Understanding Farmers’ Trait Preferences for Dual-Purpose Crops to Improve Mixed Crop–Livestock Systems in Zimbabwe

Melesse, M B and Tirra, A N and Ojiewo, C O and Hauser, M (2021) Understanding Farmers’ Trait Preferences for Dual-Purpose Crops to Improve Mixed Crop–Livestock Systems in Zimbabwe. Sustainability (TSI), 13 (10). pp. 1-20. ISSN 2071-1050

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Competition over land between food and fodder production, along with recurrent droughts and increasing population, has put mixed crop–livestock farming systems in the drylands of sub- Saharan Africa under pressure. Dual-purpose crops hold huge potential to ease this pressure and simultaneously improve food and fodder availability in these systems. We investigated farmers’ preferences for dual-purpose maize, sorghum, and groundnut traits, and analyzed linkages of stated trait preferences with production of dual-purpose crops and adoption of improved varieties involving 645 households from two districts in Zimbabwe. The three target crops cover more than 75% of households’ cropping lands. Highly preferred stated traits of dual-purpose crops include yield, disease resistance, and drought tolerance. Highly appreciated feed attributes encompass stover yield and digestibility. The adoption of improved varieties is high for maize but low for sorghum and groundnut. Trait preferences are correlated with the production of dual-purpose crops and the adoption of improved varieties of the crops. However, the strengths of these correlations differ for maize, sorghum, and groundnuts. We discuss these linkages and suggest why crop improvement programs should reconcile trade-offs between grain and feed attributes to support mixed crop– livestock systems in Zimbabwe successfully.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : East & Southern Africa
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mixed farming system, Maize, Sorghum, Groundnut, Dual-purpose crops, Trait preference, Zimbabwe
Subjects: Others > Farming Systems
Others > Livestock
Mandate crops > Groundnut
Mandate crops > Sorghum
Others > Maize
Others > Zimbabwe
Depositing User: Mr Arun S
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2021 05:13
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2021 05:15
URI: http://oar.icrisat.org/id/eprint/11864
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105678
Funders: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Acknowledgement: The authors are grateful to Sabine Homann-Kee Tui, Hapson Mushoriwa, Kumar Charyulu, Anthony Whitbread, and Claid Mujaju for their support in the development of the manuscript. We thank Thabani Dube for his assistance in the fieldwork.
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