The potential of desho grass (Pennisetum pedicellatum Trin.) for animal feed and land management practices in Ethiopia: A review

Bimrew Asmare, Solomon Demeke, Taye Tolemariam, Firew Tegegne, Jane Wamatu

Abstract


Pennisetum pedicellatum commonly called desho grass is found as native plant in many tropical countries including Ethiopia. The grass has multifaceted potential as fodder for livestock, soil water conservation, and income generation in the form of small business for smallholder farmers in the country. In highland areas of Ethiopia planting and management of desho grass is an example of a locally tested land conservation technique documented by the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The activity of planting the grass is a is a response to cropland encroachment onto communal grazing areas and overstocking of livestock that has led to overgrazing, causing further land degradation and serious pasture shortages for livestock. Physiologically, desho grass has a peculiar characteristic of drought tolerance, ability to produce large biomass per unit of land. The grass’s potential for animal fodder for soil and water conservation, ruminant livestock has been documented in many tropical countries. Though available in Ethiopia, desho grass is not well known by the concerned bodies and much literature review, research and development works are needed to exploit the potential of the grass. In this regards this review paper organized with the objective to produce comprehensive information about the grass for further research and development in Ethiopia. 


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