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Research Article Open Access
Livestock production is one of the main economic activities that used for income earning, food security and human welfare improvement sector in Southern Nations Nationalities and Regional States of Ethiopia. However, its productivity is poor due to low adoption and utilization of improved forages and forage seed production, awareness problem, erratic rain fall and related constraints. The purpose of this study was therefore to assess the status and constraints of forage seed production and marketing and to review the technical and institutional bottlenecks of the sector in Doyogena district. The study was conducted by using checklist. The study used key informant interview and Focus group discussion in accordance with secondary data collected from Woreda agricultural offices and Literature review. The study confirmed that in addition to its feed and soil and water conservation value, improved forage and forage seed becomes a very expensive income source for most traders and traders in the district. Farmers in the area have difficulty to access new and high yielding forage varieties to attain more stable forage production and productivity. Although, different forage species like oat, vetch, Napier grass, Desho grass, tree Lucerne, sesbania, pigeon pea and lablab have been distributed to some farmers in the district by governmental and nongovernmental organizations, the adoption intensity and utilization is very low except Desho grass, which is widely distributed in the region. Desho grass is very well known by farmers for its fodder, cash and conservation value as compared to other forage species. That is why Desho grass is best adopted forage in the district and in the region at large. The farmers have no or limited knowledge and experience on improved forage varieties and production. Capacity building and extension system on forage technology packages is very weak. Moreover, forage seed distribution and monitoring systems employed by different development practitioner is poor. Land shortage, poor knowledge on how to integrate forages with other farming system, shortage of seed supply and lack of proper forage seed marketing system aggravate the problem on forage production and productivity in the district. On the other hand, there are forage seed traders from other districts who buy and sell seed of different forage varieties. These traders are collecting different forage seeds from other regions in the country. If they would have better seed source in the region, they could be able to avoid high transportation cost from long distances. There is no direct linkage of farmers in the district with any forage seed traders. It is through government organizations and NGOs that farmers are getting forage seeds/planting material. Undertaking similar studies in determinants of improved forage adoption and seed production is believed to boost the sectors productivity. Forage seed Traders in Wolaita Soddo used majorly other traders as source of seed for sale (60%) this indicates that market structure for the commodity of non competitive type. This non competitive behavior of forge market structure hinders productivity of the sector and it is an implication of market inefficient. Taking in to account the great interest of farmers for change, there is a need to strengthen the capacity development and forage technology extension system in the district. Integrating high yielding and high value forage crops with other food crops also need to be given strong attention by both governmental and non-governmental organizations. Establishing forage seed producer groups may have significant role in forage seed production and marketing by linking them with forage seed traders on sustainable manner. Creating appropriate forage seed marketing channel and forage seed quality control is also very essential to promote sustainable forage seed production and marketing as it will improve the exchange of quality forage seeds between different actors.
Forage, Forage seed, Market, Production, Trader, Forage, Forage seed, Market, Production, Trader