The potential of indigenous and naturalized fodder trees and shrubs for intensive use in central Kenya

R.L. Roothaert

Research output: Thesisexternal PhD, WU


<p>There are opportunities for increasing milk production in central Kenya through the use of tree fodder, leading to higher farm income. Most research for intensive use of fodder trees has been carried out on exotic species, neglecting indigenous ones. The objectives of this study were to assess the potential of indigenous and naturalized fodder trees and shrubs (IFTS) in central Kenya, involving farmers in all phases of research in order to increase the adoption of so developed technologies. Formal surveys and feedback meetings were conducted. Farmers chose tree seedlings, planted them on-farm, and the performance was monitored. Farmers' assessments of qualities of IFTS were compared with laboratory nutritive analyses. Two feeding trials with dairy heifers were conducted involving seven fodder tree species.</p><p>It was found that farmers used a total of 160 different IFTS. Their ratings on palatability for cattle and goats and milk production for goats differed significantly among tree and shrub species. On-farm assessment of planted IFTS provided useful information on preference of species, in addition to the survey results. There were strong relationships between laboratory nutritive analyses and farmers' assessment of quality of IFTS and useful characteristics of individual species were obtained through comparing the two methods. Dry matter intake by heifers was higher for some IFTS than for the popular exotic species <em>Calliandra calothyrsus</em> . Selective feeding behaviour of heifers caused an improvement of nutrient concentrations of consumed feed of up to 29 %.</p><p>It was concluded that there is a large potential for intensive use of IFTS in central Kenya. Promising species for the subhumid zone are: <em>Ficus thoningii, Lantana camara, Morus alba, Manihot glaziovii, Sapium ellipticum, Tithonia diversifolia, Trema orientalis, Triumfetta tomentosa</em> and <em>Vernonia lasiopus</em> ; for the medium and semi-arid zone they are: <em>Acacia ataxacantha, Aspilia mossambicensis, Crotalaria goodiiformis, Grewia tembensis, Indigofera lupatana, Lantana camara</em> and <em>Melia volkensii</em> . Future research is needed on experiments with lactating cows, agronomic performance, protein quality and current mechanisms preventing toxicity of <em>L. camara</em> .</p>
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • 't Mannetje, L., Promotor, External person
Award date7 Jan 2000
Place of PublicationS.l.
Print ISBNs9789058081582
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • fodder
  • indigenous knowledge
  • quality
  • nutritive value
  • milk production
  • kenya
  • fodder trees


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