CRP 3.7 News

Tanzania milk traders identify business strengths and weaknesses

Group discussions

Tanzania milk traders during the assessment (photo credit: ILRI/Mercy Becon).

A recent business opportunity seminar facilitated by the MoreMilkiT project in Morogoro reviewed the progress of 25 Tanzanian milk traders in growing their milk businesses.

Traders from five districts—Kilosa and Mvomero in Morogoro region; and Handeni, Lushoto and Bumbuli in Tanga region—participated in the 28-30 June 2016 meeting in Morogoro town. The seminar reviewed their progress since they were trained in December 2015 on developing individual business plans and subsequently coached and mentored individually by the project team.

To measure their progress, a Trader Assessment Tool (TAT) was used to track the financial health of their businesses, their relationships/linkages with milk producers and service providers, and the quality of the milk they produce and how they market it. Each trader’s business was scored against these dimensions to provide a basis for troubleshooting. Agricultural experts working with the local government in the five districts were also trained on the use of the TAT tool so that they can better offer support to the milk traders to ensure these dairy businesses are sustainable.

Each milk trader was interviewed in the process of filling the TAT, which captured business performance information since the first training. Revenues, costs, milk purchase agreements, feeds and feeding linkages were evaluated and scored in five stages from 1 to 5, with 5 being the most advanced. The data was presented in tables, bar charts and eventually linked to a hexagon that was used to advise producers on areas to improve. Some businesses had maintained good relationships with producers and were selling high quality milk but their financial health was poor. An evaluation of Mary Tesha’s milk café, for example, showed that her business profits were the same as the previous year because she was depending on the same suppliers and customers. Her business scored four points but she was advised to increase the volume of milk sold and diversify her market in order to make her business more dynamic.

At the event, Lusato Kurwijila from Sokoine University of Agriculture, one of the key partners in the project, demonstrated the functions of the Mazzican, a milk handling equipment designed to help in checking mastitis, reducing spillage and easing milk collection and transportation. He said some local businessmen might be interested in importing the containers, which are expected to cost less and are lighter than the heavy aluminium milk cans currently used by the milk traders.

Traders said the seminar enabled them to learn from each other and opened their eyes to new practices. ‘I have seen the importance of keeping good business records and I have been challenged by one milk trader’s neat records,’ said Philemon Okeshu, a male trader from Morogoro. Elizabeth Philipo, a female trader, said the seminar and previous training have empowered her to effectively manage her business costs and to make more profit from milk sales.

The MoreMilkiT project is funded by Irish Aid, and is led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). It is implemented in partnership with Faida MaLi, Sokoine University of Agriculture and Tanzania Dairy Board. It is testing interventions aimed at enabling pre-commercial dairy farmers in Morogoro and Tanga to become more commercial through participation in dairy market hubs, where they can access inputs and services. The project is contributing to improved nutrition, income and food security of smallholder milk producing households in the country.

Filed under: Capacity Development, Capacity Strengthening, CRP37, Dairying, East Africa, LGI, Livestock-Fish, Markets, PTVC, Southern Africa, Tanzania

Brachiaria breakthrough: CIAT scientists home-in on apomixis

Since the late 1980s, CIAT scientists led by John Miles have been breeding Brachiaria with the goal of developing superior apomictic hybrids for the tropical forage market. Brachiaria has a number of advantages over other forage grasses: highly nutritious, it can help farmers increase the productivity of their cattle, while also capturing carbon dioxide and restoring poor soils – particularly when used in silvopastoral systems.

Steady advances to improve brachiaria have been made over the years using classical breeding methods. Recently, however, CIAT forage breeder Margaret Worthington has been looking to accelerate these gains through modern molecular breeding strategies.

Read the full story

Filed under: Animal Feeding, Cattle, CGIAR, CIAT, CRP37, Feeds, Forages, Livestock, Research

Tanzania livestock development plan to boost dairy farmers’ incomes

Selling milk by the road in Tanzania

Small scale milk traders in Tanzania

Contributing nearly 30% of the livestock sector GDP, Tanzania’s dairy industry is one of the most important and fastest growing sectors in the country’s economy and it plays a key role in alleviating poverty and food insecurity.

