Guidelines for Setting up Community-based Sheep Breeding Programs in Ethiopia: Lessons and experiences for sheep breeding in low-input systems
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These guidelines are designed for all those involved in planning and implementing sheep breeding activities with resource-poor farmers in developing countries. This includes research centers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), farmers’ associations and livestock development projects, and government extension officials. The guidelines address the lack of generic direction on designing and implementing community-based breeding. Community-based breeding programs are proposed as an option for genetic improvement of livestock in developing countries. This new approach has been tested in a few places with promising results (e.g. with dairy goats in Mexico, llamas and alpacas in Bolivia and Peru). They draw on practical experiences from implementing community-based sheep breeding programs in four agro-ecological zones in Ethiopia and provide guidance for continuing and outscaling the breeding program in Ethiopia and for planning similar projects elsewhere. The breeding programs in Ethiopia have achieved important ouputs. For example, negative selection has been reverted as fast growing lambs are now being retained for breeding instead of ending up in markets. The acute shortage of breeding rams, observed previously in flocks of participating communities, has also been rectified as farmers are now fully aware of the importance of breeding males. Preliminary analysis of the recorded data indicates that the market outlet has increased through more births of lambs, bigger lambs at birth and weaning, and reduced mortality rates due to the combination of breeding with improved health care and feeding.
- ICARDA