Participatory establishment of <em>Cenchrus ciliaris</em> forage grass among pastoralists in a semi-arid rangeland area of eastern Tanzania

Research Article

Participatory establishment of Cenchrus ciliaris forage grass among pastoralists in a semi-arid rangeland area of eastern Tanzania

DOI: 10.2989/10220119.2023.2219700
Author(s): Onesmo Damian Ngenzi Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania , Peter Rogers Ruvuga , Tanzania , George Mutani Msalya Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania , David Dawson Maleko Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania


In the semi-arid areas of Africa many pastorallsts move their livestock to find better grazing when forage is scarce during the dry season. However, the practice of forage cultivation can sustain fodder supply for effective livestock feeding during these times. This study was undertaken to (1) assess grazing land management, and perception among Maasai pastoralists, and 2) evaluate Cenchrus ciliaris L. (Buffel grass) establishment and biomass yield under four levels of fertilisation and three seedbeds in a semi-arid area of eastern Tanzania. The seedbeds were not tilled (NT), tilled flat (TF) and tilled sunken (SN) with manure applied at rates of 0, 5, 10 and 15 t ha–1. The 2m × 3m subplots were replicated three times per seedbed-manure treatment. Communal grazing land was perceived to be in poor condition by pastoralists due to the long time spent by their livestock in search of forage. Private forage reserves for dry-season feeding were present and could be used for forage cultivation. The TF, manure at 10 and 15 t ha–1 treatments had significantly higher (p < 0.001) C. ciliaris establishment rates (97%) and biomass than other treatments. The TF10 and TF15 t ha–1 treatments had biomass values of 9.8 and 10.1t OM ha–1, respectively, by Week 10. Pastoralists preferred the TF method because of its high forage yield and low cost. Cultivation of C. ciliaris is important for livestock production and it can be established on privately owned forage reserves.

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