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Mother of Five Invests in Fodder Production in Kenya’s Arid Lands

Asha Adan, a mother of five boys, has farmed in the arid north of Kenya’s Coast Province for the past 15 years, producing mostly fruit crops and, more recently, rearing cattle. She is the secretary of the Al-Mukaram farm, near the bridge that connects Garissa and Madogo. The group farm has 50 members—20 women and 30 men—and 192 acres of land of which about 56 are currently under cultivation.

A devout Muslim who seeks knowledge, Asha traveled to Garissa District to visit a fodder production demonstration plot at the Al-Rahma farm. The USAID-funded Kenya Drylands Livestock Development Program organized the agricultural field day. As part of the U.S. global hunger and food security initiative, known as Feed the Future, the livestock program works to increase rural farming families’ incomes and build resiliency against drought, floods or spikes in staple food products.

Fodder production interested Asha very much. She described how her cows would travel far to find grass to feed, leaving over 50 calves behind at home, which she fed with tea and porridge. “It is expensive and unsustainable, but the price of maize and sugar has gone beyond my reach,” Asha explained.

Persuaded that producing her own fodder would increase her family’s resiliency to the effects of drought and rising maize prices, Asha purchased two acres of land for fodder production. “I have been able to sustain my family from this farm and now I want to sustain my livestock, thanks to Allah for bringing me this timely information,” said Asha.

Asha purchased fodder grass seeds and fertilizer from a local agro-dealer, which has also received business and technical training from the USAID Kenya Dry Lands Livestock Development Program. The program helped Asha develop her own demonstration plot, enabling her to share her newfound knowledge of fodder production with other farmers in her community. As part of the demonstration, a small section of Asha’s land was planted with other crops that can also be used as fodder such as sorghum, sweet potatoes, maize and cassava.

More than 5,000 pastoralist families in five vulnerable districts in North Eastern Kenya are benefitting from improved agricultural technologies and practices thanks to the USAID Drylands Livestock Development Program.

This story originally appeared on the USAID Mission Kenya website. 

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