The first report from the ‘livestock intensification project on dairy value chains in India and Ethiopia’ (funded by the OPEC Fund for International Development) has just been released.
Entitled ‘dairy intensification and milk market quality in Amhara region, Ethiopia’, the project report by Addisu Bitew and colleagues report on a study to develop a systematic understanding of the links between market opportunities and productivity increases in livestock in Amhara region of Ethiopia, with a focus on dairy production.
Findings showed that milk marketing cooperatives were the dominant milk buyers from producers at all milk marketing quality levels. Milk marketing cooperatives have been increasing in number, although there were limitations in recruitment of members, and the capacity to collect, process and market milk. Veterinary and artificial insemination (AI) services were provided from district agricultural development offices, except for some villages that had veterinary clinics and AI centers.
Stall feeding and feeding of concentrates for crossbred dairy cattle was more prominent in high market quality sites compared to medium and low market quality sites, which indicated the level of feed intensification as the market quality improved. The contribution of grazing to total diet was higher for indigenous than crossbred cows. The proportion of crossbred cows exceeded that of indigenous cows in high market quality sites but the reverse applied in medium and low market quality sites. Milk yield data indicate that there is room for increasing average productivity by improving management practices.
The major constraints to dairy development related to: breeding (shortage of improved breeds and inefficient AI services); feeding (shortage of feed and water, and high feed cost); health (disease incidence, shortage and high prices of drugs, and limited veterinary service); and market- and dairy-derived income (low prices of milk and poor demand for milk during fasting season). Due consideration should be given to alleviate these problems to increase productivity and improve dairy-derived income.