Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) project inception and planning workshop was held in Ethiopia in June 2018. Photo: ILRI/Bethlehem Alemu

Ethiopia partners prioritize technologies for increasing productivity of small ruminants and poultry

Blog post

Initial discussions by livestock sector stakeholders in Ethiopia, under the new Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) project, have identified improved poultry breeds, access to animal health service and improved feed and feed resources as key technology delivery priorities for increasing the productivity and profitability of the small ruminant and poultry in the country.

In an inception and planning workshop of the TAAT livestock compact held 21–22 June 2018 at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Addis Ababa, 47 participants representing the private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), national and regional research centres and the office of livestock and agriculture, agreed to hasten the establishment of partnerships to leverage resources and infrastructure for small ruminant livestock and poultry value chain development.

TAAT is exploring ways of fast-tracking the adoption of proven technologies in animal genetics, health, production, and marketing to increase the productivity and profitability of agricultural value chains in Ethiopia and other African countries. It is an initiative of the African Development Bank’s Feed Africa Strategy that aims to achieve major agricultural transformations in Africa.

Participants in the meeting discussed ‘quick win’ scalable interventions that will be rolled out this year and identified the stakeholders they will work with including national research institutes, NGOs, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to unleash a national technology delivery infrastructure that will enhance animal production in Ethiopia.

Some of the livestock production technologies identified for scaling at the meeting include dissemination of improved poultry breeds, enhanced access to animal health services, improved feed and feed resources for sheep and goat fattening and improved market access approaches. The project will also facilitate networks with stakeholders to support technology adoption. Key policy issues in relation to land use, extension, and seed supply were also discussed.

Representatives from key TAAT partners and livestock sector stakeholders including the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the Ethio-chicken project and two ILRI-led projects—Africa RISING and the African Chicken Genetic Gains (ACGG)—presented their research and lessons at the meeting. Kindu Mekonnen, a crop-livestock systems scientist at ILRI, shared Africa RISING’s experience in using action research and scaling out technologies such as the sweet lupin legume for livestock forages and the improved feed trough. The two technologies have been tested in Lemo District in the Southern Nations and Nationalities region and are ready for scaling up to other parts of Ethiopia.

The importance of sustainable seed systems, allocating land for livestock feed production and developing an extension approach that can facilitate adoption by smallholder farmers was emphasized. Participants also stressed the need for information sharing and setting up of innovation platforms to promote rapid adoption of improved poultry genetics and access to a thermostable Newcastle disease vaccine (which will be led by the African Chicken Genetic Gains project). Other technologies to be promoted among smallholders are improved fodder and feed resources for sheep and goat fattening and improved market access for small ruminants and poultry.

Iddo Dror, who leads the Impact at Scale Program at ILRI, said TAAT is aiming to support the adoption of existing and proven technologies for livestock development and not to undertake new research. He said the project is leveraging on existing partnerships between CGIAR centres (ILRI, ICARDA, and CIAT), the public and the private sector and other stakeholders in implementing its activities.

A group discussion at the workshop (photo credit: ILRI/ Adeniyi Samuel).

‘TAAT will enable us to work together in exploring and sharing views and knowledge within the poultry sector which will quicken the transfer and adoption of technologies that have been tested and proven in Ethiopia,’ said Negassi Ameha, animal production and health research subteam leader at Haramaya University.

‘Workshops such as this help support the nascent Ethiopian poultry industry. We can adopt advanced technologies that have been used successfully in other African countries rather than reinvent the wheel,’ said  Ulric Daniel, managing director of Ethio-chicken PLC.

The TAAT livestock compact is a three-year activity led by ILRI and implemented in collaboration with ICARDA and CIAT and many public and private sector partners in Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria, Zambia, Mozambique, and Cameroon.