Small ruminants are an important component of the Ethiopian mixed-farming systems. A key feature... mehr
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Small ruminants are an important component of the Ethiopian mixed-farming systems. A key feature of small ruminants in these systems is that they fulfil multiple roles, ranging from socio-cultural purposes to providing meat, milk and manure. Agro-climatic and socio-economic factors trigger off variations in small ruminant production systems; underestimating this diversity in sheep and goats management may hamper the identification of constraints and opportunities for sustainable development of the systems. Likewise, attempts to improve performance under the prevailing conditions must take into consideration their specific purpose in the production system and their performance potential under varying management levels. The assessment of the current productive and economic performance of small ruminants also provides baseline data against which the success of future interventions can be measured. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the productivity and the household income contribution of small-ruminant enterprises of smallholder farmers in two mixed-farming systems of southern Ethiopia (viz. Adilo and Kofele) and to identify possible options for future improvements. Adilo represents the most densely populated areas in Ethiopia while Kofele represents an area of the southern highlands populated at medium level. Kofele is an area with a relatively cool climate, food sufficiency and fairly high agricultural potential in terms of soil fertility and land availability and the farmers in the area keep more livestock than their counterparts in Adilo. Adilo, on the other hand, is an area characterized by land scarcity and food insufficiency. Both areas are prominent suppliers of small ruminants to the neighbouring big cities and Addis Ababa. The study was carried out following a step-wise approach. Understanding the existing situation of small ruminant production was dealt with a diagnostic survey (399 households) and group discussions in respective sites between April and July 2004. Detailed information on growth, reproductive and economic parameters was gathered through a one year long flock and household monitoring (155 households) between September 2005 and August 2006....
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