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Publication | 15 June 2021

Assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on dairy cattle farming in Ethiopia

Global Food and Nutrition Security

The purpose of this report is to document the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on dairy cattle farming in Ethiopia and draw recommendations for enhancing dairy farming and the dairy sector’s resilience to such pandemics and other market shocks. It presents the results of a rapid survey of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on smallholder and medium-scale dairy cattle farmers in Ethiopia during the period between 5 September and 11 October 2020. A total of 1,815 farmers who are part of the African Dairy Genetics Gains (ADGG) program from five regions of Ethiopia, and one city administration participated in the study. Majority of the respondents reported that dairy farming input supply and service provision such as feed, veterinary services, animal vaccines, artificial insemination, and daily hired labour had all decreased during the pandemic. More than half (60%) of the respondents reported a decrease in the total volume of milk produced per household, which was linked to the shortage of feed and other services. Forty-six percent of the respondents reported selling milk at a lower price compared to periods before the pandemic. Decreasing demand for milk by direct consumers, cooperatives and processors is one potential reason for the lower milk sales price. Thus, all service providers and input suppliers (both government and private sector) working in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture are important in safeguarding farmers from shocks which result from man-made or natural disasters such as those brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, supporting dairy cooperatives and processors to produce at full capacity and linking dairy farmers to microfinance providers so they can access credit will ensure sustained profitability of their dairy farms.