A recent study analysed how dairy sector players are likely to benefit from interventions proposed in the Tanzania livestock modernization initiative (TLMI). A paper from the study, ‘Production and consumption responses to policy interventions in Tanzania’s dairy industry’, shows that the country’s dairy farmers and their families, consumers and other actors in the milk value chain will get significant economic and nutritional benefits from the implementation of the TLMI.

According to the author, Edgar Twine, a value chain economist working with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Tanzania, the proposed measures will address milk supply constraints and significantly enhance the country’s dairy industry. Milk producers will gain more than one billion shillings (USD 500,000) annually from implementation of three key interventions— improved access to inputs, increase in the national dairy herd and better industry regulation. These measures will lead to an increase in milk supply, better milk prices for farmers and increased consumption of milk across the country.

The Tanzania government launched the livestock modernization initiative in 2015 with support from the Royal Danish Embassy and ILRI. The initiative seeks to harmonize dairy production with other government policies and programs such as the National Livestock Policy to improve the welfare of milk producers, consumers and other agents involved in the dairy value chain. Providing appropriate technologies, institutions and business models that encourage greater investment in the industry are key goals of the plan.

Using a basic partial equilibrium model that was simulated over a 14-year period, the paper provides information to enable setting of appropriate targets for growth of the industry. The author also gives details on how the interventions are expected to increase annual per capita milk consumption from the current 45 to 200 litres to meet the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ recommendation for milk consumption in Tanzania. ‘If the simulated interventions are implemented simultaneously to a reasonable degree, says Twine, ‘per capita milk consumption will rise to the recommended level in about two decades.’


Filed under: Animal Products, CRP37, Dairying, East Africa, ILRI, Livestock, PTVC, Report, Research, Southern Africa, Tanzania, Value Chains

Livestock and Fish research contributes to Livestock Development Strategy for Africa

Crossbred dairy cow in Rwanda

Earlier this month, on 14 Jun 2016, staff of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) helped organize a side event during the 7th Africa Agriculture Science Week on ‘How research is contributing to Livestock Development Strategy for Africa (LiDESA)’.

The side event showcased contributions by projects under the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish and their local partners in four East and Southern Africa countries (Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Swaziland) to the LiDESA objectives, which include:

  • Attracting public and private investments along the different livestock values chains
  • Enhancing animal health and increasing the production, productivity and resilience of livestock systems
  • Enhancing innovation, generation and utilization of technologies, capacities and entrepreneurship skills of livestock value chain actors
  • Enhancing access to livestock markets, services and value addition

Four livestock-source foods—milk, pork, beef and chicken—are now worth over USD600 billion globally, making them among the world’s top six agricultural commodities in terms of value. This value continues, growing rapidly due to rising demand in developing countries, now accounts for about 40% of agricultural gross domestic product (GDP) globally, often much more in developing countries. By 2050, milk consumption is likely to triple in East Africa, while consumption of monogastric foods (pork, poultry meat and eggs) will increase at least four-fold.

Replacing Africa’s current 90% of locally produced livestock commodities with imports from outside Africa is unfeasible and unaffordable. Among the challenges facing Africa’s livestock sector are deficiencies of one kind or another in the following areas:

  • livestock breeds, productivity, health systems, disease control
  • land, feed and water resources and measures to reduce environmental harm
  • input supplies and service delivery for animal agriculture
  • livestock value addition
  • livestock market information and market infrastructure
  • competitiveness of African livestock products
  • meeting sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards
  • policy, legislative and institutional frameworks impinging on the livestock sector
  • capacity in livestock research and development

Given Africa’s natural endowments of land, water and pasture resources, most of which remain under-utilized and under-developed, Africa’s livestock sector can overcome these challenges to meet the continent’s growing demand for meat, milk and eggs while spurring growth and socio-economic transformation, as envisioned in the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods, which was adopted by the AU Assembly in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, in Jun 2014. Greater private and public investments in livestock inputs, services and markets can significantly raise the generally low productivity levels of Africa livestock, most of which are still raised extensively on natural pasture.

The African Union Commission, through the African Union–InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), recently led multi-stakeholder consultations and conducted comprehensive assessments of the livestock sector, including in-depth situation analyses of all five of Africa’s sub-regions. The products of these processes were used to formulate a 50-year Livestock Development Strategy for Africa (LiDESA), with the goal ‘to transform the African livestock sector for enhanced contribution to socio-economic development and equitable growth’.

