Livestock Feed & Feeding
Why is transformation needed in this program area?
Feed is set to remain the most important and manageable component of commercial livestock production, in both non-ruminant (e.g. chicken, fish, pig, equines) and ruminant (e.g. dairy, beef, sheep, goat, camel) production. The high and rising cost of feeds and feeding is a universal constraint in livestock production. Transformation of Ethiopia’s livestock sector therefore requires targeted interventions that will ensure the delivery of sufficient affordable quality feed to support efficient and competitive commercial livestock production.
Inadequate and inefficient livestock production can prove to be harmful to the environment and natural resources. Due to uncontrolled grazing, coverage of grasslands halved between 1980 and 2000, but the number of livestock doubled between 1995 and 2010 from 58 million to 107 million. Consequently, the decrease in grassland from 30% of Ethiopian land in 1980 to 12% in 2000 has significantly reduced the amount of roughage available for ruminant livestock feed, necessitating the use of crop residues for feed. Considering these issues, fundamental and transformative changes in managing these resources are required to fully harness their potential for maximum impact on the livelihoods of smallholders, the national economy, and the environment.
Various livestock have proven capacities to convert a wide range of roughage and concentrate feed resources into high value animal products and services that meet supply gaps at household and national levels while also providing valuable economic, environmental and socio-cultural services at household, community and watershed levels.
A responsive and competitive commercial feed production system is an essential basis for efficient commercial livestock production. Ethiopia can realistically develop a globally competitive commercial roughage and concentrated feed industry that can tap into the attractive Middle East market. Apart from adding value to current and emerging agro-industrial by-products, a vibrant feed industry could also become a major demand sink for major cereal grains such as maize and sorghum at present, and even wheat and pulses in the long term. Current challenges to the development of effective and efficient feeds and feeding practices include limitations in the production, utilization, marketing and regulation of available feed resources.
What are the objectives of this program area during GTP II?
The common vision of this program area is to realize a sustainable and efficient production and delivery of adequate, quality and safe feed for profitable livestock production by commercial as well as smallholder livestock producers. This can be achieved through the wise handling, conservation and utilization of available feed resources at household and watershed levels; promotion of an efficient and competitive medium and large scale commercial feed industry, the establishment of a responsive and credible feed regulatory system and promotion of feeds and feeding practices that are climate as well as environmentally sensitive.
What are the focus areas of this program?
Critical to the supply of adequate, quality and affordable feeds and fodder to the sector is the crafting of an attractive policy environment for medium and large scale investments into commercial feeds and fodder production, which can also provide access to appropriate technologies and major market outlets to smallholder farmers. This includes the review, identification and resolution of barriers to continued investment in the feed industry; the promotion of commercialization of underutilized major feed bases (agro-industrial by-products, various protected degraded areas under rehabilitation, scalable aggregation of major crop residues) and the incubation of viable small businesses involved in the aggregation and value addition of major feed resources in Agricultural Commercialization Clusters.
Major effort is also required during the GTP II period to mainstream the effective regulation of feed and fodder quality at federal and regional levels to support the development of a credible and competitive feed industry. Substantive technical and logistical support is required to fully develop and make functional the newly developed regulatory instruments. Opportunities for convenient outsourcing of routine steps in the regulatory process will be explored to ease the burden on the developing infrastructure of the public regulatory system.
Also required is the development of a robust forage seed maintenance and certification system, which provides a seamless working relationship between public research, extension and private sectors in support of a viable public and commercial forage seed sector, which can also address the forage seed needs of the natural resources sector for the rehabilitation of degraded landscapes.