News and updates on research on livestock value chains by the International Livestock Research Institute and partners

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Feeding dairy cattle: Regional experts develop manual for farmers in East Africa

The East Africa Dairy Development project has produced a manual aimed at helping farmers in the region boost the productivity of their dairy cows through adoption of improved animal feeding practices.

The manual was developed by a team of animal science experts from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and the University of Nairobi.

The topics include the basic nutrient requirements of dairy cows; pasture management; production of forage such as hay and silage; feed supplements; practical aspects of feeding calves, heifers and dairy cows; and how to control forage diseases like Napier grass head smut.

Whereas the information has been synthesized in such a way as to be applicable to the East African region, some information may be site specific, and in some instances information that is generalized may need to be customized to suit specific areas.

The manual builds on an earlier version produced by the Smallholder Dairy Project and the Kenya Dairy Development Program that was designed to guide extension workers and smallholder dairy farmers through the basics of feeding dairy animals.

Although dairy farmers are the primary audience of the manual, it may also be a useful information resource for extension workers as well as students of animal production.

For more information, please contact ILRI feed scientist Ben Lukuyu (b.lukuyu @
Download the manual

Lukuyu B, Gachuiri CK, Lukuyu MN, Lusweti C and Mwendia S (eds). 2012. Feeding dairy cattle in East Africa. East Africa Dairy Development Project, Nairobi, Kenya.

You may also be interested in:
Study identifies feed improvement options for dairy farmers in East Africa

Friday, April 20, 2012

PhD students and interns gain from ILRI training workshop on research methods

Kristina Roesel presents her PhD proposal during a training workshop on research methods
Kristina Roesel presents her PhD proposal during a training workshop on research methods held at ILRI Nairobi (photo credit: ILRI/Tezira Lore).

On 17-18 April 2012, the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) held a training workshop on research methods for eight PhD students and interns attached to ILRI's Animal Health, Food Safety and Zoonoses team which is led by Delia Grace.

The training was facilitated by staff from ILRI's Research Methods Group, InfoCentre, and Markets, Gender and Livelihoods research theme.

The topics included an introduction to R software for data analysis; systematic literature review; using Mendeley to manage and share research papers; presentation skills; integrating gender analysis in research design; animal care and use; research ethics; how to search for journal articles; and use of web 2.0 tools to communicate research.

The session on gender analysis in research design facilitated by Elizabeth Waithanji of ILRI's Poverty, Gender and Impact team was particularly useful in helping the students to define gender-responsive goals and objectives leading to the development of research hypotheses and data collection tools that incorporate gender.

"Disaggregating data collection by gender will enable the generation of research evidence on how men and women are impacted differently by the interventions," Waithanji said.

James Kahunyo presents his PhD proposal during a training workshop on research methods
James Kahunyo presents his PhD proposal during a training workshop on research methods held at ILRI Nairobi. Delia Grace (standing left) facilitates the discussion  (photo credit: ILRI/Tezira Lore). 

The students also presented their PhD proposals to each other and benefited from group discussions on how to fine-tune their project objectives and scope of activities.

Delia Grace, who is also the coordinator of the agriculture-associated diseases component of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health, gave the students tips on how to improve their presentation skills to enable them effectively communicate their research not only to their peers but also to international and non-specialist audiences.

"I found the training to be a very useful opportunity for me to practise my presentation skills and I hope to get better with time," said Isaiah Akuku, a research intern attached to ILRI under a capacity strengthening program of the Consortium for National Health Research (CNHR).

"During my internship, I hope to gain knowledge, skills and experience in research for health so that I can contribute to tackling emerging infectious diseases," he added.

The students' research projects fall under the areas of emerging infectious diseases and zoonoses (Rift Valley fever and mapping of zoonoses hotspots) and food safety (mycotoxins, and public health risks associated with dairy and pig value chains).

The students are from Freie Universität Berlin, the University of Nairobi and Wageningen University.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Second phase of the ILRI-led Safe Food, Fair Food project gets underway

On 12–13 April 2012, the Nairobi campus of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) hosted an inception meeting for the BMZ/GIZ-funded, ILRI-led Safe Food, Fair Food project to develop action plans for the second 3-year phase of the project to build on previous work from 2008-11.

Present at the inception meeting were project partners from Côte d’Ivoire (Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques), Ethiopia (Addis Ababa University), Germany (Federal Institute for Risk Assessment [BfR] and Freie Universität Berlin), Ghana (University of Ghana), Japan (Rakuno Gakuen University), Kenya (University of Nairobi), Mozambique (Direcção de Ciências Animais), Tanzania (Sokoine University of Agriculture) and Uganda (Makerere University).

During the first phase of the project, a number of studies on participatory risk analysis were carried out in eastern, southern and West Africa. The project also held national workshops to engage policymakers to raise awareness about the potential food safety hazards that exist along the entire value chain.

Findings from the project also featured prominently at the first International Congress on Pathogens at the Human-Animal Interface (ICOPHAI) held in September 2011 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where some 25 oral and poster presentations were made by researchers and MSc and PhD students attached to the project.

Also in September 2011, the project held its final synthesis workshop to deliberate on the results of national impact assessment studies and develop a project synthesis book which will facilitate dissemination of the research findings to wider audiences.

The project now moves into its second phase which will adopt an action research approach for stakeholder engagement at the regional level towards uptake of tools and approaches to enhance food safety in informal markets in Africa.

For more information, visit the project web page or view the project publications.