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Brachiaria Grass Holds Key to Drought-Resistant Feed

A little-known wild grass could be a double blessing to farmers in arid areas, not just for their crops, but also for their livestock.

Research by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Kenya Agricultural Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro), shows that the grass called brachiaria, fixes minerals in the soil that are crucial for plant health. These minerals including nitrogen, phosphorous and carbon, are often lacking in arid areas.

Not only is this grass good for plants, it is also a resilient feed for livestock in arid lands where farmers often lose their livestock during periods of drought, due to lack of pasture.

In an article on ILRI’s website, Sita Ghimire, a senior scientist who led the research, said: Brachiaria has been used to transform livestock production in South America. However, despite the immense benefits it demonstrated in that region, the true potential of this grass is yet to be realised in its motherland, Africa.”

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