The major issue in Gilgit Baltistan (GB) pertains to livestock nutrition and limited availability of quality feed for small livestock farmers especially during fodder-less months. Due to the harsh terrain and geographical remoteness, transportation cost is high, which makes it expensive to import fodder from down country. Localizing production of silage by Muhammad Bashir, within GB will address this constraint making it not only affordable but also significantly improve milk yields, income, and well-being of small farmers in GB. Another major constraint faced is the lack of access to information and best practices for male and female farmers who are involved and responsible for looking after livestock. Farmers lack basic information like significance of giving free access of water to animals, periodic de-worming and importance of balanced feed mix.
Through support of Baltistan Farmers’ Cooperative Society (BFCS), MDF has identified a silage entrepreneur (SE), based in Skardu who has been making silage through watching various online videos and with support from Sadpara Development Project (SDP), he grew silage maize on 12.5 acres last year and successfully sold it toneighboursand other nearby farmers
Based on his experience, Muhammad Bashir feels there is significant demand for silage in Skardu and it has resulted in improved milk yields for local farmers. To make his silage production model more efficient, improve productivity, and increase his capacity, MDF will help SE plans to expand his production of silage to 25 acres this year.
In our partnership, MDF will support Muhammad Bashir to increase the availability of nutritious feed for small livestock farmers and help improve milk yields, especially during fodder-less months to provide a steady source of income throughout the year for female and male farmers in Skardu, Gilgit Baltistan (GB). It would also ensure the availability of silage by establishing sales and distribution points and hiring sales person. Furthermore, support outreach, dissemination of information, and marketing activities to promote silage use in GB through farmer awareness sessions, marketing collateral and media support would be a significant part of the partnership objectives.