Developing an Inclusive Market for Nutritious Fodder Seeds.
Promoting and packing rye grass seeds in appropriate sizes for smallholder farmers in Gilgit Baltistan.
Farm Dynamics Pakistan (FDP) is a leading agri-input company which aims to popularise high-quality hybrid seeds of rhodes grass and rye grass. It provides an effective package of farming solutions to farmers, including demonstrations of efficient farming practices and technologies, crop handling, tunnel farming and fodder production. FDP is working with ‘Blue Ribbon Seeds’, an Australian seeds company, to launch and promote nutritious fodder seed varieties in the country.
A key constraint faced by small dairy farmers in Pakistan is the limited availability of nutritious feed. As a result, animals are not well-nourished, particularly in the dry season when fodder runs out, which causes low milk yields. Currently, the availability of quality fodder is very limited partly because the bulk is being bought by large commercial dairy farms. Smallholders, who constitute a majority of the dairy farmers in Pakistan, are largely unserved.
Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) is a remote region in North of Pakistan, where there is a lack of availability of nutritious fodder seed varieties. Seasonal shortages force farmers to rely on alternative fodders, which are costly and mostly poor in nutritional value. They use crop residue, such as wheat straw, as a substitute – leading to lower milk yields.
At the same time, there is a lack of awareness of how to grow highly nutritious fodders from hybrid seeds, such as rye grass. These are multi-cut and last for many years, leading to a significant improvement in animal milk yields. Because they’re available year-round, these varieties provide farmers with better consistency in animal feeding. However, large package sizes of innovative seeds meant that small farmers often couldn’t afford to buy them.
To help create awareness of the different options available, MDF and FDP signed a partnership to promote rye grass seeds, package them in appropriate sizes for smallholder farmers and invest in distribution channels.
MDF began by supporting FDP’s product availability with outreach activities. These included inviting high-level opinion leaders to information seminars, working with potential clients from medium and smallholder farmers at farmer days, and extension support through field agronomists.
In addition to improved sales through distributors, FDP also sold their seeds through mid-tier farms in areas where there is a local demand. Seeing the uptake of this new fodder solution, other companies also started to sell rye grass seeds in the region.
The agricultural market developed further, with greater inclusivity as a result of various farmer segments being targeted in the region. Many of the women farmers lead farming activities in GB and thus were a major focus of the intervention.
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