Five continental agencies that can help meet the LiDESA objectives are AU-IBAR, which is championing the LiDESA strategy in line with its role to support and coordinate livestock use; the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), which is responsible for coordinating and advocating agricultural research-for-development; and three CGIAR centres—ILRI, which works for better lives through livestock; the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), which promotes sustainable livestock development in the dry areas; and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), which works to improve tropical forages for better livestock feeding.

Discussions at this AASW7 side event by these pan-African livestock R&D organizations (AU-IBAR and FARA, ILRI, ICARDA and CIAT) and the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), which implements Rwanda’s national policy on agriculture and animal husbandry to deliver research and extension services, capacity development and partnerships—focused on how the national and international agricultural research systems could collaborate better.

A wrap-up session summarized the following key gaps and opportunities.

(1) Partnerships are key to achieve our goals and have impact on the ground. National partners should be involved in strategic aspects of projects and programs right from the inception phase so that they are part and parcel of the strategic agenda rather than looped in only at the implementation phases of the work, as is currently common.

(2) Science alone is not enough to bring about the transformational change we envisage. We need to strengthen country systems, particularly implementation by line ministries.

(3) Livestock research should also address the environmental footprints associated with livestock production, such as greenhouse gas emissions.

(4) Research on regional livestock trade issues, which are often ignored, should be strengthened because these aspects are important in resolving non-tariff barriers that hinder regional and cross-border trade.

The plenary recommended that:

  • LiDESA set up a platform for stakeholders from the 54 member states
  • FARA backstop the platform as a key science partner and work with the platform to make a case for larger investments in the livestock sector
  • FARA strengthen its livestock agenda and raise the visibility of this agenda within FARA-organized events
  • The relevance of livestock research be validated to ensure it is driven by the needs of target communities and their objectives.


View posters from this event:

Engaging with partners in R4D to enhance animal health in smallholder pig value chain in Uganda

Small ruminant value chain development in Ethiopia

Piloting innovation and market linkages to transform smallholder dairy value chains in Tanzania

Community-based breeding programs: Attractive and innovative approach to changing the lives of smallholders in low input systems

Filed under: Africa, CGIAR, CRP37, East Africa, Ethiopia, ILRI, Livestock, Research, Southern Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Value Chains

Selecting forages for the tropics with the the SoFT tool

Thus, the need for information on forages for specific climates, soil types, farming systems, and animals is enormously important to mitigate feed shortages and improve natural resource management.

Established in 2005, the selection of Forages for the Tropics (SoFT) tool enables users to identify forage species suitable for specific climates, soils, and farming systems such as cut and carry, agroforestry, erosion control, beef, and dairy. Users can also view images of the plants and their use, search a database of scientific references with abstracts, and consult a glossary of botanical and management terms.

Read the full blog post by CIAT’s Megan Zandstra

See also information on related FEAST and Techfit tools

Filed under: Animal Feeding, CIAT, CRP37, Feeds, Forages, Livestock, Research

Livestock and livelihoods: boosting incomes and productivity in South Asia

Livestock provides an important complement to cereal farming-based livelihoods in South Asia and can increase incomes for millions of crop-livestock farmers.

With other Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) partners, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has been helping crop-livestock farmers to boost income and milk production by increasing the availability of fodder, promoting efficient use of cereal residues and improving the quality of supplementary feeds in India, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Read the full blog post by ILRI’s Lucy Lapar


Filed under: Animal Feeding, Asia, Bangladesh, Cattle, Crop-Livestock, CRP37, Dairying, Feeds, ILRI, India, LGI, Livestock, Nepal, Research, South Asia

What’s the beef? Giving livestock a break in Colombia

Cows are regularly portrayed as evil: four-legged, four-stomached, greenhouse gas machines chomping through forests and destroying the planet.

It’s no wonder the idea of a climate-smart livestock system sounds like an oxymoron.

Nevertheless, you can get a glimpse of these systems in Colombia’s mountainous, Cauca Department. Patía is also a microcosm of Colombia’s livestock conundrum. With around 23 million beasts, the country has as many cattle as Australia has people, grazing an area the size of Germany. At an average of one animal to 1.4 hectares, it’s lot of land for not much cow.

It’s also the recipe for environmental calamity. Land degradation due to livestock production is widespread, forests have been cut down to make way for new grazing areas, and livestock are responsible for nearly all of the country’s agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

But somewhere like Patía, there are few other options.

