TAAT Sheep Fattening Scaling Project - Technical Report
Jane Wamatu. (30/4/2019). TAAT Sheep Fattening Scaling Project - Technical Report.
The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), has been promoting the use of improved technologies and practices in sheep fattening by farmers in the Ethiopian highlands since 2014. Financial feasibility analysis of the fattening interventions in the highlands has shown that fattened rams accrue higher net profit compared to those fattened in a traditional way. Improved fattening practices using locally available feed resources are financially rewarding. However, there has been minimum progression by farmers towards commercial based fattening associated with clear production objectives and financial capacity. Therefore, this TAAT (Technologies for African Agriculture Transformation) project aimed to introduce entrepreneurial skills to sheep farmers. The approach of the project targeted youth as disseminators of improved and market-oriented sheep fattening technologies and practices. Four hundred and eighty-five youth, both male and female, across 3 sites in Ethiopia namely, Menz, Bonga and Doyogena were organised into 44 youth groups of 10-20 persons each and facilitated by the TAAT project to collectively coordinate to undertake sheep fattening. Youth groups were formed in 29 sub-villages, in 6 districts within 2 regional states of Amhara and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR). A start-up package comprising a fattening ram, salt-lick block, a feed and water trough was provided to each youth. Trainings on improved sheep fattening methods, entrepreneurial skills development and group management was provided to youth groups. To ensure sustainability of skills and knowledge, a training of trainers was also offered. Youth groups organised and managed field days at village level to disseminate improved fattening methods. This was supported by promotional material provided by the project. To provide mentorship, inspiration and leadership, a champion farmer was selected for each youth group. Additionally, the existing, well-established Community-based breeding Program (CBBP) cooperatives, a long-standing ICARDA-supported program, located at village level within the project sites were engaged as overseers of youth group activities. Sub-committees from the CBBP leaderships were formed for this purpose. To enhance an enabling environment where stakeholders and partners support youth issues through an inclusive approach of developing actionable ideas, knowledge and policies to promote innovations in sheep fattening, three Community of Practice teams were formed; one in each site. These comprise researchers, key sheep value-chain actors, Government experts and administrators. The project has initiated a process and environment to reinvigorate interest in collective sheep fattening by the youth. Youth groups are targeting the Easter festive season of 2019 to collectively market their fattened rams. Further mentoring of the youth groups will be key to foster successful agripreneuers.