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Establishing Dairy and Fattening Business Platforms in Ethiopia

The project SAFE – Strengthening Agricultural Finance in Ethiopia – established dairy and large ruminant fattening business platforms. During a workshop on the 21st and 22nd of November the idea of establishing platforms was discussed among stakeholders, community members, government representatives and project implementers.

Establishing Dairy and Fattening Business Platforms in Ethiopia

Identified Gaps In the Sector

Despite huge cattle population and suitable agro-ecology for dairying, the development of the dairy industry is far below the desired level in the region. The major contributing factors for underdevelopment of dairy commodity include:

  • traditional production system
  • inadequate input and service supply system
  • absence of adoptable technologies
  • underdeveloped marketing system
  • a knowledge and skill gaps of all actors in the value chain

To transform subsistence dairying to a market oriented sustainable commodity, intervention is required at all stages of the value chain.
Additionally, cattle in the Amhara region, similar to other regions, are kept for multipurpose use (milk, draft power, meat, income, manure and asset). Especially in crop-livestock mixed farming systems, oxen are kept for crop land preparation and threshing. Old oxen which are unable to plough are sold for meat purpose with very little or no value addition. According to a recent estimate (CSA, 2012/13), cattle reared for meat purpose accounts only 0.81% of the cattle population in the country.

SAFE project assists the transformation of both dairy and cattle fattening into a more market oriented and productive business by intervening at all stages of the value chain. One of the major interventions planned is to establish a dairy and large ruminant fattening business platform at Zone level.

Commodity Specific Business Platform as a way forward

SAFE project initiated both a Dairy Business Platform (DBP) and a Large Ruminant Fattening Business Platform (LrFBP). Both platforms present an equitable representation of actors in the sector. A platform is a forum established to facilitate interactions and learning among stakeholders in the value chain. This can lead to participatory diagnosis of problems and joint exploration of opportunities, leading to the promotion of agricultural innovation along the targeted commodity chain. The platform thus serves as a coalition of actors along the value chain who share knowledge and learn from each other.

Through the DBP and LrFBP, smallholder farmers and other actors within the dairy and beef value chain have the opportunity to:

  • raise concerns and challenges
  • provoke discussion
  • create knowledge and understanding
  • expose members to improved technology and innovation
  • update with technical, business and policy information
  • have access to a wide variety of development programs.

All of this can be used to network on a national and international standard, build Business to Business (inter)national relationships, link to quality advisory services both in technical and business development, participate in business matchmaking programs both with (inter)national businesses and many more activities that can enhance efficiency and create value within the sector. The potential of a business platform can help farmers make the transition from subsistence farming towards farming to earn a living.

Scoping assessment

Initially, SAFE conducted a scoping assessment in the Amhara Region in Ethiopia. From this assessment, dairy and large ruminant fattening were selected as priority commodities for value chain development in the four project Woredas located in Amhara Region, West Gojjam Zone and Awi Zone (northern Ethiopia).

About SAFE

The “Strengthening Agricultural Finance in Ethiopia (SAFE)” is a 3-year program (2018 – 2020), that is implemented by ICCO Cooperation in collaboration with Act Church of Sweden. The aim of the project is to improve income and gender equitable wealth creation for rural poor through sustained value chain support of high-value commodities and strengthen agricultural finance in West Gojjam and Awi Zones of Amhara region. SAFE aims to reach 3,550 farmers, of which 60% youth and 50% women.

Photo: Workshop with community members, government representatives and project implementers