When I first arrived in Rwanda in 2015, I learned that government had made it compulsory for pastoral farmers to transition to paddocking and adopt improved dairy cattle breeds- Holstein Friesian, Jersey, Guernsey, Fleckvieh, et al- in replacement for local Inyambo and other Rwandan breeds. Having grown up in a community where the most common economic activity was pastoral farming and witnessed, first hand, efforts which go into traditional pastoral subsistence farming and the very meagre output, it was amazing that the state had taken it upon itself to modernise the sector by directing farmers’ efforts towards better productivity in a bid to improve their economic standards. Though the shift was unpopular among farmers whose interest was largely in cattle numbers and not potential productivity, farmers later gained more value as their stock burden reduced while output increased exponentially. The “force-to-transition” from a traditional cattle keeping model to a model that suited realities of the time helped to increase milk production and improved farmers’ household incomes as a result. On a macro-economic level, such an initiative contributed to increasing the productive potential of Rwanda’s economy as it triggered the birth of forward and backward linkages within the economy. While Paddocking offers a cheaper and easy-to-execute alternative to traditional freelance grazing, it does little to ensure optimum utilisation of land. And production remains average when assessed on what ought to be produced. As climate adjusts to the force of human activity, dairy farming, practiced as it is today, is headed for the worst if necessary shifts are not undertaken as the exigencies of changes in climate demand. To revamp dairy farming, protect the environment and foster economic growth and development, the government of Rwanda ought to lead dairy farmers to transition to a zero grazing model where farmers use paddocks for feed production and zero-grazing-units for animal feeding and housing. Zero grazing stands out as a dairy farming model for, it prevents land and environmental degradation from grazing animals, ensures efficient use of animal feeds, prevents easy spread of animal diseases, and allows for selective breeding where and when necessary, among other benefits. To undertake zero grazing; however, farmers must meet a few basic standard requirements, and for Rwanda to achieve maximum output from dairy farming, those standard requirements must be met with the moral and financial support of government as I highlight in the following paragraphs. For the start, farmers need to construct effective zero grazing units. The basic zero grazing unit is equipped with feeding troughs, and doubles as a milking parlour. An effective zero grazing unit must be properly designed with enough space for cows, proper drainage to ensure utmost hygiene and, easy access to water and fodder. Secondly, farmers must ensure consistent supply of animal feeds throughout the year. To achieve the intended production from dairy cows, a sufficient sustainable supply of the necessary feed combinations must be ensured. Rwandan farmers can be required, by policy, to designate an appropriate area of the farm for grass and other feeds (such as maize grain) cultivation. The harvested grass and grain feeds are usually stored as hay (mown baled and dried) or as silage (mown and fermented in silos to maintain its nutrient content for animal consumption in the dry season). Farmers must be educated and facilitated to practice these feed storage methods. In addition to farm-produced feeds, farmers should, as well, have proper storage facilities for factory-produced feeds. On a similar note, farmers must be enabled to build sustainable adequate water supply systems with the water accessible within zero grazing units or available closest to the units. Water supply systems can either be built to tap, store and use rainwater- which is common today- or drilling and using underground water. As climate changes, rain water can be expected to shrink in amount and that would mean that a sustainable water supply system for farmers ought to consider the use of underground water sources, either as complementary to rainwater or independent sources. As can, roughly, be observed from earlier elaborations on preliminary requirements for an effective zero grazing project, zero grazing is initially capital intensive. This means that a majority of the dairy farmer community cannot afford the initial capital investment without threatening their household incomes. For that matter, the government of Rwanda either subsidises the initial phases of the model or devises a mechanism to make it easier for farmers to undertake the model with limited pressure on their coffers. I’ll offer a few possible ways I find economically feasible and effective in this article. 1) The government can help farmers secure government-backed loans, based on current production capacity, to enable them set up preliminary requirements- building housing units, pasture cultivation, establishing feed storage facilities, and setting up water supply systems. First, farmers whose current farm production is capable of repaying the loan in a period not more than two years, can be issued interest-free loans. To motivate and facilitate farmers to a quick transition without exposing them to so much economic pressure, the government can help farmers in this category to secure short term interest-free loans. In the second category, the government can help farmers who, given their current production capacity, can only repay the loan in a period between three and five years, to acquire low interest government-backed loans to carry out the essential preliminary investments to transition to zero grazing. 2) For farmers who cannot take up loans and repay them in a maximum period of five years, government can subsidise (pay part of the cost) the initial investment to enable them to transition to the zero grazing model of dairy farming. In addition to helping farmers with preliminary phases of the zero grazing model, farmers should as well be assisted in the acquisition of; the right quality (suitable to the environment and with high milk output) of dairy breeds, veterinary drugs, acaricides, and all necessary veterinary services at affordable costs. In view of the challenges-to-transition as highlighted, it is evident that, to achieve a complete transition to zero grazing model of dairy farming with the necessary urgency as climate change demands, the government needs to play a leading role through aligned political and economic policies. The writer is a final year student of law, passionate about tech entrepreneurship and governance.