For the November 2011 ‘liveSTOCK Exchange’ event at ILRI, Azage Tegegne and Dirk Hoekstra prepared an issue brief on genetic improvement of cattle in the ‘Improving the Productivity and Market Success of Ethiopian farmers’ (IPMS) project …
A key intervention for dairy and meat value chains in Ethiopia is the use of genetically improved cows. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, there are about 30,000 crossbred dairy cows in Ethiopia. In contrast, Kenya has around 3 million crossbred dairy cows. It was therefore not surprising to find that stakeholders in the IPMS project districts identified the lack of genetically improved animals as a key constraint in dairy and meat value chains.
To address this bottleneck, the project partners initially experimented with private artificial insemination (AI) service providers, private bull stations and facilitating the purchase of crossbred heifers. Although some improvements could be observed, large scale impact would take a long time.
In discussions among project scientists, the use of mass insemination in targeted production areas using hormones to regulate the estrus cycle was discussed as an alternative option. In recent months therefore, the IPMS project with its partners tried and gained experience with mass insemination of cows in different milk sheds in various parts of the country.
On 9 and 10 November 2011, the ILRI Board of Trustees hosts a 2-day ‘liveSTOCK Exchange’ to discuss and reflect on livestock research for development. The event will synthesize sector and ILRI learning and help frame future livestock research for development directions.