Melia Azedarach Forage and Oyster Mushrooms: Improving Nutrition, Milk Production and Health in Dairy Goats

Melia Azedarach Forage and Oyster Mushrooms: Improving Nutrition, Milk Production and Health in Dairy Goats



The demand for livestock products in Africa has outpaced domestic production, rendering the continent heavily reliant on the importation of basic livestock products. In Swaziland, for example, dairy products' consumption exceeds domestic production by - 50 million litres. Production is hampered by under-nutrition of dairy animals, and undernourished animals are immunocompromised and hence become susceptible to parasitic infection (e.g. Haemonchus contortus) during this period. Control of parasites through the use of veterinary drugs is expensive, out-of-reach for many smallholder farmers and ultimately unsustainable.


The Project Involves

  • Manufacturing and commercialising a brand of nutritious and medicinal feed pellets made using the nutrient-rich and anti-parasitic M. azedarach tree leaves combined with fibrolytic enzyme-rich oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) in order to improve the nutrition and milk production of dairy animals in Swaziland and other SADC countries.
  • Scaling up and commercialising a brand of goat yoghurt that will be made using milk from Saanen dairy goats that are fed the pellets.



The novel feed pellets will address the problem of poor nutrition of livestock in SADC especially during the winter and/or dry season, as well as their infestation with parasites that further worsen their body condition and productivity. Also, M. azedarach is an invasive plant in many SADC countries; hence its use as an animal feed and medicine will help control its rapid proliferation in our natural ecosystems. Furthermore, through the goat yoghurt, this project will address the issue of food security and help reduce the incidence/prevalence of some human diseases and undesirable conditions (e.g. stunted growth and allergies such as lactose intolerance) in SADC communities.


Project Team  

Dr Doctor MN Mthiyane

Principal Investigator and Coordinator

University of Swaziland


Prof Abednego M. Dlamini 

Project Scientific Advisor

University of Swaziland


Prof Irvin DT Mpofu 

Co-Project Leader

Chinhoyi University of Technology — Zimbabwe


Dr Ntuthuko R. Mkhize

Co-Project Leader

Agricultural Research Council — South Africa


Dr Diana Earnshaw 

Co-Project Coordinator

University of Swaziland


Dr Douglas Kibirige 

Project Finance Manager

University of Swaziland


Mr David IC Marais

Commercial Partner

Arrowfeeds (Pty) Ltd — South Africa  


Mr Bongani Tsabedze 

Laboratory Coordinator/ Quality Controller

Parmalat — Swaziland

Project Type

Seed project

Countries involved