Read the full article by CIAT’s Neil Palmer

Filed under: Animal Feeding, Cattle, CGIAR, CIAT, Climate Change, CRP37, CRP7, Feeds, Forages, Intensification, Livestock, Research, South America, Systems Analysis, Targeting

Prioritizing climate-smart livestock interventions in Africa

Around the world, there is a pressing need for wide-scale innovation leading to development that improves the livelihoods and food security of the world’s population while at the same time addressing climate change adaptation and mitigation. While there are various promising climate-smart interventions, prioritizing them is a challenge.

In this paper, the authors provide a generic framework for evaluating and prioritizing potential interventions comprising the mapping of recommendation domains, assessing adoption potential and estimating impacts. Through examples related to livestock production in sub-Saharan Africa, they demonstrate each of the steps and how they are interlinked. The framework is applicable in many different forms, scales and settings. It has a wide applicability in planning for climate-smart agriculture, which invariably involves multi-stakeholder, multi-scale and multi-objective decision-making.

Read the open access article:

Notenbaert, An., Pfeifer, Catherine., Silvestri, Silvia and Herrero, Mario. 2016. Targeting, out-scaling and prioritising climate-smart interventions in agricultural systems: Lessons from applying a generic framework to the livestock sector in sub-Saharan Africa. Agricultural Systems.

The article resulted from the CLEANED project to develop a ‘Comprehensive Livestock Environment Assessment for Improved Nutrition, a Secured Environment and Sustainable Development along Livestock Value Chains.’ The project was financed by the Bill & Melinda gates Foundation.

Filed under: Africa, CGIAR, CIAT, Climate Change, CRP37, Environment, Impact Assessment, Livestock, LSE, Systems Analysis, Targeting, Value Chains

Effects of White Spot Disease and biosecurity on shrimp farming in Bangladesh

Shrimp culture is of central importance in Bangladesh, shrimp being the cash component of many smallholder, polyculture fish farming systems. Shrimp also contributes substantial income through exports. However, production remains low compared with other countries for a number of reasons, including low availability of good quality post larvae (PL) seed stock, lack of credit facilities, and disease problems.

Ensuring access to white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) free PL combined with the implementation of best management practices at farm level will help reduce disease risk and stimulate investment, leading to improved shrimp production and improved farmer livelihoods, as argued in this paper by the WorldFish aquaculture science team in Bangladesh.

Download the open access article

Debnath, P.P., Karim, M., Keus, H.J., Mohan, C.V. and Belton, B. 2016. Effects of white spot disease and bio-security on shrimp farming in Bangladesh. Fish Pathology 51:S60-S65.


Filed under: Animal Diseases, Animal Health, Aquaculture, Asia, Bangladesh, CRP37, Research, South Asia, WorldFish

Changes to Livestock and Fish flagship leadership

In May 2016, the program made some changes to flagship leadership:

  • Karen Marshall (ILRI) has taken up the leadership of the Animal Genetics flagship, replacing John Benzie from WorldFish given his major role in developing the 2nd phase of the Fish CRP.
  • Isabelle Baltenweck (ILRI) is assuming leadership of the Value Chain Transformation and Scaling flagship replacing Acho Okike who leaves ILRI later this year.

I want to thank John and Acho for their contributions to shaping and implementing their flagships, and welcome Karen and Isabelle (brief biographic information is provided below).

photo credit: Genevieve Audet-Belanger

Marshall is senior scientist in the Animal Biosciences team at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

She has close to 10 years’ experience with the CGIAR, working on issues related to animal genetic resource use in developing countries, from upstream applications such as characterizing the genomics of disease resistance, to applied applications such as comparing different livestock breed-types in terms of cost:benefit to their keepers.

Her work has covered a range of species (cattle, sheep, goat, pigs, camel), production systems (from intensifying to pastoral / agro-pastoral), and geographical locations (both within sub-Saharan Africa and Asia). Prior to joining ILRI Karen was a senior lecturer in Animal Genetics and Breeding at the University of New England.

photo credit: Genevieve Audet-Belanger

Isabelle Baltenweck is program leader of the livelihoods, gender and impact program at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

An agricultural economist, she has fifteen years of post-doctoral experience in various aspects of smallholder livestock farming in Africa, South and South-East Asia, working on innovative institutional mechanisms to enhance farm level competitiveness in inclusive value chain development initiatives. Most of her work has a strong focus on gender.

