prof. dr. ir. Fievez Veerle
Development of smallholder dairy farming in the Tigray Region of Northern Ethiopia
In the Tigray region of Northern Ethiopia, the dairy sector is struggling to develop its potential. In collaboration with Mekelle University (ET), we are assessing the difficulties and opportunities aiming to develop novel approaches to improve local dairy productivity and quality of dairy products. Additionally, the research capacity at Mekelle University is strengthened by providing training possibilities in Flemish Universities and by support in obtaining modern equipment.
In many respects the dairy industry occupies a special position among the other sectors of third world agriculture. The vast majority of dairy farmers are small-scale producers, with a weak and vulnerable position on the market; the nature of the business (involving a high percentage of fixed costs) means that they are only able to adjust to market changes in a limited and gradual way. Nevertheless, milk is produced everyday and is a regular source of income to the numerous small producers. Aditionally, milk production is a highly labour-intensive production and therefore provides many employment opportunities, not only in the dairy farming business itself but also in the transport and processing of milk and in the agricultural supplies sector. Our support to the dairy industry contributes to the liveability of rural areas.