Challenges in small ruminant breeding programs and resulting investment priorities in Ethiopia
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Aynalem Haile, Solomon Gizaw Assefa, Tesfaye Getachew, Barbara Rischkowsky. (16/2/2018). Challenges in small ruminant breeding programs and resulting investment priorities in Ethiopia. Auckland, New Zealand.
Ethiopia has a large small ruminants population and diversity, which contribute substantially to the livelihood and income of the rural poor and the country at large. However, the sector is faced with various challenges. Productivity per animal and flock off-take are very low. Reasons attributed for the apparent low productivity are: absence of well-planned/appropriate breeding programs, lack of technical capacity, inadequate and poor quality feeds, diseases leading to high lamb mortality, and underdeveloped markets in terms of infrastructure and market information. Furthermore, sheep and goats used to receive little policy or investment attention. Genetic improvement of small ruminants could contribute to reversing the productivity gap. In the past the government of Ethiopia has placed much emphasis on importing exotic genetics and crossbreeding with local stock as a strategy for genetic improvement. However, this has not led to a significant productivity improvement and the programs have generally been unsustainable. Currently, there is a change in approach and a recognition that there is value in building genetic improvement on the local genetic resources that are well adapted to the diverse agro ecologies and production environments in the country. Community-based breeding programs (CBBPs), which focus on indigenous stock and consider farmers’ needs, views, decisions, and active participation, from inception through to implementation, have been identified as a program of choice. The Ethiopian government and the private sector need to invest in strategic areas around CBBPs to make the program work for the poor and sustain in low input system. Keywords: sheep and goat, breeding programs, investment priorities
- Agricultural Research Knowledge 
Gizaw Assefa, Solomonhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-7489-062X