In the current Livestock and Fish program, she coordinates activities on nutrition and value chain upgrading. She has a PhD in Development Economics from the Université d’Auvergne, an MSc in Development Economics from the Université d’Auvergne and a First Degree in Economics (“DEUG”) from the Université de Strasbourg.

Filed under: ABS, CRP37, Genetics, ILRI, LGI, Livestock, Research, Value Chains

Towards a toolkit to analyse livestock and fish value chains

The CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish has been operational since January 2012. It seeks to improve the diets of poor people for healthy productive lives, and sustainably increase the productivity of small and medium-scale livestock and fish producers for food secure futures.

The program has implemented several approaches across different sites in nine countries, including in-depth analysis of livestock and fish value chains. Among the approaches is use of tools designed and developed to systematically collect information from different actors at different levels in the value chains. Over the past five years, several tools for value chain assessment have been produced, covering different aspects of assessment including gender issues.

 Note card

Livestock and Fish value chains are unique and have distinct features. For instance, the products, such as milk and meat, are of higher value and in some cases are bulky and highly perishable. Also, delivery of some inputs and services such as animal health service is costly. In addition, at the livestock keepers’ level, livestock are predominantly multi-functional, often kept not only to produce milk or meat for home consumption and sale, but also to produce manure for fertilizing croplands, to pull ploughs and are also considered a major capital assets. For this reason, livestock keepers’ decisions in terms of type and level of participation in a value chain is influenced by many factors.

The uniqueness of the livestock and fish value chains compared to other value chains makes it paramount for researchers and development practitioners to use highly targeted tools, specialized and tailored to guide research and development interventions.

While all the value chain assessment tools developed and used in the course of the Livestock and Fish program implementation have been availed in an online working space, there was a need to document, organize and describe how to use these tools.

From 18–20 May 2016, a small group of researchers from the International livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and WorldFish working in the Livestock and Fish program participated in a writeshop to consolidate all the different value chain tools produced and used over the past four years into one comprehensive value chain analysis toolkit.

The objective is to produce a well-organized set of tools that can be used to identify ‘best bet’ interventions that improve the effectiveness, efficiency and inclusiveness of livestock and fish value chains – that can be adopted by other practitioners in agricultural research for development.

The writeshop was preceded by a survey to identify their experiences of the users currently using these tools including information on how they are mostly used and suggestions for improvement. Among other suggestions, most users asked for a short, succinct toolkit that is easier to use, to increase chances of its adoption.

The toolkit will detail four main implementation stages to follow when carrying out analysis of livestock and fish value chains, moving from tools for broad characterization at national level to more detailed and focused tools. The tools in the last stage will include information on ‘best bet’ monitoring, evaluation and learning.

Filed under: CRP37, ILRI, LGI, Livestock-Fish, Research, Value Chains, WorldFish

WorldFish feed experiments to increase nutritional value of tilapia

WorldFish scientists will begin to experiment with feed ingredients that can increase the nutritional value of tilapia as part of a new project.

AquaLINC, funded with the financial support of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany, aims to increase supplies of fish that are more affordable and have a higher nutritional content for consumers in Egypt and Bangladesh. Implemented by WorldFish, the project will focus on developing production models for tilapia that meet the demands of resource poor consumers and are profitable for producers and retailers.

More information

Filed under: Animal Feeding, Aquaculture, Bangladesh, CRP37, Egypt, Feeds, Fish, Research, WorldFish

Assessing chemical and biological product use in aquaculture in Bangladesh

An assessment was made of the current chemical use practices in the aquaculture sector of Bangladesh and the factors that influence them.

The study shows that, despite rapid expansion of commercial aquaculture in Bangladesh, use of chemical and biological products is still relatively low compared to other aquaculture producing countries in Asia.

However, despite this finding, the study identified a large number of compounds that are currently in use, and that require further regulation and evaluation regarding their potential environmental and human health impacts, as already done in most developed countries.

Download the article: Ali, H., Rico, A., Murshed-e-Jahan, K. and Belton, B. 2016. An assessment of chemical and biological product use in aquaculture in Bangladesh. Aquaculture 454: 199–209.


