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Improving Access to Quality Feed & Forage Seed for the Dairy Sector in Kenya and Uganda

This project aims to develop viable business models for forage seed production and marketing that assure economically sustainable access to high-quality forage seed in Kenya and Uganda.  

Gendered perceptions of livestock and agricultural production in Kenya: a new blog from the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, our project partners.


In East Africa, dairy farming has high potential as a means of gainful self-employment for the rural poor. It complements arable farming by making use of less productive land and crop residues as feed. The latter also leads to nutrient recycling and improved soil fertility in the long term.  

High-quality feed remains elusive for many farmers 

Sub-optimal feeding limits further professionalization and development of the dairy sector in Kenya and Uganda. Feed and forages account for 65% of the costs of dairy production, and their quality directly impacts the quality and quantity of milk produced. Unfortunately, for many farmers, high-quality seed of forage species and varieties remain inaccessible or underutilized.  

Therefore, economically viable production and distribution of forage seeds is an appropriate starting point for improving forage productivity and access. This also calls for attention to quality assurance mechanisms used by different seed businesses. 

The project specifically aims to: 

  1. Analyse the functioning of and challenges in the forage seed sector and identify opportunities for change 
  1. Identify, pilot and assess business models for commercially viable forage seed production of promising and highly demanded species, and 
  1. Test different forage seed promotion strategies. 

International and local partnerships 

This project is implemented by a consortium of partners, including the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI) in Uganda, the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT in Kenya and two private seed companies selling forage seeds, Barenbrug and Advantage Crops Limited. The consortium collaborates with local seed multipliers, traders and dairy farmers’ cooperatives and groups in Uganda and Kenya. 

The Netherlands-CGIAR Seed Systems Development Programme 

The project is part of the NWO funded programme NL-CGIAR research programme: Seed Systems Development; Enabling and Scaling Genetic Improvement and Propagation Materials.  

The  forage seed business models project uses the ISSD approach and is part of the ISSD Africa Community of Practice, which promotes partnership among seed sector stakeholders, identifying opportunities that can emerge between different seed systems and seed value chains. Through their interventions, the programmes aim to stimulate seed policy innovation, strengthen local seed entrepreneurship and support the emergence of a strong, vibrant and pluralistic seed sector in Africa. 

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  • Policy & Programme Design

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