Moshupa farmer explores in-demand market for nutrient-dense animal feeds

The agriculture sector in Botswana has an untapped market of animal feed to meet demand on the backdrop of soaring prices of feeds and medicines.

In recent years the Government has urged Batswana to identify market needs and try to create products that supply the local market.

Cost cutting is critical particularly under the harsh economic conditions, and localising production is one cost-effective measure to meet market needs at an affordable price.

One such farmer is Omphemetse Mogorosi, a small livestock and poultry farmer based in Moshupa. Mogorosi holds a Bsc in Animal Health from BUAN, and after graduating in 2014 applied for Youth Fund to spearhead a farming project which has grown steadily over the years.

He says that he observed that many farmers faced the challenge of securing animal feeds which are expensive, more so that most are imported from neighbouring countries such as South Africa.

Mogorosi currently makes the feeds himself manually, with the help of two assistants.

"As an animal scientist, my ambition has always been solving farmers’ problems. The main challenge with keeping animals is the nutritional requirements of animals for them to be healthy. I saw the need to come up with formulae to meet the communal grazing animal nutritional requirements in the form of a block-Multi-Mineral Energy and Protein block," he said.

He explained that the supplement that provides lacking nutrients from the graze or browse for ruminants. "It saves money for farmers who hardly buy feed as it takes a longer time in the farm.

"Furthermore, more feed products are on the way that will be using local farm produce like the aforementioned supplement." Mogorosi uses affordable but nutrient-dense ingredients such as molasses, cereals, sulphur, mineral premix and vitamins.

He said that the positive reception that he has received has motivated him to produce on a larger scale. "Farmers who have bought the product are giving positive feedback as the target is being achieved in regards to the supplement being an appetizer; to help in salivation and hence helping in the buffer and digestion of the feed. Also, animal supplemented with this block is able to better utilise the poor roughage in drought period."

He noted that the challenge is to meet ever-increasing demand due to small scale production.

"I am meeting up with local crop producers to agree on the supplying of their farm produce at a better price for them to benefit lower prices from the animal feed. We are also finding ways of going medium scale," he said.

Mogorosi said that Batswana farmers should consider tapping into the agriculture value chain as a whole, and not only focus on rearing and growing. "My advice is that some should now start venturing into feed processing.

They should start by piloting and start off small and grow with time.

“They should be creative and diverse not to do exactly the same product. We can come up with the best feed formulae that use little resources and affordable to end up cutting the 70 percent feed cost in farming."