An Ethiopian ‘Livestock Master Plan’ is a recent example of cooperation between the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Government of Ethiopia. The plan aims to change the face of livestock research and development programs within Ethiopia — not a minor step forward for a country deemed the livestock giant of Africa (see maps on the Livestock Geo-Wiki).
Directly following the recent ‘CGIAR-Ethiopia summit‘, HE Gebregziabher Gebreyohannes, state minister for livestock resources development publicly presented Ethiopia’s Livestock Master Plan.
A collaborative project spearheaded by ILRI’s Barry Shapiro, the Livestock Master Plan proposes strategic recommendations covering a 15-year period that will feed into a second-generation National Growth and Transformation Program (GTP). The team behind the plan had already presented a poster about this plan during the recent ILRI@40 event in Addis Ababa.
The presentation from the state minister highlighted opportunities the plan presents, which the second GTP should bear in mind:
- Investing in all interventions specified by the Livestock Master Plan could help the Government of Ethiopia eliminate poverty in 25% of livestock-keeping households (over 11 million people)
- Poultry development can help Ethiopia achieve better food security, enable red meat exports and lower greenhouse gas emissions
- A combination of cattle and poultry can lower domestic meat prices while increasing exports and foreign exchange earnings
- Dairy development can help Ethiopia’s domestic markets improve food security while also increasing export earnings
- The private sector’s participation (in processing and value addition) is crucial for success, which means the sector will have to develop very attractive incentives for private investment
Specific priorities of the Livestock Master Plan include: improving indigenous red meat animals, cross-breeding dairy cattle and small ruminants, improving family poultry and camels, scaling up technologies and improving data on Ethiopia’s livestock and livelihoods, especially in pastoral areas.
The audience of the meeting where this presentation was made comprised EARS-CGIAR Dialogue participants, including CGIAR centre representatives, the directors general of six regional agricultural research institutes, vice-presidents for research from five Ethiopian universities, as well as to other stakeholders from Ethiopia in the research, government and development sectors.
This presentation will help universities and the CGIAR to align their research programs with the Livestock Master Plan. While development of this Livestock Master Plan has been quite intensive, it is extremely useful for ILRI and other CGIAR centres working on livestock issues, including:
- CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish – with focus on the small ruminant value chain in Ethiopia
- Africa RISING on sustainable intensification and its Ethiopian Highlands project
- Livestock and Irrigation Value Chains for Ethiopian Smallholders (LIVES)
- African Chicken Genetic Gains, recently funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
With a likely review of all CGIAR research programs (which dovetail with the above-mentioned projects), such strategic pointers become critical for planning the next generation of livestock research and guarantee a relevant and bright future for livestock in Ethiopia and the wider eastern African region.