Options to intensify cropland use for alleviating smallholder energy and protein deficiencies in the East African highlands
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Field Crops Research;48(2,3): 177-184
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/28643
Land-use intensification in the East-African highland zone is required for meeting food and feed demands from the rising human and animal populations. A single crop of wheat has been a traditional practice for the 8 Mha of Vertisols in the Ethiopian highlands with both grain and residues finding use. With proper drainage, early sowing of crops becomes feasible, and this study compared the local wheat system with eight other land-use types (LUTs). Replacing local wheat with genetically superior wheat, cET13, significantly increased grain and fodder and also the metabolizable energy from a land unit. When ET 13 was followed by grasspea, and intercropped with clover and/or sown between sesbania alleys, the feed, protein and energy outputs from the same land unit were further enhanced many fold compared to the traditional landuse. By combining crops and forages with different maturity and harvest times, it was also possible to change feed availability patterns during the year. How these different options could be targeted to serve multiple crop/livestock objectives of the smallholder is discussed briefly.