Filed under: Aquaculture, Asia, Bangladesh, CRP37, Fish, Research, South Asia, Value Chains, WorldFish

Dairy platform tackles sector problems in Tanzania’s Tanga region

The Tanga Dairy Platform, created in 2008, is an informal forum of different stakeholders involved in the dairy industry of Tanzania’s Northeastern Tanga region. The platform’s objective is to exchange knowledge and develop joint actions to common problems.

According to the authors of this article, it is now a sustainable example of a commodity association addressing the joint problems of the region’s dairy industry. The platform has achieved a common understanding among chain actors on dairy price structure; it has successfully lobbied policy makers to reduce value-added tax on dairy inputs and products, and to remove limitations on urban dairy farming in Tanga city.

Download the open access article:
Cadilhon, J.J., Ngoc Diep Pham and Maass, B.L. 2016. The Tanga Dairy Platform: Fostering innovations for more efficient dairy chain coordination in Tanzania. International Journal on Food System Dynamics 7(2):81-91.

An associated teaching case can also be downloaded for people interested in the sustainability of such multi-stakeholder platforms.

Related items:

Paul, B.K., Maass, B.L., Wassena, F., Omore, A.O. and Bwana, G. 2015. Dairy development in Tanzania with local innovation platforms: When and how can they be useful? ILRI Research Brief 54. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI.

Omore, A.O., Bwana, G. and Ballantyne, P.G. 2015. Transforming smallholder dairy value chains in Tanzania through innovation and market linkages. ILRI Policy Brief 19. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI.



Filed under: Animal Products, Cattle, CRP37, Dairying, East Africa, ILRI, Innovation Systems, Livestock, PTVC, Research, Southern Africa, Tanzania, Value Chains

Practical guides to recognise African Swine fever

The smallholder pg value chain project in Uganda recently produced two posters – for farmers and for butchers – giving information on how to recognise African Swine fever (ASF).

Kramer, S., Dione, M. and Wieland, B. 2015. Recognising African swine fever: A guide for pig farmers. Poster. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI.

Kramer, S., Wieland, B. and Dione, M. 2015. Recognising African swine fever: A guide for pork butchers. Poster. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI.


Filed under: Agri-Health, Animal Diseases, Animal Health, ASF, ASSP, Capacity Development, CRP37, East Africa, Extension, Food Safety, ILRI, Pigs, Research, Uganda, Value Chains

Tanzania Dairy Board and partners review Dairy Development Forum communication activities

Group Photo

Tanzania Dairy Board communication workshop participants.

The Tanzania Dairy board (TDB) and partners recently reviewed progress in communicating the activities of the Dairy Development Forum (DDF) across the country.

In a communication review workshop held in Dar es Salaam on 28-29 March 2016, 16 staff and partners of the TDB, expressed the need to revamp TDB’s communication strategy following a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis, and agreed on an action plan to guide implementation of TDB communication activities in the coming year.

The action plan will address among other priorities increasing capacity for resource mobilization, and creating a robust database for an information management system.

The Dairy Development Forum (DDF) is the national platform where value chain actors including producers, traders, input suppliers, extension workers, service providers and processors meet annually to network, exchange information, discuss problems facing the sector, and come up with solutions to those problems.

TDB is the secretariat of the DDF and in this role coordinates the platform, which was set up with the support of the Irish Aid-funded MoreMilkiT project that is being led by ILRI in the country. Improving communications among DDF members is considered crucial to the realization of a vibrant dairy sector and attracting more investments to transform it as envisaged in the Maziwa Zaidi Theory of Change. TDB now pays the main role in efforts to strengthen the DDF and this is expected to continue after the end of the MoreMilkiT project. . The DDF has provided TDB with additional ammunition to mobilize, coordinate and promote the dairy sector in line with TDB’s statutory role in the Dairy Industry Act of Tanzania . The MoreMilkiT project is also working with other partners including Heifer International, Sokoine University of Agriculture and Faida MaLi to test interventions aimed at promoting commercialization of dairying among marginalized cattle producers in Tanga and Morogoro.

Some of the key outputs discussed at the meeting were a new TDB website which will include information on the Dairy Development Forum (DDF), a resource mobilization strategy to guide fundraising activities of the board and a dairy value chain partners’ information database that will be set up in the second half of 2016.

