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.
Addis Ababa has the largest number of butcheries and meat consumers (around 30% of the national meat consumption is in Addis Ababa). To serve these consumers, there are five regional livestock market centers around Addis Ababa: Kerra, Shogolle, Akaki, Karalo and Berchuko. Compared to the supply of animals to Addis Ababa, the market centers are not adequate. In addition, the existing market centers do not have all the necessary facilities. Furthermore, technical backstopping is required for the development of the marketing system.
Early in April, Peter Hooper, an Australian volunteer, joined the LIVES project for the coming 12 months to support its livestock interventions.