Despite Ethiopia's current economic growth, it ranks amongst the world's ten poorest-nations. The Government of Ethiopia's Growth and Transformation Plan II is to achieve economic transformation, with a focus on agri-businesses. Agriculture plays an important role in the national economy of Ethiopia, with mainly smallholder farms.
Large informal market
Ethiopia has the largest cattle population in Africa, with very few dairy specific breeds. The small-scale production systems produce about 98 percent of the milk, and only around 2 percent is marketed on a commercial basis. Most processors and commercial dairy producers are located in the peri-urban areas of Addis Ababa.
There is a growing demand for quality food products in Ethiopia as a result of population growth and economic development. Nevertheless, per capita milk consumption rate is estimated at around 20 litres, far below the FAO recommended standards. Due to a seasonal lack of animal feed and fasting periods, large fluctuations occur in demand and supply of milk. Ethiopia has high levels of chronic undernutrition, with very low percentages of children meeting the requirements for minimum acceptable diets, as well as low percentages of children that consume dairy products. There is often little awareness of quality human nutrition.
Lack of services
Dairy development in Ethiopia is hampered by climate change, gender inequalities, lack of opportunities for young men and women, and lack of coordination in the sector. Dairy support services including extension and advisory services, input supply, financial services, veterinary services and breeding services are not easily accessible for most farmers. Farmers' organisation and management of organisations, lack of innovative and inclusive business models, lack of appropriate action research, and low milk quality are additional factors affecting the dairy value chain.
The involvement of the Netherlands within the dairy value chain in Ethiopia include two current projects, EDGET and DairyBISS, on which this proposal is based, as well as several other initiatives. The key goal for the dairy sector by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is to contribute to the development of an inclusive dairy sector which produces accessible, affordable, quality, nutritious and safe dairy products for all target groups.
The impact of the BRIDGE project is to contribute to an "improved dairy sector performance in Ethiopia", for a targeted 120,000 farming households, with four main outcomes:
1) improved milk production,
2) improved milk collection, processing and marketing,
3) improved consumption of nutritious foods, and
4) improved enabling environment.
Detailed project activities will be defined during the inception phase of the project. In line with EKN's support to the dairy sector, Dutch expertise will be utilized as much as possible.
The project will focus on three distinctive market systems: i) rural informal market systems, ii) urban informal market systems and iii) urban market systems. The project will further expand and build on the activities and experiences of EDGET and DairyBISS and has defined specific strategies for youth, gender, climate, action research, and private sector linkages.