A Collaboration of Identifying climate resilient forages between Scientists and farmers
- Impact Area
On October 23, 2022, we visited Yismahu Jemere’s field in the Dangila area of Amhara region, northern western Ethiopia. Yismahu is a participant of an on-farm exploratory testing of climate resilient mixed grass-forage systems, as part of the Ethiopia Grass project, implemented by Alliance of Bioversity & CIAT (the Alliance), in collaboration with project owner Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO), Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Trinity College Dublin, Hawassa University and Bahir Dar university. Mr. Jemere is a young farmer who has hope on the Mombasa (grass) and Desmodium (legume) mixtures, which are one of the three experimental forages he is growing on his designated field for the research. He said, “this grass and legume mixture grows very fast with high biomass, covers bare soil quickly and will replace my local forage grass.” His testimonial was not only about the high biomass he hoped for, but also the hope he has on Mombasa grass for protecting soils from erosion. This is especially important as soil in the study areas: northern and southern highlands of Ethiopia, are highly exposed to erosion due to lack of vegetation cover. In addition, mr. Jemere mentioned that fast growing grasses like Mombasa can be fed to oxen early in the season when there is feed shortage during land preparation for crop sowing.
Maru Getahun and Meshesha Aschenk are practitioner farmers, from Dera district of Amhara region, who also planted Mombasa with the grass Brachiaria cv Cayman and legume Lablab. The two farmers note that Mombasa mixtures with Desmodium, Lablab, and Cayman show the best combination in terms of ground cover and biomass yield. The reason being that Mombasa grows fast and straight, as well as easily supporting fast growing legume forages.