Ethiopia possesses the largest cattle population of the African continent. Despite this huge number, the cattle productivity of the country is very low and the direct contribution it makes to the national economy is limited compared to its potential. The aim of this study was to characterize smallholder dairy production of the area and identify constraints limiting the dairy production, by interviewing high producing farmers and lower producing farmers.
The study was conducted in Kemabata Tembaro zone, located in Southern Ethiopia, with the aim of characterizing smallholder dairy production of the area and identifying constraints limiting the dairy production thereby providing a basis for development interventions. To do so, two peasant associations were selected; one from highland and the other from lowland agro-ecology. Then in each peasant association smallholder dairy farms were categorized as ‘high production farms’ and ‘low production farms’ based on the presence and absence of crossbred dairy cattle in the farms respectively. A total of 38 smallholder farmers were sampled and individually interviewed using structured questionnaires in their respective farms. The information obtained were analyzed in descriptive statistics, chi-square test, correlation and General Linear Model procedures using SPSS software.
Findings of interviews revealed that high production farms had larger family size, land size and better education than low production farms. Cattle were primarily kept for milk production followed by draught power. Feed type and availability in the areas were affected by season of the year and agro-ecology which resulted in seasonal variation of milk production. The mean milk yield of dairy cows in high production farms (7.6 liters per cow per day) was significantly higher (P<0.001) than in low production farms ( 1.8 litres per cow per day). High production farms were also better in other reproductive performances and smallholders attributed these differences to poor genetic performance of indigenous cattle.
Feed was top rated constraint in dry season in the areas and more severe in lowlands than highlands whereas water was scarce in highlands. Money in cash was also a major constraint in the areas. Small holders need cash primarily to purchase feed and its importance was high for high production farms as they were supposed to buy concentrates. Other major constraints of smallholder dairy farming of the areas were: lack/inadequacy of AI or improved bull services, credit services, improved milk market schemes.
Student: AA Lamore
Supervisor: dr ir S Oosting