State Minister of Livestock and Fishers of Ethiopia, Dr. Gebre Egziabher Gebre Yohannes, has visited Enhancing Dairy Sector Growth in Ethiopia project and promised to scale up the results of addressing the whole dairy value chain.
State Minister of Livestock and Fisheries of Ethiopia, Dr. Gebre Egziabher Gebre Yohannes and Food Security Expert Jan Willem Nibbering from the Netherlands Embassy, visited Enhancing Dairy Sector Growth in Ethiopia (EDGET) project achievements in Amhara region from 10-13 December 2017. The visit is part of the EDGET project board meeting that takes place twice a year. The visitors stressed that the project achievements have addressed the whole dairy value chain, are promising and could be scaled up.
The state minister said the demand for milk and dairy products is growing in Ethiopia. To minimise the gap between demand and supply, the country is creating enabling environment for tapping into its livestock potential. One of the achievements in this regard is the development of Livestock Master Plan. In order to achieve its’ targets, the government has set out strategies to address major bottlenecks such as genetic improvement, feed, health and market related issues.
Development partners including SNV Netherlands Development Organisation are also providing their support. SNV’s EDGET project is supporting 65,000 smallholder dairy farmers in Amhara, Oromia and Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples regional states.
EDGET supported the enhancement and establishment of 53 dairy processing units
The project has distributed 40 tonnes of forage seed, 21.8 million cutting/splits, and 100,000 milking and transportation cans (MTS or Mazzican) to dairy households. EDGET trained 1,500 dairy extension service providers, linked dairy farmers with 50 agro-input dealers, and supported the enhancement as well as establishment of 53 dairy processing and marketing cooperatives. Training and coaching has been delivered to these partners in order to create access to dairy inputs as well as markets for dairy products. The project has also developed, in collaboration with the public livestock extension services, a participatory extension approach in which farmers and extension agents learn from each other. As part of this approach, the project developed and implemented farmer extension materials and training of trainers packages.
Visiting the Dangila dairy cooperative in Amhara region, the state minister, said, “The result of the project is impressive. It is supportive to the main actors in the value chain and contributing to the development of the dairy sector. EDGET deals with extension services, input supply, smallholder production as well as collection, processing and marketing of dairy products. This approach will enable the dairy sector development in the country.”
Traditionally, milk was not a commodity to be sold. EDGET contributed to the mind shift among the farmers. Nowadays, farmers are delivering milk to collection centres and cooperatives and started earning income.
Jan Willem Nibbering, Expert Food Security at the Embassy, impressed by the field visit, remarked that this mission has helped him realise that SNV helped dairy farmers “to make the shift from free to zero grazing”, increase dairy productivity and exploit natural resources in a sustainable way.
Despite these achievements and the government’s effort, lack of access to quality inputs is impeding dairy farmers to play a key role in the development of the dairy sector. Tirusew, a woman dairy farmer, has expressed her dissatisfaction with repeated failures in artificial insemination (AI) services that is hindering her from getting improved crossbreeds and increase her milk productivity. This was also shared by Yeshialem, another woman, who moved to dairy farming when she lost her husband. The state minister said that the Ministry will analyse the problems around AI services and come up with suitable solutions.
Dr. Gebre Egziabher recommended to document the achievements and best practices of the project including the development history of the dairy cooperatives in order to learn, scale up and orient new dairy sector interventions.