Animal fodder made from parasite plant saves Somaliland pastoralist

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THT-Usame Hassan Abdullahi has been able to keep his 15 cows alive during the harsh dry month of February, thanks to the delivery of a special livestock fodder made from Algaroba trees and wheat.

Usame is among 200 pastoralists in El Hume village, 35 km from Oodweyne in northwestern Togdher region of Somaliland, who received bags of the new fodder from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

His family depends on milk from the cows and the produce from their two-hectare farm.

“I was milking my four milking cows three times a day, but now I am milking them up to five times a day,” said Muse.

He has been feeding the cows with 10 kgs of the fodder a day and taking them to the well every five days because water is scarce.

Most pastoralists have migrated away from El Hume to the Ethiopian border area in search of pasture. Usame, who lost four cows and 30 goats in the 2017 drought, decided to stay because of the difficulties moving with his young children.

The fodder was produced by local firm, Fooxle Company, which is implementing a project to control the ubiquitous invasive shrub called Algoroba, or Prosopis, by using it for animal feed production. The company produced 183,000 tons of the fodder over six months, with funding from FAO and training from livestock experts at the international NGO, Veterinaires Sans Frontieres (VSF) Germany.

Dr Hassan Ali Bulale, the chairman of Fooxle, told Radio Ergo that the fodder would help livestock to survive during drought seasons. The project combines an approach to resilience for pastoralist communities with environmental management.

“We conducted research on the benefits of the Algaroba tree in late 2018 and came across a study conducted by Tanzanian experts. We learnt from the research that it could be made into fodder,” Dr Hassan said.

They produced the first fodder in late January. It shas been given to 23,000 struggling pastoralists in villages in Marodi Jeh, Daadmadheedh, Hawd, Togdher, Sanag and Sool regions.

Dr Hassan said they are now training the pastoralists to make the fodder themselves to encourage self-sufficiency.

Dr Mohamed Hassan Mohamud from the Somaliland Ministry of Livestock pointed out that this fodder was a good alternative for livestock during the dry seasons. However, he warned against feeding livestock with Algaroba without proper grinding to avoid causing digestion problems for the animals.

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