The Oromia region contributes about 44% of the total annual milk produced in Ethiopia. Smallholder farmers in Oromia contribute the largest portion of this yield, but linkages between them and other dairy value chain actors at various levels, which could increase production and consumption of milk and milk products in the region, are weak or lacking.
To address gaps in the dairy production in the region, the Oromia Livestock Development and Health Agency (OLDHA) in partnership with Livestock and Irrigation Value Chains for Ethiopian Smallholders (LIVES) project established the Oromia dairy platform on 6 November 2014. The purpose of this platform is to create a dialog and policy forum for relevant stakeholders in the dairy sector. Key goals of the platform’s first meeting were to:
- identify how dairy sector stakeholders can better work together in various capacities and competencies to support the dairy value chain development in Oromia region
- identify constraints, opportunities and develop strategies for addressing challenges and promote dairy value chain in the region and;
- identify initial steps and modalities for ensuring a dynamic and responsive dairy platform
Forty participants, of whom five were females, attended this first meeting. The participants were milk producers, input suppliers, service providers, milk collectors and processors, milk and milk product traders, representatives from SNV Netherlands – Ethiopia, LIVES, public service providers such as Oromia Agricultural Research Institute, Oromia Trade and Market Development Bureau, Oromia Bureau of Agriculture, Oromia Bureau of Finance and Economic Development (OFED), OLDHA, Oromia Cooperative Promotion Agency and others organizations working in the dairy value chain in the region.
The one-day event included presentations and discussions on status of dairy development and research in Oromia region, overview of an agricultural value chain platform and practical experience-sharing on dairy platforms. Participants also reviewed opportunities, constraints and possible solutions for improving dairy production, input supply/service provision and processing and marketing of dairy products. After the discussions, participants agreed on the need to set up a dairy platform.
As a way forward, issues of how the platform would be sustained were also discussed. A participatory working group was created to lead the platform and make preparations for registering the platform. Accordingly, seven members were elected to the working group which is chaired by an OLDHA official, with an OFED official as deputy and a LIVES project staff member serving as secretary. The other five members are from other institutions. The Oromia Bureau of Finance and Economic Development agreed to allocate money to support the platform if OLDHA includes the platform’s activities in its annual budget proposal. The working group is expected to organize a second platform meeting to further build on this momentum. The working group will also develop terms of reference (ToR) to guide future engagements of the platform in terms of management, financing, ownership, membership and contribution.
Written by Abule Ebro and Zewdie Adane with contribution from Tolera Debela