December 21 – 24, 2021, the Ethiopian ATA Livestock and Digital agriculture teams in collaboration with Mercy Corps organized a workshop at Adama.  The workshop was attended by key experts drawn from Regional and Federal institutions including Ministry of Agriculture,  Ethiopian Dairy and Meat Technology Institute (EDMTI), University, Bureau of Agriculture, and Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research.

The main purpose of the workshop is to develop camel extension advisory content for pastoral and agro-pastoral communities of the Somali Region. This is part of ATAs initiatives to scale its successful innovations to the Somali region and thereby enhance pastoralists and agro-pastoralists access to digital livestock extension. It is also a priority area for Mercy Corps intervention in the Somali region.

The workshop highlighted the potentials of livestock resources of the country and the limitations of traditional livestock extension system, and included a presentation on ATAs 8028 System overview, achievements, and the recent addition of selected livestock commodities; field testing and evaluation of the existing contents, and guidance on the development of action-oriented and advisory contents. The experts were grouped into 2 (Dairy camel and meat camel) based on their experience on camel and developed 2 separate advisory contents on priority areas of camel dairy and camel meat. Upon revision and further feedback from the MoA, the content will be translated into the Somali language, tested in the field, and disseminated to users. The workshop was facilitated by the team drawn from the Livestock and Digital agriculture team of the ATA and mercy corps.

The Somali Region is endowed with a reasonably large number and diverse livestock resources, which signifies its potential for development. Livestock is the major source of livelihood and contributes to food and nutrition security for pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in the region. The region is home to about 80% of the total national camel population of the country. Camels play multiple roles for Somali people: an important source of milk, meat, transportation, etc. The camel is very well adapted to hot and dry environments due to its physiological and anatomical features. However, the production, productivity, and income generated from this invaluable domestic animal are disproportionately low. Digital livestock extension through 8028 farmers and pastoralists hotline is believed to enhance access to improved production practices and approaches with limited presence or absence of extension agents at the ground and, thus, contribute to the commercialization of livestock development at large.

The ATA in collaboration with MoA, government, and development partners have also developed and shared National Camel Breeding Strategy with partners two years back.