LIVES is implemented by ILRI, IWMI, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Regional Agricultural Research Institutes, Regional Bureaus of Agriculture and Regional Livestock Health and Development Agencies. It is supported by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada.
Maize is a major food crop in the lowlands and mid-highlands of Ethiopia, but its stover is hardly utilized efficiently as animal feed, particularly in rain-fed maize production systems. Irrigated maize production offers an opportunity for fodder production which rain-fed maize farming does not.
Nurhussien Aligoshu’s first experience in dairying was in 2006 when a local organization offered him money to purchase a crossbred dairy cow. Nurhussien was able to expand his crossbred dairy herd from 1 to more than 15 cows in just 8 years. His daily milk sales fluctuate between 30 and 70 litres per day depending on demand. Over the same period, Nurhussien’s monthly income from the sale of milk grew from barely 500 Birr to 15,000 Birr.
Oestrous Synchronization and Mass Artificial Insemination (OSMAI) in cattle has now been fully taken-up by Regional Livestock Resource Development and Promotion Agency and its zonal and district offices in Ethiopia. The current support of LIVES project on OSMAI in cattle is limited to generating scientific evidence that can help fine-tune the approach and efficiency of the technology under different framing conditions. The project is also focusing on genetic improvement of sheep through hormone assisted estrus synchronization. The first round of OSMAI on sheep was undertaken at Debre Birhan Sheep breeding and Multiplication center.
The idiom ‘the tragedy of the commons’ was coined in the 19th century Britain. It expresses the failure of farmers to achieve the collective good of their communal grazing lands through their destructive competitive use. The tragedy is caused by overstocking and overgrazing and expressed in land degradation, feed shortage, low livestock productivity and loss of farmers’ livelihoods from livestock. The Atsbi livestock keepers in Tigray region however, acted proactively in a community-based approach to govern their communal land.
Allocating irrigable plots for fodder production has until now been unthinkable among smallholder farmers in Ethiopia. Pioneers like Tesfaye, a smallholder farmer in Tigray region, has recently adopted an uncommon irrigation farming practice – he grows Alfalfa on a plot of about 300 square-meters for his dairy cow alongside his high-value vegetable crops.
A common misconception about watermelon is that it contains mainly water and sugar. In reality, it is a nutrient-dense fruit. Watermelon is an excellent source of antioxidants such as lycopene, and also contains vitamins A and C which help prevent cell damage, neutralize and remove free radicals and help fight off different kinds of cancers. Watermelon is also rich in potassium which helps maintain blood pressure to prevent diseases such as stroke, heart disease and also decreases the size of the kidney stones. It is frequently used for body detoxification as it contains a large amounts of water and it also helps in “cleaning” our kidneys. It is a fruit that is rich in an amino acid known as L-citrulline, which the body converts to L-arginine, an essential amino acid that helps relax blood vessels and improve circulation.
Ayele and Amarch recently started lucrative vegetable production by irrigation, making a net profit of more than a hundred thousand birr (5,000 USD) in a very short time. Their case shows that smallholder farmers can transform themselves to a more market-oriented production system, with proper extension services to build their capacities and foster market linkages.