Opportunities to improve goat production and food security in Botswana through forage nutrition and the use of supplemental feeds

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Cooke, A., Machekano, H., Ventura-Cordero, J., Louro-Lopez, A., Joseph, V., Gwiriri, L., Takahashi, T., Morgan, E. R., Lee, M. R. F. and Nyamukondiwa, C. 2024. Opportunities to improve goat production and food security in Botswana through forage nutrition and the use of supplemental feeds. Food Security. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12571-024-01452-1

AuthorsCooke, A., Machekano, H., Ventura-Cordero, J., Louro-Lopez, A., Joseph, V., Gwiriri, L., Takahashi, T., Morgan, E. R., Lee, M. R. F. and Nyamukondiwa, C.
Abstract

Goats fulfil a central role in food and nutritional security across Africa with over half of households owning or rearing goats in rural areas. However, goat performance is poor and mortality high. This study assessed the nutritional quality of commonly used feeds and proposes feed-baskets to enhance goat nutrition and health. Feeds were collected from 11 areas within the Central District of Botswana, and macronutrient analyses were conducted, including crude protein, fibre fractions, ash, and metabolizable energy (ME). Forage nutrition was compared across seasons and soil types. Additionally, seasonal supplementation trials were conducted to evaluate consumption rates of various supplements, including crop residues, pellets, Lablab purpureus, and Dichrostachys cinerea. Each supplement was provided ad libitum for a 24-h period, and consumption rates determined. Findings revealed significant differences in nutrition among various feed sources, across seasons, and in relation to soil types (p < 0.001). Consumption rates of supplements were higher during the dry season, possibly due to reduced forage availability. Supplement consumption rates varied across supplement type, with crop residues accounting for approximately 1% of dry matter intake, compared to up to 45% for pellets, 13% for L. purpureus, and 15% for D. cinerea. While wet season feed baskets exhibited higher ME values compared to dry-season feed-baskets, the relative impact of supplementation was more pronounced during the dry season. These results highlight the potential for optimizing goat diets through improved grazing and browsing management, especially during the reduced nutritional availability in the dry season in Botswana. Such diet optimisation may improve goat health and productivity, which may positively impact the food and financial security of smallholders by providing both increased yields and increased resilience. Importantly, rural communities can experience some of the lowest food security levels in the region. The interventions explored in this study utilise natural capital, often freely available, which can be deployed through existing husbandry systems, potentially making them accessible and practical to smallholders.

KeywordsLivestock; Goats; Nutrition; Agriculture; Ruminants; Smallholder; Africa
Year of Publication2024
JournalFood Security
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s12571-024-01452-1
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderGlobal Challenges Research Fund (UKRI)
Funder project or codePlant-based solutions to integrate livestock disease control, nutrition and environmental sustainability in Africa
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online07 May 2024
Publication process dates
Accepted15 Apr 2024
ISSN1876-4517
PublisherSpringer

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