Dairy Farming and its Economic Importance in Ethiopia: A Review
Ethiopia has a large livestock population, a relatively favorable climate for improved, high yielding dairy cattle breeds and regions with less animal disease-stress that make the country to have a substantial potential for dairy development. Taking this in to account, this paper is prepared with the objectives of over viewing the Ethiopian dairy sector and its contribution for the economy of the country. Considering the huge potential of the country, investing in development interventions to the dairy sector will contribute to poverty alleviation by increasing the income of smallholder dairy producers and creating employment and transforming the existing largely subsistent type of milk production to commercial level. In 2010, dairying created an estimated 588, 000 full-time on-farm jobs. Smallholder farmers represent about 85% of the population and are responsible for 98% of the milk production. Productivity however is relatively low, quality feeds are difficult to obtain and support services are inadequate. The milk marketing system is not well developed giving the majority of smallholder milk producers, limited access to the market. Review of the dairy sector in Ethiopia indicates that there is a need to focus interventions more coherently. Development interventions should be aimed at addressing technological gaps and marketing problems. The government needs to take actions on this sector and should make developmental interventions in the various components such as breeding, animal health, feeding, milk collection, storage, processing and distribution.