Less replacement heifers due to poor calf rearing practices

Jettie Veerman, student animal husbandry at the Aeres University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, has done a field survey on calf rearing practices on commercial dairy farms in Ethiopia.

Main objective of the study was to analyse current calf rearing practices on commercial farms in Ethiopia and advice DairyBISS on improvements which can be incorporated in our training programmes.

During her studies, she has specialised in the topic of calf rearing and done similar surveys and undertaken research in post-weaning dips.

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Thesis | Dairy service delivery by lead farms

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This MSc thesis on dairy service delivery by lead farms in Ethiopia is written by Gerko Wassink BSc, Master student Development and Rural Innovation, Wageningen UR.


This research examined the role of five lead farms in Ethiopia in the process of increased market orientation and commercialization of small-scale dairy farmers. A lead farm is a relatively large, high-developed farm as compared to the neighbouring small-scale farms. A lead farm tends to serve as a supportive platform to the small-scale farms by delivering services such as milk collection, feed supply, demonstrations and trainings. This research is conducted to evaluate the key mechanisms used by the lead farms in the demand/supply articulation process that may or may not lead to a match between lead farms and small-scale farmers in the Oromiya region of Ethiopia. In addition, this research determines the coordinating role of the lead farms in the dairy value chain. Literature study gave insights into the useful mechanisms (Zijlstra et al., 2015), lead farm models (Christoplos, 2010) and coordinating roles (Poulton & Lyne, 2009). A multiple case study method is used to gain access to the data needed. The data was gathered through interviewing, observations and information artefacts. Remarkable are the differences between on the one hand lead farms in rural areas and lead farms in urban areas at the other hand. The research showed that lead farmers in the rural area use an open approach with a wide range of services based on a cost covering or donor-recipient relationship. The lead farmers in the (relatively) urbanized area use a cost covering or commercial relationship, especially in areas with multiple service providers. The results show which mechanisms, models and coordinating roles a certain lead famer could use to serve small-scale farmers in Ethiopia.

Report | How to make more from milk in the informal market in Ethiopia

This report on grazing strategies for dairy cattle in Ethiopia is written by five students from Wageningen UR: Eva Carrillo de Albornoz Loriente, Pier Hiemstra, Judith Jonker, Federico Lande and Willemijn Rooijmans as part of their Academic Consultancy Training (ACT).

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Most of all the milk produced in Ethiopia comes from smallholders in rural areas. Due to a variety of factors, quality and production are persistently low, and only a small fraction is sold in informal markets. Opportunities to add value to the informal dairy chain should be investigated. Therefore, this report introduces seven new dairy products in the highlands of the Oromia region. These are yogurt with honey and dried fruits, Provolone cheese, metata ayib (local cottage cheese), teff butter cookies, niter kibbeh (spiced butter), cosmetic butter, and whey injera. These products can add value by increasing income and nutrition for smallholders, local and peri-urban consumers.
Socio-economic assessment was carried out based on literature research and interviews with informants with related academic backgrounds. In order to critically analyse the seven product presented here, SWOT analyses have been carried out. Moreover, specific attention is given to a range of supporting interventions, conducive to overcoming constraints inherent to dairy production. Finally, recommendations are provided focusing on the steps that need to be considered for tailoring the above practical interventions to the specific context of the villages in the highlands of Oromia.

Report | Developing grazing strategies as a new contribution to dairy cattle feeding in Ethiopia

This report on grazing strategies for dairy cattle in Ethiopia is written by 6 students from Wageningen UR: Jip Bekkers, Dorien Dolman, Zarra de Laat, Linde Lamboo, Berit Moneke, Marielle Karsenberg as part of their Academic Consultancy Training (ACT).

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In Ethiopia, several socio-demographic developments – like rapid population growth, urbanization and rising incomes – are increasing the demand for high quality milk. Ethiopian dairy farmers cannot respond to this demand with their current farming strategies. DairyBISS aims to find out whether grazing is a suitable feeding strategy to increase the dairy production in Ethiopia and if so, how this can be implemented. By means of a literature review and interviews, an answer to this question is provided. This report offers an overview of advantages and disadvantages of different feeding strategies and presents the dairy sector in the Netherlands and Ethiopia. This information is used to see how the Dutch knowledge fits the context of Ethiopia and how different theories could help to implement feeding strategies in Ethiopia. A practical action list is provided for DairyBISS with steps to take into consideration for the continuation of their project. Multiple interesting elements can be derived from this report: These are relevant during the implementation of the DairyBISS project in Ethiopia: (1) The Ethiopian dairy sector can learn from Dutch dairy farming strategies, though this knowledge should be open and flexible to the existing Ethiopian technologies and context; (2) The Ethiopian culture, climate and dairy market influence the adoption of new technologies; (3) Ethiopian farmers should play an active role in the design of the project in order to bring the Ethiopian and Dutch knowledge together.