Multispecies fodder bank as climate-smart option for an improved livestock nutrition in Northern Ghana

Photo: ILRI

Project Description 

This project is implemented with the ambition to improve fodder availability and nutritional quality for ruminants during dry periods in the Ghana Climate-Smart Villages. 

The development of a multispecies fodder bank that concentrates the species with forbs, grasses and fast growing fodder legumes has been identified as an opportunity for ensuring sustainable all-year-round fodder production and availability. The fodder banks has been diagnosed as an innovative approach to improving livestock nutrition during dry seasons and fodder scarcity period.


  • Establish a multi-species fodder bank with farmers to demonstrate efficacy for climate-smart livestock production
  • Assess seasonal fodder productivity to accentuate implications on livestock feeding
  • Assess soil carbon storage as influenced by the fodder bank
  • Evaluate the economics of establishing a multispecies fodder bank

Expected output/outcome

  • Multispecies fodder bank adopted by pastoralists as a viable option for improved livestock nutrition
  • Capacity of farmers built in the establishment and management of fodder banks
  • Seasonal fodder biomass productivity at CSV known for decision making on best-bet feed improvement options
  • Economic importance of fodder bank determined to inform local investment needs


The project is led by CCAFS in collaboration with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research-Animal Research Institute (CSIR-ARI

Further information

For further information, please contact: Robert B. Zougmoré ( and Franklin Avornyo (


Project Activities

Since 2011, CCAFS has used its CSV models in West Africa to test and validate several agricultural interventions with the participation of various local partners. While potential agricultural innovations that simultaneously achieve the triple wins of CSA are evolving from the CSVs, there is limited evidence of their cost-effectiveness. Together with local partners, we will assess the costs and benefits of proven CSA technologies and accentuate implications on adoption, investment opportunities and development of business models in West Africa.

The CSV AR4D sites of West Africa have seen a number of promising CSA technologies realized from the participatory development and testing of the CSV model in Ghana, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Burkina Faso. For the scaling out/up perspective, these results/achievements still need robust evidence of their effectiveness as well as the enabling environment that can bring them to scale. Moreover, considering the role of livestock in food security and poverty reduction in West Africa, CCAFS is keen to meet a major need in the region by using the CSVs of Ghana and Mali to promote the adoption of climate-smart agro-silvopastoral systems for improved and sustained fodder availability and livestock nutrition. In addition to the documentation and nutritional profiling and testing of fodder species, the potential for firewood and charcoal production from multipurpose fodder species shall be explored alongside the development of a bio-digester using manure from livestock.

In the quest to improve the capacity of farmers to better manage climate related risks and build more resilient livelihoods, CCAFS-West Africa has since 2011 been piloting in its CSV AR4D sites of Ghana how downscaled seasonal forecast information through mobile phones (called the Esoko platform) could help farmers adapt to climate change and variability. With promising results emerging, CCAFS intends to help Esoko develop a viable business model as a means of strengthening local private institutions and making CIS accessible to millions of farmers across Ghana. The propose work will develop a public-private partnership business model by analyzing current PPP components and establishing evidence on the economic cost of CIS and delivered through the Esoko platform.

Previous results recommended Afzelia africana, Annona senegalensis, Ficus gnaphalocarpa, Pterocarpus erinaceus and Faidherbia albida as the most prioritized browse species in the CSV based mainly on their preference by, and therefore for, ruminants. These identified candidate browse species seem to be overly exploited in the whole of northern Ghana for fodder, as medicine and even for timber, resulting in declining yield of biomass. This therefore necessitates the development of a multispecies fodder bank that concentrated the species on the same plot of land alongside palatable woody legumes, herbaceous legumes, high-yielding forage grasses and some food-feed crops to increase the opportunity for ensuring sustainable all-year-round fodder production and availability. We will estimate the resource use efficiency, gender mainstreaming, seasonal fodder productivity, litter accumulation, quality of C inputs and soil C sequestration within the fodder bank. An economic evaluation of fodder bank will be determined and shared to inform local investment needs.

Project Deliverables