Community‐based breeding programmes are a viable solution for Ethiopian small ruminant genetic improvement but require public and private investments

Published Date
September 30, 2019
Type
Journal Article
Community‐based breeding programmes are a viable solution for Ethiopian small ruminant genetic improvement but require public and private investments
Authors:
Aynalem Haile
Solomon Gizaw, Tesfaye Getachew, Joaquín Mueller, Peter Amer, Mourad Rekik, Barbara Rischkowsky

Ethiopia has a large and diverse population of small ruminants, which contribute
substantially to the livelihood and income of the rural poor and the country at large.
However, the sector faces a number of challenges. Productivity per animal and flock
offtake are both very low. Reasons attributed for the apparent low productivity are as
follows: absence of appropriate breeding programmes, lack of technical capacity,
inadequate and poor‐quality feeds, diseases leading to high lamb mortality, and underdeveloped
markets in terms of infrastructure and information. Historically, sheep
and goats have received little policy or investment attention. Genetic improvement of
small ruminants could contribute to bridging the productivity gap. In the past, the
government of Ethiopia has placed much emphasis on importing exotic genetics and
cross‐breeding with local stock as a strategy for genetic improvement. However, this
has not led to a significant productivity improvement and the programmes have generally
been unsustainable. Currently, there is a change in approach and a recognition
of the need to focus genetic improvement efforts on the local genetic resources that
are well adapted to the diverse agro‐ecologies and production environments in the
country. Community‐based breeding programmes (CBBPs), which focus on indigenous
stock and consider farmers’ needs, views, decisions and active participation,
from inception through to implementation, have been identified as programmes of
choice. The Ethiopian government and the private sector need to invest in strategic
areas around CBBPs to make the programme work for the poor and be sustainable in
low‐input systems.

Citation:
Aynalem Haile, Solomon Gizaw, Tesfaye Getachew, Joaquín Mueller, Peter Amer, Mourad Rekik, Barbara Rischkowsky. (30/9/2019). Community‐based breeding programmes are a viable solution for Ethiopian small ruminant genetic improvement but require public and private investments. Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics, 136 (5), pp. 319-328.
Keywords:
sheep and goats
breeding strategies
productivity challenges