International Bamboo and Rattan Organization

International Bamboo and Rattan Organization

Agriculture Extension Officers Trained in Bamboo Fodder Applications 

24 Mar 2022

INBAR trains 51 agriculture extension officers in the use of bamboo leaves as fodder to feed livestock in Ghana 

18 March 2020 ─ A total of 51 Agriculture Extension Officers from livestock production communities in the Sekyere Afram Plains District of the Ashanti Region, Ghana participated in a Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop on the preparation of bamboo leaves as fodder for livestock consumption. The one-day training programme which was held on 18 March 2022 at the Animal Science Department, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) forms part of activities under the Inter-Africa Bamboo Smallholder Farmers Livelihood Development Programme funded by IFAD. These extension officers are expected to pass down the knowledge to smallholder livestock farmers within their operational areas to improve food security, sustain farmer livelihoods and address the perennial shortage of animal feed during the dry seasons.

 

In Ghana, smallholder livestock farmers face difficulties accessing fodder to feed their animals during the dry season. Many livestock farmers consider this challenge a major threat to their livelihoods, especially during such periods. As part of actions to find sustainable solutions to this perennial problem, INBAR West Africa Regional Office (WARO) in partnership with the Animal Science Department of KNUST carried out a scientific study to examine the suitability of bamboo leaves as fodder for livestock consumption.  

Prof. Emmanuel Osafo, the lead research scientist of the bamboo fodder and animal experimentation study at KNUST during the training workshop presented some findings on the study which fed goats with leaves of two bamboo species, Abyssinica and Beema. Using the in-vitro and in-vivo approach in animal experimentation, the study showed that these bamboo species had good fibre and high protein content relative to many well-known fodder preparations. The study also showed a high level of bamboo fodder suitability and likeability by goats and sheep during the trials.  Following the successful trial, INBAR WARO has since been engaged in sensitisation workshops and capacity building programmes for livestock farmers in identified production areas in Ghana. He noted that a field demonstration in the livestock farmers’ farms at Jeduako in the Sekyere Central District in the Ashanti Region of Ghana proved to be beneficial to farmers as they gained first-hand knowledge and experience on bamboo fodder application and expressed their willingness to integrate bamboo leaves as part of their animal’s feed mix.  

The training has been heralded as innovative as participants received new knowledge on bamboo fodder processing into hay and silage for long term storage. They also received hands-on training and basic safety tips when operating bamboo fodder cutting machines. 

Mr. Michael Kwaku, INBAR National Coordinator, Ghana, in a presentation indicated that INBAR is currently piloting the introduction and integration of two non-native high yielding species of bamboo namely, Oxythenantera abyssinica and Bambusa balcooa capable of supplying sufficient fodder for livestock throughout the year. He added that INBAR would continue to engage stakeholders and support bamboo livelihood development initiatives that secure livelihoods and environmental protection.  

In 2021, a total of 150 livestock farmers from various communities in Ejura-Sekyedumase District in the Ashanti Region of Ghana received training on how to prepare and administer bamboo leaves as feed for their livestock. The farmers were taken through various stages of feed preparation including leaves selection, cutting, storage, and application.  To sustain this effort and disseminate knowledge on bamboo fodder to many smallholder livestock farmers, INBAR intends to organise several ToT workshops across the country.