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small farm in ethiopiaThe volume of milk products being produced in Ethiopia has tripled in the last fifteen years with 14 million cattle and 3.8 million tonnes of milk each year. 63% is produced by rural smallholders, 22% by pastoralists and 14% by (peri-)urban dwellers. In fact, the government of Ethiopia plans on doubling their domestic milk production volume by the year 2020; thus increasing milk exports and decreasing imports from other nations. It is also predicted that the Ethiopian dairy sector is likely to surpass some of the world’s leading milk producers. [Alliance experts, practice brief DairyBISS].


Where are hotspots for potential expansion of the dairy production located?


Representative from the Ethiopian ministry of livestock and fisheries, extension officers, regional dairy experts from the four main milk producing regions in Ethiopia and scientific experts on agronomy, livestock and environmental informatics.


The two-day workshop started by storytelling by the four regional dairy experts on the amount of milk production, the number of cows, feed resources, dairy related available services (veterinary, advisory) and market opportunities. Then the scientific experts presented the draft suitability map that was produced during workshop preparation on which the participants discussed: what were correctly identified regions, which suitable regions were missing and why. Participants actively drew region boundaries on paper maps and prioritized driving factors for milk production specified per region. The region specific driving factors may enhance or limit milk production in that region.

resulting hotspot mapData

Pan-Ethiopian spatial data at a 30 x 30 meter resolution: temperature, air humidity and city accessibility.  Census data on current milk production for local versus improved breeds and cattle density. Socio-economic data in terms of population density and GDP density. Road network and urban areas.


The identified focus areas, together with the region specific circumstances are input for (regional) policy making for future dairy expansion.


The workshop was carried out in the context of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands  funded project entitled 'Dairy Business Information Service and Support project Ethiopia' (DairyBISS). DairyBISS stimulates private dairy sector development in Ethiopia, carried out by Wageningen UR Livestock Research and partners in Ethiopia and The Netherlands.