In late 2016, the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish produced several synthesis products, including a series of briefs on its animal health work carried out between 2012 and 2016. This brief reviews interventions and tools to improve small ruminant health in Ethiopia.
In June 2016, Bimrew Asmare graduated from Jimma University, studying the agronomic, utilization, nutritive and feeding value of desho grass (Pennisetum pedicellatum) in North-western and Southern Ethiopia.
Feeds and nutrition, community-based sheep breeding and reproduction technologies were the focus of the November 2016 field day in Doyogena, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples region (SNNPR) of Ethiopia. Hosted by the Areka Agricultural Research Center, the event brought farmers and others together from the Doyogena, Ancha Sedicho and Hewora kebeles where sheep farming is the mainstay of livestock production.
The starting point for this brief is that weak public and private sector service delivery constrains translation of
genetic improvements into productivity gains for smallholder farmers in developing countries. It introduces integrated delivery systems as mechanisms to enhance farmer access and uptake of improved livestock and fish genetics.
The design of a livestock breeding program largely depends on adequate infrastructure—ranging from efficient collection of phenotypes, development of models, data analysis, program implementation to buy-in from the public and farmers. This key infrastructure is usually lacking in developing countries. Using novel tools that circumvent these constraints offers many opportunities to developing countries. However, this requires a range of scientific expertise not readily available, underlining the importance of collaboration between advanced universities and research institutes.
The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and The International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) have been organizing a tailor made gender capacity development intervention for the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish research and development partners in Ethiopia.
Implementing sustainable livestock and fish breeding programs requires careful consideration of the species in question, their specific biological constraints, the production environment and the trait preferences of farmers, as well as a careful selection and use of innovative technology. Successful breeding programs rely on livestock keepers as co-owners of breeding programs as such programs are meant for them and they benefit from their full participation.