by Mamusha Lemma, Abule Erbo and Addissu Abera
Lomi Kordofa is a small-scale farmer at the Illu Aga peasant association in Ejere District of West Shoa Zone in Ethiopia. Ten years ago, she started keeping dairy cows with training support from a local non-governmental organization. She started by keeping 14 local-breed cows, which she later sold to buy five crossbred dairy cows.
Small-scale farmers like Lomi face challenges in improving milk production because of lack of knowledge and skills in dairy farming. But coaching and mentoring support from the Livestock and Irrigation Value chains for Ethiopian Smallholders (LIVES) project is helping them improve animal feed preparation, frequency of feeding and watering, barn design and construction and the use of locally available feed sources.
Lomi now uses hay to feed her cows in the dry season and better feeding, watering and housing of the animals (which are now housed in well-designed sheds with sleeping mats) has led to increased productivity of the animals.
‘Milk production has increased from 8–14 litres on average from each of my cows,’ she says. Lomi sells a litre of milk at ETB 12 in the local market. In addition to getting more milk, she also now has well-conditioned heifers, which come into heat relatively early.
After seeing these benefits, Lomi has allocated more land to fodder production and is cultivating alfalfa and Desho grass using fertigation to further boost the productivity of her animals to further increase her income.