By Ayele Addis Ambelu ; +251918718307 : ayeleradio@ayele-addis

scaling up agricultural production, improving nutrition security, developing new enterprise and market opportunities for farmers, strengthening community-

based seed production and building climate resilience are all critical areas of Self Help Africa’s work in Ethiopia.

Last year, the organization implemented nearly a dozen development projects in collaboration with local and international partners.

A collaboration with SOS Sahel, Farm Africa, and VITA, this CSA project started in June 2015. The project builds the resilience of individuals, households, and communities to climate extremes by improving and diversifying livelihoods; developing community-based management systems of resources such as water, farmlands, communal land, and forests; and embedding location-specific climate change adaptation and mitigation into its development initiative.

In the Oromia region of southwestern Ethiopia, 75% of the population lives in poverty. Chronic and acute malnutrition is highly prevalent, and 38.4% of children under five are stunted. Despite being Ethiopia’s most giant milk-producing region, average yields in Oromia remain far below potential. Insufficient inputs, use of poor animal feeding and farming practices, and poor access to markets are hampering the potential of the dairy value chain. Addressing these challenges will revitalize the dairy sector’s potential to improve the livelihoods of smallholder communities in the area.
The MORE: DAIRY – Dairy for Development program focuses on boosting rural livelihoods and nutrition by enhancing production techniques, strengthening value chains, and improving the genetics of dairy cows. The project is designed to build the skills and knowledge
of farmers and local government on commercial dairy production, enhance the genetics of local dairy herds, and facilitate access to the market for dairy products.
In order to improve the productivity of dairy cows, 600 producers are being trained on improved breeding management practices and herd health management. The government’s district nursery is also being supported to produce improved fodder to increase access for producers. The government’s Artificial Insemination (AI) service is being strengthened through training AI technicians and equipment provision. Six hundred producers can now access AI to improve the genetics of their hearing.
The organizational and operational capacity of three dairy cooperatives is being increased through the provision of equipment and training in milk hygiene testing and processing, facilitation of links with local processors and buyers, and training in marketing, business plan development, financial management, and cooperative management. Value chain actors are also receiving gender training to address women’s barriers to participating in the value chain.

The project also aims to improve nutrition at the household and community level. Six hundred producers are being trained in milk utilization and primary nutrition education, focusing on infant and young child feeding practices. To promote the nutritional benefits of milk and a diverse diet, 50 care group leaders are being trained in the basics of nutrition, including the importance of dietary diversity, and the consumption of dairy products for nutritional benefits, with a specific focus on infant and young child feeding practices. Practical demonstrations are also being delivered to train participants on cooking local foods using different local recipes.
Revitalizing the dairy sector in Ethiopia has the potential to significantly impact the income, food, and nutrition security of smallholder communities.

Ethiopia has one of the lowest levels of financial inclusion in the world, with only 22% of adults holding an account with a financial institution and just 14% able to access credit. This is because the financial sector is dominated by commercial banking, and the coverage of these financial services is still minimal and concentrated in urban areas. Most rural and remote areas of the country remain excluded or unbanked.

Savings and Credit Cooperatives have better outreach in rural parts of the country than commercial banks, with more potential to serve the low-income and active poor, unbanked sections of the population.