Goat Feed Resources and Nutritional Properties of Browse Species in the Pastoral Areas of Karamoja subregion of Uganda
Pastoral nomadic communities of East Africa’s drylands are gradually shifting towards a sedentary type of production. However, successful animal production under such settings demands for integrated on-farm management of the various animal feed resources. The objective of this study was to characterize feed resources of goats in the pastoral area of Karamoja sub-region, a dry land area in northeastern Uganda. Structured interviews were conducted involving 300 randomly selected households. Results revealed seventy plant species distributed in 31 families were fed to goats. The species were dominated by browses (trees and shrubs) 54%; herbs 21%; grasses 19%; climbers and hedges 5%. Balanites aegyptica, Grewia similis, Acacia sieberiana, Acalypha fruticosa, Acacia albida and Cadaba farinosa were the most frequently mentioned browse species. Farmers also use these species for other purposes notably building, human and livestock medicine, fencing, firewood and as vegetables during the dry season. Browses were available throughout the year unlike grasses and crop residues that were available seasonally. Since browses were available throughout the year in addition to being multipurpose, it is recommended that current efforts to actualize a sedentary lifestyle among Karamoja pastoralists integrate the planting and management of the most reported browse species in this study.