Yoseph Mekasha, Tadiwos Zewdie, Tesfaye Shewage, Tesfaye Dubale, Birhanu Biazen and Dirk Hoekstra
Lack of access to commercial concentrate feed supply and inadequate knowledge on the use are among the challenges hindering market-oriented livestock development in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP) Region. Concentrate feed is rich in energy, protein, and other nutrients that are required for optimum production and reproduction performance of livestock.
Cognizant of this, the Livestock and Irrigation Value chain for Ethiopian Smallholders (LIVES) project and stakeholders in the livestock sector are working on to create access for and improving concentrate feed supply in the region through the introduction of pertinent interventions.
These interventions were preceded by the establishment, by LIVES, of commodity platforms in project districts. The platforms help the project team and partners understand the existing situation, identify challenges and constraints, and prioritize interventions for implementation through community participation.
The project then trained, coached and mentored selected livestock producers and extension experts on concentrate feed use and organized study tours for experience sharing.
Six concentrate feed suppliers were then initiated in five intervention districts of Gamo Gofa and Sidama Zones.These are Chebicho concentrate feed retailing, Alemitu livestock feed retailing, Adanech livestock feed retailing, Feker Shemachoch Hulegeb cooperative, Musa livestock feed retailing, and Mulu livestock feed retailing in Bona, Arbegona, Bensa, Arbaminch Zuria and Bonke districts respectively. With the exception of Feker Shemachoch hulegeb cooperative, all the others are owned and operated by individuals. In addition, these enterprises were supported to establish market linkages with commercial concentrate processors and livestock producers.
The owners of the businesses are also livestock producers mainly dairy, poultry and cattle fattening and 60% of these feed businesses are owned and managed by women. The focus is on retailing commercial concentrate feed mix and/or ingredients. Wheat bran and oil seed cakes (such as noug seed and linseed cakes) are the main commercial livestock feed retailed in project districts.
Within the past 18 months three of the businesses (Feker Shemachoch Hulegeb Cooperative, Musa private feed retailer and Alemitu livestock feed retailing) sold 373, 400kg of commercial concentrate feeds to more than 100 regular customers and other non -regular buyers in and outside their respective districts.
The retailers in Sidama Zone buy concentrate mix from processors in Hawassa city while retailers in Gamo Gofa zone buy from Wolayta Sodo, Debre Zeit and Mojo. However, most retailers (except those in Arbegona and Arbaminch Zuria districts) source agro-industrial by-products (ingredients) from traders in Hawassa and Wolayita Sodo for Sidama and Gamo Gofa zones, respectively.
LIVES has continued providing the necessary support such as coaching and mentoring to strengthen these businesses. The project is also facilitating business-to-business linkage among retailers, processors and livestock producers.
In general, the feed supply businesses are creating and improving farmers’ access to commercial concentrate feed and contributing towards market-oriented livestock development in the intervention districts and beyond. The performance of the businesses is encouraging although much more needs to be done to enhance the demand for concentrate feed use in the region through awareness creation, coaching and mentoring and knowledge sharing events.