A4NH / Africa / CGIAR / East Africa / Ethiopia / Event / Goats / ICARDA / ILRI / LIVESTOCK-FISH / Sheep / Small Ruminants / Value Chains

Targeting Livestock and Fish work on small ruminant value chains in Ethiopia – Emerging ‘best bets’

Debre Zeit workshop participants

Last week, Ethiopian partners in the program joined the last of three workshops to take stock of the results of small ruminant value chain assessments in 8 sites.

Together, 67 individuals from the sites and other partners joined the workshops. These came from research, academic, NGO, private companies, as well as international research organizations.

This is a brief report on the process and outputs of the workshops – all materials from the workshops are accessible online.

The objectives of the workshops were:

  1. Share and validate results from the rapid VC assessment in the 8 sites
  2. Draft a vision/outcome statement for each VC site
  3. Identify and prioritize best bet interventions for each site
  4. Develop intervention plans for each site (to be taken later to local VCD actors and communities)
  5. Identify emerging cross-cutting issues by research components – breeding, feeding, health, gender.

Some results

Validated VC assessments

Each team presented its initial value chain assessment (VCA) report, including a table of VC constraints and potential interventions as well as a map of the market channels. The tables were validated and the elements prioritized in groups discussions involving invited people from outside the sites; they formed the basis for the subsequent identification of ‘best bet’ interventions and draft intervention plans.

Prioritized best bet interventions

For each site, the teams produced a set of prioritized ‘best bet’ interventions targeted to the constraints and opportunities already identified.

In prioritizing, groups initially looked at those that are ‘easy’ – so-called ‘low hanging fruits’ that offer quick and visible results and those that are ‘essential’ – without these, the intended VC transformation and outcomes would not happen. In the last workshop, these were called ‘killer’ interventions.

An important dimension to consider was the expected time-frame within which an intervention would be expected to produce outputs. The three time-frames used in planning were: Short term: up to 2 years; medium-term: between 2 and 4 years; and long-term: more than 4 years.

Other aspects of best bets taken into account in prioritization included:

  • The phase of evolution of the VC – participants differentiated between infant, growth, and mature phases based on inputs from a colleague working for SNV.
  • The VC ‘stage’ – whether the intervention mainly targets issues around inputs, production, marketing, processing or consumption.
  • The types of interventions were considered important – whether they are primarily about technologies, are organizational or institutional, or are capacity developing.
  • Finally, it was thought useful to pay attention to whether the intervention is primarily ‘action research’, is ‘developmental’, or involves more upstream ‘science.’

What emerged? The full tables will be part of the VCA reports produced from this exercise.  Draft outputs are at http://livestock-fish.wikispaces.com/ethiopia_vcd_bestbetplanning. The table below gives some examples.

Rapid VCA – Examples of constraints and best bet interventions

Constraints included:
  • Shortage of veterinary equipment, drug supply, and vaccines in animal health centers
  • Shortage of skilled technicians and facilities to address the health problems in the area
  • Problem in maintaining cold chain for vaccines and provision of dead vaccines
  • Informal vet drug sellers availing vet drugs everywhere (regulations not enforced)
  • Shortage of transportation facilities to reach farmers in areas far from clinics and health posts
  • Lack of flexibility in the credit system
  • Lack of livestock market extension
  • Lack of supplementary feeds
  • Seasonal availability of feeds
  • Infectious (pasteurellosis), and parasitic diseases (liver fluke, helminthes and lice infestation)
  • High incidence of disease and parasites (CCPP, PPR, Goat Pox, Senorosis, Ticks, Lice, Hemoncus, )
  • Inadequate skills on improved sheep and goat production and management
  • Poor/traditional housing
  • Low bargaining power of producers and limited access to market information
  • Lack of vertical linkage of producers with other actors in the value chain
  • Weak horizontal linkages among producers
  • Lack of formal livestock market information
  • Non uniform method of selling (weighing scale Vs Visual estimation)
  • Shortage of supply of export quality goats to the market
  • Seasonality of goat supply and demand
  • Backyard slaughter – public health issue
  • Low level of food preparation skill in the hotels and restaurants of the area
  • Poor slaughtering skills that spoil the quality of meat and skin
Potential interventions include:
  • Training on the need for selection and maintenance of breeding animals
  • strengthening traditional breeding practices
  • Allocating more funds for procurement of vet equipment
  • Provision of facilities that can enable longer shelf life of vaccines
  • Identification of different strains diseases for effective vaccination example PPR
  • Enforcing the government rule and regulation
  • Facilitate a flexible and individual based credit services
  • Conservation of available feed resources
  • Demonstrate best practices of crop residues utilization
  • Testing of improved forage genotypes
  • Promote the use of drought tolerant browse
  • Expansion and strengthening of health posts and training of vet technicians
  • Training extension agents, pastoralists, community leaders etc. in disease prevention and control
  • Epidemiological study of prevailing diseases
  • Identification of ‘resilient’ breeding stock
  • Awareness creation and demonstration on improved housing through training and demonstration
  • Institutionalizing the data collection and transmission from livestock markets
  • Linking the local districts with national livestock market information system
  • Support establishment of primary livestock markets with all necessary facilities
  • Assessment of available feeds and water resources
  • Training the community on efficient feed and water utilization
  • Training pastoralists on the export qualities standards and how to attain them
  • Organizing stakeholders’ forum at district, zonal and regional level
  • Support establishment or strengthening livestock marketing cooperatives
  • Encourage and support meat processing and export to create non seasonal demand
  • Support policy and development that can reduce informal cross border trade
  • Train in slaughtering techniques, encourage use of municipal abattoirs
  • Encourage quality based meat pricing
  • Enforce regulations to discourage backyard slaughtering
  • Encourage meat quality standards

Draft implementation plans

The constraints analysis and best bet interventions were combined to produce draft intervention plans per site. For each prioritized intervention, teams explained who would be expected to deliver the activity, when (short, medium or long term) and how – the approach to be used. These plans form part of the VCA reports per site; they will be taken to VC local actors/communities for further validation and implementation.

