The Ethiopian economy is mostly based on agriculture, with industry and services slightly increasing recently. The country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is US$ 84.36 billion in 2018 with a 6.8% annual change, placing Ethiopia among the fastest growing non-oil producing economies in Africa. The performance of the Ethiopian economy as a whole is highly correlated with the agricultural sector. Having a share of roughly 44% of GDP, agriculture employs approximately 80% of the workforce and accounts for 70% of export earnings (IGAD, 2013). The livestock subsector contributes nearly 20% of the total GDP and foreign exchange earnings of the country, and some 35 to 40% of agricultural GDP. With the rapidly growing population, increasing urbanization, and rising incomes, the domestic demand for meat, milk, and eggs is expected to increase significantly in the foreseeable future. Furthermore, the country’s foreign exchange from livestock products has seen an increase, especially by supplying red meat to the Gulf and within Africa, as well as by providing leather and other livestock product to Europe (Mohammed and Fatih, 2019).
Ethiopia has the largest livestock population in Africa and the fifth-largest in the world. The national herd, consisting of about 65.4 million cattle, 39.9 million sheep, 50.5 million goats,
7.7 million camels, and close to 49 million chiken, produces currently about 1,128 metric tons of meat, 174 million eggs, and 5.2 billion liters of milk per year (CSA, 2020). Besides, it provides about 68 million tons of organic fertilizer and almost 617 million days in animal traction (Shapiro et al., 2017). This huge animal resource, however, makes a disproportionately small contribution to national income, especially export income, and to national food production. Besides, the country has not experienced significant productivity gains in the livestock sector. Even though the country’s total meat production increased by 4.6%, with mutton and goat meat registering growth rates of 12 and 13% respectively, the growth is because of the increase in the slaughtered animals, but not from an in-crease in productivity. Milk yield averages 1.5 liters per day, which is about one-eighth of the milk yield for improved dairy breeds which can manage 9 liters per day per cow. Average yields are much lower compared with other countries in the region such as Kenya and Rwanda (3.6 kg per day) (World Bank, 2017). Similarly, there is a substantial productivity difference between local and improved poultry breeds. The local poultry breeds lay only 50 eggs per year, which is one-third the number laid by modern breeds. As a result of these low productivity levels, the livestock sector is characterized by relatively high greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit of product.
Average GHG emissions are 19 kg CO2 eq/kg milk among mixed crop-livestock systems in Ethiopia, against an average of 9kg CO2 eq/kg milk in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The key challenges that undermine the performance and potential of the livestock sectors include reduced availability and access to communal grazing and natural pasture; insufficient access to forage, forage seeds, and feed supply; poor animal health due to disease prevalence; and low livestock genetic make-up. Limited adoption of improved livestock practices and poor provision of livestock support services are major sources of low productivity levels. The public sector dominates livestock support service delivery, which is weak for animal health, breeding, feed, and extension services. Besides, the sector has a low commercial market off-take due to inadequate processing and marketing infrastructure. Most farmers do not participate in the livestock market and household livestock production is ultimately consumed with-in the household or sold on the local market.
The government seeks to scale up its investment and institutional support for the livestock sector. It is taking measures to address the challenges and overall weak performance of these sub-sectors, limited access to quality livestock services and markets, limited participation of the private sector, and instructional and policy gaps and challenges existing in the sector. It wishes to focus particularly on the subsistence level and smallholder farmers, where the maximum benefits can be obtained for the sector and its participants. Productivity improvements can have a substantial impact on farmer incomes and thus on poverty reduction. Improvements in quality can increase the potential to build value chains in the processing sector, contributing to the country’s broader aims of industrialization as well as export earnings.
Increasing investment for livestock development, reduction of the role of the state in production and trade as well as the encouragement of the private sector are some of the measures to be undertaken. The government promises that a greater share of budgetary and human resources will be devoted to the rehabilitation and expansion of the sector. Besides, the government encouraging professionals in the field of agriculture to enter into the livestock business and simultaneously insisted the higher institutes to revise their curriculum.
Animal Sciences program is crucial to produce professionals, scientists and experts that can educate, do research and transfer technologies for solving animal production constraints including feed related issues, poor animal genetic resources, and animal health problems. The contribution of the program is for education sectors, livestock research institutes, Ministry of Agriculture, governmental and non-governmental organizations, private sectors and industries.
The department has a venerable vision to have proven competence in animal science training, research and extension by producing highly competent and skilled professionals in the areas of livestock sector and conducting multidisciplinary research which is innovative, result oriented and demand driven.
Its mission is to offer training of high caliber, practically oriented, competent and responsive professionals in the fields of animal sciences with integrated, applied and problem-solving research and extension services.
The program is aimed at producing qualified and competent professionals in the field of animal sciences for the nation and beyond. It is also aimed to cultivate research oriented and competent professionals for research center, Universities, Colleges, Ministry of Agriculture, other governmental and non-governmental organizations as well as self-employed entrepreneurs.
The specific objectives of the program are:
- To produce competent animal sciences professionals who could serve as experts and entrepreneurs.
- To produce professionals who carry out extension activities in animal sciences
- To produce professionals who participate in animal sciences research activities
- To develop professionals with positive attitude to rural development including responsibility, dedication, hard work, accuracy and team work.
- To produce professionals who can give consultative services to solve problem of animal sciences for various community groups.
- To produce professionals who have technical innovation in animal sciences development.
- To produce innovative graduates with good professional ethics and responsibility to work towards national development goals.
Academic rank :LAB ASSISTANT