TAFSSA: revolutionizing livestock feed storage – training farmers in silage and hay production in Bangladesh

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Farmers as part of the TAFSSA training, getting hand-on practice at making quality livestock fodder. Photo credit: Saiful Islam


CGIAR’s Transforming Agrifood Systems in South Asia (TAFSSA) initiative is working to integrate evidence with practical solutions to address concerns of water scarcity and fodder shortage in the Barind areas of Rajshahi and Chapainawabganj districts, Bangladesh. Adopting silage and hay-making technologies to conserve animal feed for use during times of limited fresh and green grass supply is one such intervention. TAFSSA recently organized a training session in which over 145 participants, comprising farmers and important stakeholders, were taught the importance and procedures of preparing sorghum silage and cowpea hay.

The primary aims of the training were to equip farmers with the knowledge and skills needed to make silage and hay, and to underline the need to store good quality livestock fodder for use in times of fodder scarcity. This will result in better livestock management and increased climate resilience.

Participants and methodology

Farmers from four trial villages, Bauitia, Soyghati, Sobdolpur, and Bashbaria Bakoil, attended the training. Scientists from Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI) and Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), as well as field research assistants, entrepreneurs, and government officials from partner organizations, were also present. Women farmers – who are often the ones with the main responsibility for livestock care in Bangladesh’s farming households – accounted for 34% of the participants. The training comprised theoretical lessons followed by practical sessions in the silage and hay-making sheds, as well as a fodder chopper machine demonstration.

Dr. Shakhawat Hossain from On-Farm Research Division (OFRD), BARI, and Dr. Saiful Islam from CIMMYT, Bangladesh delivered an outline of TAFSSA’s objectives and operations at the training’s opening ceremony on July 11, 2023. Dr. Hossain also underlined the need for a well-balanced and healthy diet which includes nutritious food from multiple sources. As the event’s chief guest, Dr. Jagadish Chandra Barman, Principal Scientific Officer of OFRD-BARI, emphasized the significance of the training.

Next, BLRI scientists led theoretical seminars on issues such as the introduction of enhanced grasses as fodder, improved cultivation methods, silage and hay-making processes, storage, feeding practices, and risk mitigation associated with the potential effects of micro-organisms when storing fresh grasses.

This was followed by practical sessions, in which BLRI scientists demonstrated each step of the silage and hay-making processes. Farmers participated enthusiastically, producing around 50 kg of silage each. The bags of silage were subsequently distributed to farmers in their respective communities, the quality of which will be monitored over the next [how long?] under the observation of BLRI scientists.

One of the invited entrepreneurs demonstrated the mechanized fodder chopper, including the maintenance and functions of its different spare parts and their availability.

Outcomes of the training

The training successfully provided farmers with the information and skills required to produce silage and hay. Participants learnt about the risks connected with fresh grass storage and appropriate control strategies, and recognized the value of silage and hay as animal feed options.

Summary of training evaluation

TAFSSA’s evaluation of the training showed that farmers considered it highly participatory and interesting. They were pleased with the trainers’ responses to their questions, and appreciated the grass chopper exhibited by the entrepreneur.


The silage and hay-making process training organized by TAFSSA and executed by BLRI has given the trainees much to think about new experience  in the Barind districts. With new skills and knowledge, these farmers are now better prepared to conserve and store fodder for their cattle, which perhaps contribute to increased food security and livestock management in the region and encourage more small farming households to adopt agricultural mechanization.

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