Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) vine silage: A cost-effective supplement for milk production in smallholder dairy-farming systems of East Africa?

By Gakige, Jesse K.; Gachuri, C.; Butterbach-Bahl, Klaus and Goopy, John P.

Dairy production in East Africa is dominated by smallholder production systems, but is dogged by suboptimal milk production mediated by poor nutrition. Grain-based concentrates can be used to make the energy and protein deficits in rain-fed systems, but this strategy faces several hurdles. For livestock production systems to be sustainable, it is important that less human-edible food is fed to animals and sweet potato can serve both as a source of human food (tuber) and animal feed (vines). Smallholder scale-appropriate technology has been used to allow feed preservation of the perishable sweet potato vines for use throughout the year.