Heading towards commercialization? The case of live animal marketing in Ethiopia
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Gebremedhin, B.; Hoekstra, D.; Jemaneh, S. 2007. Heading towards commercialization? The case of live animal marketing in Ethiopia. IPMS Working Paper 5. Nairobi (Kenya): ILRI.
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The current levels of contributions of the livestock subsector in Ethiopia, at either the macro or micro level, is below potential. Policy, technological, organizational and institutional interventions to improve the contributions of livestock to the national economy need to be based on an understanding of the constraints and opportunities available based on sound theoretical and empirical analysis. This rapid marketing appraisal study is aimed at assessing the supply chains of live cattle and live shoats in the four Ethiopian regional states of Tigray, Amhara, Oromia and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples region (SNNPR). Livestock production in Ethiopia is based on traditional technology and practices, and is subsistence oriented. Although efforts are being made to introduce and promote market oriented livestock production, with or without fattening, these efforts are miniscule compared with the size of the livestock population and the number of household who rear them. Hence, it is important to build on these efforts, evaluate them to learn lessons, and strengthen the extension service to promote the market orientation among the wider farming population. In most of the study areas, feed shortage was identifi ed as the most important constraint to livestock production. In some of the study areas, livestock diseases were identified as most important constraint, followed by feed shortage. Potential solutions to the feed problem vary depending on the resource bases of a particular intervention area. The relative bias of the extension service in favour of crop production has left the livestock extension service too limited. This calls for the need to invigorate the livestock extension service throughout the country. Especially, the development of market oriented livestock extension service deserves serious attention. Livestock credit supply falls short of demand in many of the study areas and some farmers complained about the periodic repayment schedule of the livestock credit. On average, there are four livestock market places per woreda. The primary markets in some of the Pilot Learning Woredas (PLWs) are fenced in which the respective municipalities charge buyers and sellers tax for sold animals upon exit. Farmers and traders in all of the study sites reported no or very little access to formal livestock marketing information. Farmers in all PLWs depend on actual market day information for prices and selling decisions. Livestock traders are almost exclusively male. Key informants indicated that there are no farmer associations or cooperatives involved in livestock marketing in the woredas, except in some areas where export abattoirs have established livestock marketing cooperatives and unions. The reasons for selling livestock, as reported by farmers, include the need to cover incidental cash expenses to fill household food defi cit gaps, buy clothing, cover school and medical fees, cover expenses for social events, down payment for credit and credit repayments, payment for labour for agricultural activities, buy other animals, and to purchase crop inputs. Forced sales due to shortage of feed and water during the dry period were also widely mentioned. The sale of male shoats dominates the sale of females. The age of shoats supplied to the markets in the eight PLWs ranges from 1 to 2 years. The most common weight of shoats offered for sale ranges between 15 to 25 kg live weight. In almost all PLWs livestock are transported mainly by trekking. Farmers and traders indicated a number of problems affecting marketing of shoats and cattle. The major ones include inadequate market places, lack of adequate supply of good condition animals, lack of holding (concentration) places, feed shortage, shortage of stock supply for fattening/reproduction, lack of market information and low price due to poor body conditions.