The fodder chopping machine. Photo: A Amadou, ICRISAT

Fodder chopping machines lead to a thriving livestock feed enterprise in rural Niger

The fodder chopping machine. Photo: A Amadou, ICRISAT

The fodder chopping machine. Photo: A Amadou, ICRISAT

Fodder chopping machines are proving to be a great help to livestock farmers in rural Niger, by providing suitable feed to their animals while saving their time and effort. In five villages, groups of farmers are making the most of an initiative to provide these machines to the farmers.

Feed for livestock is the most important factor in successful livestock farming. In Sahelian countries such as Niger, cereal crop stover (leaves and stalks) are major sources of feed for ruminant animals, especially during the dry season. Many livestock farmers feed their animals whole plant residues of their crops, leading to wastage and also adversely affecting the digestion of animals. Others manually cut the stover into small pieces – a laborious and time-consuming process.

To enhance the use of crop residues while improving their quality, ICRISAT and partners (see box below) supported five associations (three women’s groups and two men’s groups of about 25 stakeholders in each group/association) in five villages in Niger (Dioga and Ticko in Torodi region; Babon Kori, Akora Idi and Karazomé in Maradi region) by equipping them with one chopping machine each. The chopping machines were given on the understanding that the beneficiary association would engage in feed processing business and reimburse the cost of the chopper in one year.

The association chopped crop residues from community members who paid around 600 CFA (US$ 1) per bag of chopped residues. After five months of activity, over 100 tons (4,000 bags) of cereal stover (mainly millet) were chopped for about 200 customers, generating an equivalent of US$ 4,200.  The chopped feed sold at the local market for an equivalent of US$ 22,000.

Moreover, each association reported the following benefits:

  • Chopping machines facilitated the formulation of rations based on local feeds.
  • Chopped cereal stover could be stored in bags instead of in open shed (hangars) where they lose flavor and nutritive value and are also prone to insect attack.
  • Farmers are earning incomes from the feed business and market opportunities in their community.

According to participants, the fodder chopping machines also created employment opportunities for youth who assist farmer’s associations in some operations (transportation of feed and choppers to different sites).

Most importantly, the chopping machines played a key role in stimulating the development of small feed markets around the collection, chopping and commercialization of feed from crop residues as small businesses that generate incomes as a support to the development of feed value chain.

For more on our work in Niger, click here.

For more on our work in the area of Feed and Fodder, click here.

About the authors:

Dr Clarisse Umutoni
Post-doc Livestock Scientist
Dryland Systems and Livelihood Diversification
ICRISAT – West and Central Africa (WCA)

Dr Vincent Bado
Principal Scientist
Dryland Systems and Livelihood Diversification
Innovations Systems for the Drylands

Mr Abdoulaye Amadou
Senior Scientific Officer

Project: Enabling Value Chains to Create Sustainable Income for Vulnerable People in Crop-Livestock Systems of Burkina Faso and Niger
Partners: International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI); the Institut de l’Environnement de Recherches Agricoles (INERA) in Burkina Faso, The Conseil National de Recherche Agronomique (CNRA) in Niger; Resilience and Economic Growth in the Sahel Enhanced Resilience (REGIS_AG); Mercy Corps Niger; and Association pour la Promotion de l’Élevage au Sahel et en Savane (APSS).
Funder: Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems (funded by USAID)
CGIAR Research Program: Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals
This work contributes to UN Sustainable Development Goal.
1-no-poverty 7-decent-work 15-life-onland 17-partnerships-goals 

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