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Impacting the Dairy Industry in Ethiopia

Dangla is known as an environmentally favorable town in northern Ethiopia, with a potential in livestock production. Mixed farms provide for the subsistence of the communities. However, being rated the highest in malnutrition brings out the irony of the favorable circumstances in this town in the Amhara region.

Impacting the Dairy Industry in Ethiopia

Absence of market linkages

The milk market system in Ethiopia is not well-developed due to lack of market outlets for milk and dairy products. Other factors that play a role are inefficient and inadequate milk processing technology, shortage of feed especially agro-industrial by-products, lack of cross-breed heifers, inefficient utilization of animal feed resources, which is partially due to the shortage of land for forage development. The absence of market linkages negatively affects the country’s dairy development.

Poor fodder

Ethiopia produces 4 billion liter of milk per year, which is not enough compared to the need for consumption in the country. To fill the existing gap between supply and demand the country imports milk powder. The country’s yearly milk consumption per person is only 19 liters.

Amhara region has a vast area of land with diverse agro-ecologies with high potential for growing a variety of animal feed. However, the contribution of improved fodder in livestock feed is estimated to be less than 0.22%. This implies that most of the livestock kept in the country mainly depend on poorly managed communal grazing lands and crop residues.

Improving value chains

Since 2018 ICCO Ethiopia executes the ‘Strengthening Agricultural Finance in Ethiopia’ (SAFE) in four Woredas in the Amhara region: Dembecha, Jabi-Tehinan, Burie in West Gojjam Zone and DangIla from Awi Zone.

The goal is to improve income and gender equitable wealth creation for the rural people through sustained value chain support of selected high value commodities and strengthening agricultural finance. SAFE focuses on dairy, fattening, fodder, seedling and bee keeping and creates access to financial services for 2,250 women, youth and 1,125 smallholder farmers. Partners in the project are MFIs and the union RU/SACCO.

Some of the ongoing interventions are input and service supply, improvement fodder development, veterinary drug supply services and creating linkages with markets and financial service providers. SAFE supports milk, butter and cheese processing cafés and shops too.

Awareness is key

On the 22nd of October 2019, as part of the intervention financed by ACT Church of Sweden, ICCO Cooperation organized a school milk day event in Dangila Woreda to create awareness about the nutritional value of milk. A workshop was held to discuss challenges in the milk value chain, input supply and capacity development in the presence of farmers, local business owners, parents and MFIs. School children enthusiastically participated in fun activities.