Between 15 and 17 November 2011, scientists, experts and development practitioners from the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture, universities and non-governmental and international organizations gathered in Addis Ababa to share research results on trypanotolerance in indigenous local cattle breeds in Ethiopia (Sheko, Abigar, Horro and Gurage) and experiences with community-based sheep breeding.
The Sheko breed got high attention in the workshop. It is small in number – almost endangered – yet highly trypanotolerant in tsetse infested areas, but communities are reluctant to adopt the Sheko breed because of its endangered status.
Participants discussed how the potential of the Sheko breed could be exploited. First, by breeding to preserve its unique characteristics that can improve the productivity of stallholders in tsetse infested areas of Ethiopia, second, to alter community perceptions on the breed.
Following some presentations, participants formed groups to discuss two topics: sheep breeding and tryps control. Key issues emerging from the groups were the need to develop a central database, scale-up community-based sheep breeding programs, market strategy, capacity building and mobilization of communities ,and development of an integrated national trypanosomosis control strategy.
On the last day of the workshop, a small group formed to develop and submit a sheep breeding and tryps control concept note and action plans to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Jan Philipsson from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences reflects on the meeting:
The workshop was organized by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).
Powerpoint presentations on Slideshare
The reluctant behavior of the communities in adopting the sheko cattle breed is not due to its endanger status but it is due to aggressive behavior and feeding characteristics of the breed that described in Takele et al., 2011.