale intensive commercial livestock/poultry enterprises, most of which are located in the urban and peri-urban areas of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu cities. Intensive production enterprises include broiler and layer production, beef cattle feedlots and pig and dairy production. These form the major outlets for protein sources in Malawi.
Livestock constitute a source of protein and an important income source for rural households. Livestock is more important in the southern region districts where land holding sizes are small and households cannot rely sales of residual crops. Increased livestock production also has great export potential and could reduce unemployment.
The original RIU Malawi Country Strategy document did not specifically identify livestock as an Innovation Platforms. However the National Innovation Coalition
(NIC) proposed livestock due to its high priority in the country's Agriculture Development Programme.
The NIC proposed piggery and dairy in the first phase. Platform members would include livestock associations, NGOs, livestock processors, feed producers as well as research organisations.
RNRRS outputs being reviewed
Other research outputs being put into use
- Better organisation helps farmers to access markets (CPH10)
Originally applied in Uganda on maize but can be applied in Malawi on piggery.
Constraints: Lack of appropriate transport for pigs to markets; lack of market information against over supply of pigs; high incidence of African Swine Fever.
Opportunity: High demand for pigs from processors.
- Snack bags for cows boost smallholder dairy farmers' milk production (LPP03)
The original research was undertaken in Zimbabwe and wil be tested to see if it can be applied in Malawi.
Constraints: Small landholding sizes; lack of proper information among farmers; overdependence on tobacco as means of livelihood.
Opportunities: Increased legume farming practice.
- Handy bales save livestock keepers money (LPP05)
Working with farmers in Tanzania, researchers have developed a simple way of making bales by hand. Since transporting feed is a major cost for poor producers, the technique could have a major impact on their livelihoods - reducing transport costs by up to 60% in some cases.
- Cheap, easy to make urea molasses blocks boost milk production (LPP08)
Used in Bangladesh but can also be used in Malawi.
Constraints: Lack of information among farmers.
Opportunities: Legume and rice farming practised in some areas where dairy farming exist.
- More shrubs mean more milk in East Africa (FRP43)
More in East Africa to some extent in Malawi.
Constraints: Lack of agro-dealers for fodder shrub seed; lack of relevant information among farmers.
Opportunities: A number of districts that keep dairy animals in Malawi have limited land.
- Pastures, fodders, crops, forage legumes and livestock feeds (NARS)
Developed in Malawi.
Constraints: Lack of information on benefits of proper feeding.
Opportunities: Abundant crop residue.
- Use of forage for livestock supplementation during dry season (NARS)
Developed in Malawi.
Constraints: Attitude of not taking livestock farming seriously.
Opportunities: Abundant crop residue. The Department of Agricultural Research and Services (DARS) through the livestock research centre at Lunyangwa in Mzuzu, Chitedze Research Centre and Bunda College of Agriculture have been developing some livestock technologies.