Sunday, February 19, 2017

Destocking in Atsbi : a move to dairy production? (1)

Atsbi, in Northern Ethiopia is often confronted with food and fodder shortage. One way to address fodder shortage is to have less livestock but more productive one. Moving to dairy production is one option. The goverment has even identified Atbsi as a woreda (district) where dairy should be prioritized. Not surprising as Atbsi is on a plateau and therefore is cooler and suitable for dairy.
the farmer with the Holstein dairy cow
Local breeds are not very productive for milk, therefore dairy need improved breeds. In Atsbi, cross-breed are managed and provided by the government. We visited a model farmer who had switched to dairy farming.

The irrigated lentils
The farmer had 1 acre land of which a part was irrigated. Lentils were growing on the irrigated land. In addition, she 3 cows, 100% Holstein (so not a cross breed), 1 oxen, 5 sheep, 2 donkeys and 10 local chicken. She was very happy with the dairy cow . She was feeding them with crop residue, grass, hay, but also on concentrate (mainly maize bran) that she would buy and residue from beer production. Lentils are for human consumption, only residues are given to the animals
She got training and knows well how to feed her animals. As a result, in the good season she could get 15 liters milk per cow, while in the current season she would get on 10 l. per animals.
Residue from local beer production

She would get 10 birr (0.44 usd) per litre milk, and 8birr during the fasting season. She is selling to a cooperative. With 3 cows she can get 30 liter per day, that is 300 birr that is 13 usd per day, not bad for rural Ethiopia...
Livestock coming from the water point just crossing the farm
When i asked her about what will have changed in 5 years from now, she said she will have more dairy cows, she did not mentioned the sheep.

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