A key constraint faced by small dairy farmers is the limited availability of nutritious feed. As a result, animals are not well nourished, particularly in the dry season when fodder runs out, causing lower milk yields. Silage, a storable fodder made by fermenting crops such as maize, has the advantage of fulfilling nutritional requirements of animals when green fodder is not available. Currently, silage is only available in 3% of the agricultural inputs market in Pakistan, the bulk of which is being bought by large commercial dairy farms. Smallholders, who constitute 80% of the dairy sector in Pakistan, are largely not served.
Pioneer has the technical skill to train farmers and enterprises to produce good quality silage. Based on this, Pioneer and MDF are working together to establish a first batch of four commercial silage producers, who will supply small bales of maize silage to small-scale dairy farmers. Availability of silage will improve the milk yields of dairy animals as well as the quality of milk. Farmers who use silage are likely to sell better quality milk in greater quantities resulting in increased incomes.