LIVES promotes selective livestock culling in Amhara to protect local breeds and farmers’ livelihoods


Livestock market in Bahir Dar town (Photo: ILRI Zeleke Mekuriaw) Livestock market in Bahir Dar during a holiday season (photo credit:ILRIZeleke Mekuriaw).

Ethiopia has one of largest livestock populations in Africa and the Amhara region has the second largest population of livestock in the country. Livestock, especially cattle, in Amhara region are kept not only for their meat and milk but also to supply draught power and as assets. Mostly, these animals are fed through traditional free grazing practices, which are now threatened by takeover of communal grazing lands by food crops farming and attempts to conserve soil and water in many degraded rangelands. Increasing human population and urbanization are also putting pressure on land forcing many smallholders to abandon traditional grazing. In many areas of Amhara region, cut-and-carry feeding systems now dominate.

Year-round short supply of feed is a significant challenge for livestock keepers in the region and even though controlled (cut-and–carry/zero grazing) feeding has various biological and economic benefits over free grazing, its need for additional labour for mowing…

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