Ethiopia eyes modernizing livestock sector amid drought

Ethiopia eyes modernizing livestock sector amid drought

ADDIS ABABA, May 31 (Xinhua) — Ethiopia needs to modernize its livestock sector so as to reduce the devastating impacts of back to back drought incidents that hit the country since 2015, members of the Ethiopian parliament advised.

Ethiopia is home to one of the largest livestock populations in Africa. Figures from the Ethiopian government indicated that the East African country is endowed with approximately 50 million heads of cattle, and 50 million goats and sheep.

While the livestock sector is an important sub-sector within the country’s economy in terms of its contributions to national GDP, recent drought incidents have wrecked havoc on Ethiopia’s cattle population.

Members of the Ethiopian parliament, reviewing country’s livestock and fishery sector on Wednesday, asserted that the loss of cattle lives particularly in drought-hit semi-arid and pastoralist communities needs immediate attention.

Mohamed Yesuf, Ethiopian Parliament’s pastoralists’ affairs standing committee head, stressed that improving integrated efforts in modernizing the livestock sector is undoubtedly an important mechanism to minimize the effects of drought and other natural disasters on cattle lives.

According to Yesuf, Ethiopia’s traditional and subsistence cattle rearing method is the major factor that attributed to the loss of cattle lives, as it put communities vulnerable to water shortage during drought.

National Disaster and Risk Management Commission of Ethiopia previously announced that the current drought has imposed serious challenges on the country’s cattle population.

The Ethiopian government has crafted a national Livestock Master Plan (LMP), which intends to transform the sector and increase production and exports of meat in order to generate foreign exchange.