Vision statements for each site

As part of the planning process for each site, the teams developed initial vision/outcome statements for where they expect their value chain to be in 2020.  These are provided below:

  • Menz: By 2020: increased income and consumption of quality sheep meat of all value chain actors through an effective and sustainable Menz sheep value chain.
  • Horro: By 2020: market-oriented sustainable sheep production and sufficient meat consumption in the diets of the value chain actors
  • Doyogena: By 2020: increased household income and nutrition (livelihood) of value chain actors through an efficient specialized (trade-marked) and sustainable Doyogena sheep value chain
  • Atsbi: By 2020:  Sustainable market oriented sheep production system that contributes to nutrition and income of value chain actors
  • Abergelle (both sites): By 2020: We endeavor to see (safe) sustainable and market oriented Abergelle goat farming benefiting all actors and satisfying consumer requirements and contributing access to balanced nutrition for all.
  • Borana: By 2020: Yabello pastoralists will have improved their incomes, nutrition and health through sustainable market oriented goat production
  • Shinelle: By 2020: Shinelle pastoralists will practice sustainable market-oriented sheep and goat production which contributes to improved nutrition and income

Cross cutting research issues

Alongside the site by site planning, two of the workshops also looked at cross-cutting issues across sites, to identify priority interventions and issues needing attention. These are listed in the table below.

Issue area Addis Mekelle
  1. Genetics of resistance/tolerance to endoparasites in sheep
  • Control of the parasites through anthelmintics has so far been ineffective because of drug resistance, and is contrary to organic meat production
  • ILRI has done some work on endoparasite genetics and the results are promising.
  • The activity could fit into the safe food component of the VCA project
  1. Genetics of feed efficiency in sheep
  • Genetic improvement has so far focused on improvement of body weights
  • But where feed is scarce, efficiency of weight gain is more important
  • the activity could include both quantitative and molecular genetics components
  1. Mapping of stratification for breed development and utilization in Ethiopia
  • Because of lack of a clear breeding policy and strategy, there has been indiscriminate crossing
  • breeding strategies need to consider both resource base that can support the improved genotype and conservation of the indigenous genetic resources
  • the output of the activity will serve to rationalize our breeding programs
  • the output will also serve as baseline information for developing breeding policies and strategies in Ethiopia,  which is already long overdue.
  1. Setting up and optimization of community-based sheep breeding programs


  1. Identification of adaptive traits
  2. Parental tracking via DNA profiling
  3. Appropriate recording/identification systems
  4. Appropriate and participatory breeding programs
  5. Delivery of genetic improvement via reproductive technologies


  1. Feed resource inventory and design strategies to fill gaps:
  • Forage development
  • Commercial feed utilization
  • Crop residue improvement
  • Feeding practice
  • Developing feeding system
  1. Research on diversifying adaptive forage species for highland area
  2. Documenting and evaluation of fattening practice:
  3. Feed conversion and economic terms
  4. Demonstration and evaluation of crop residue improvement using effective micro organism
  1. Identification, evaluation and adaptive research on local browse and grass species (improved grass and browse (feed value)
  2. Development of adapted forage and food-feed crop options for arable land
  3. Use of crop residues: conservation, proper utilization and documentation of existing technologies
  4. Development of economical and biological efficient feeding strategies for market-oriented production (quality products)


  1. Diagnose and address, raise awareness important neglected diseases (eg, ‘pink-eye’ disease)
  2. Involve community animal health workers into the VC; by training them in eg preventive measures and treatments
  3. Address control of zoonotic diseases and drug residues (in meat and milk)
  4. Improve/extend veterinary and public health inspection in livestock markets, slaughterhouses.
  5. Support the emergence of consumer associations to create awareness of health risks
  6. Identification and isolation of strains (lab diagnosis) for economically important and human health relevant diseases
  7. Prevention and controlling guidelines for identified diseases
  8. Causes of failure of vaccination programs (strains, effectiveness of vaccines, timeliness)
  9. Demo for treatment of Coenurosis in Atsbi and Abergelle: Acting on interim host (a. deworming, b. proper disposal of infected)
  10. Impact assessment of transport effect on carcass quality
  11. Documentation of ethno-veterinary practices, e.g. herbal treatments against endoparasites (synergies between local and scientific knowledge)
  12. Delivery of animal health services
  1. Build on / learn from existing programs of womens’ groups and microcredit for them
  2. Identify roles, responsibilities, resource access, household decisions and ownership of men and women in VCs
  3. Assess whether the contribution of women is recognized in VCs, and if not, why and the implications (eg income) of this
  4. Identify the work of women in VCs more visible and valued, and ways to empower them
  5. Reinforce the roles and contributions of extension/advisory agents in targeting and training women


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