The meeting was facilitated by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and was attended by representatives from Tanzania Milk Processors’ Association (TAMPA), Heifer International and Tanzania Milk Producers Association (TAMPRODA).

This was a follow up to an earlier workshop in May 2014.

Read a related story

Filed under: Communications, CRP37, Dairying, East Africa, ILRIComms, Livestock-Fish, Southern Africa, Tanzania

Review of sheep crossbreeding in Ethiopia

The objective of this paper is to examine whether or not sheep crossbreeding is a feasible option to improve indigenous sheep breeds in developing countries using Ethiopian case as example.

The paper reviewed and discussed the history of exotic breed introduction, research, and development efforts in crossbreeding and performance of crossbreds under on-station and on-farm management.

Earlier, in Ethiopia, the choice of breed for crossbreeding overlooked interests and preferences of farmers mainly for physical appearance. More recently the introduction of Awassi sheep considered their preference. Performance evaluation results from the on-station and on-farm (mainly based on Awassi pilot crossbreeding villages) showed that crossbreds often outperformed their local contemporaries. Thus comparisons of pure local sheep and crossbreds among those breeds produced in some areas indicated a good outcome of this type of crossbreeding. However, the performance of crossbred sheep varied by location and depended on management and exotic inheritance levels. For most programs, no comprehensive data were available to do on-farm comparisons of herd productivity and cost-benefits or to evaluate the sustainability of the programs.

Regardless of location, farmers participating in crossbreeding often showed keen interest in crossbreeding, mainly due to the fast growth, larger body size of crossbreds resulting in higher market prices as compared to their local sheep breeds. Ram multiplication and dissemination from the government farms were found inefficient. The predominant practice of a ubiquitous dissemination and selling of breeding rams to individual farmer dilute the efforts of crossbreeding and prevents generating the benefits expected from crossbreeding programs. Furthermore, indiscriminate crossbreeding without prior analysis of suitability of crossbreds for a given production environment and without clear breeding objectives presents a potential threat to better adapted indigenous breeds.

Crossbreeding programs require strong research and development support from public service and non-governmental institutions for sustainable design, optimization, and implementation in clearly defined production environments.

View the open access article:

Getachew, T., Haile, A., Wurzinger, M., Rischkowsky, B., Gizaw, S., Abebe, A. and Sölkner, J. 2016. Review of sheep crossbreeding based on exotic sires and among indigenous breeds in the tropics: An Ethiopian perspective. African Journal of Agricultural Research 11(11):901-911.

Filed under: Animal Breeding, Article, ASSP, CRP37, East Africa, Ethiopia, Genetics, ICARDA, ILRI, Indigenous breeds, Livestock, Research, Sheep, Small Ruminants, Value Chains

WorldFish aquaculture project increased profitability of farms in Eypt

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)-funded Improving Employment and Income through Development of Egypt’s Aquaculture Sector (IEIDEAS) project was implemented by WorldFish in partnership with CARE Egypt and the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation from 2011 to 2014 and later extended to November 2015.

In 2015, the project team focused on assessing the quantitative impacts of the IEIDEAS project through three field-based surveys: a best management practice adoption survey to determine whether fish farmers had applied the recommended practices, a fish farm and farmer impact assessment survey, and a retailer survey to assess the degree to which project-assisted retailers had benefitted.

The project resulted in greatly increased profitability for fish farms (equivalent to around USD 16,000 in extra profit generated per farm, USD 27 million total value added by the project). Increased profitability was mainly achieved by cost savings through more efficient feed management rather than increased production. This will result in reduced environmental impacts (greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient discharges). However, the directly attributable increase in fish production was only 200 metric tons (t) per year. Earlier studies had established that 14 fulltime equivalent (FTE) jobs are created along the aquaculture value chain for each 100 t per year of production, suggesting that only 28 FTE had been added by the project by the end of 2014. Clearly, this fell well short of the target of 10,000 jobs. However, this target is likely to be met as a result of project interventions as the use of the Abbassa strain expands and farmers invest their profits from improved practices in intensification of production.

The work with women retailers has increased understanding of this vulnerable group and led to the development of a toolkit of approaches that could be scaled out to other communities. The main benefit achieved appears to have been the empowerment that they gained from being able to work together in a group and advocate for their rights with local authorities and other value chain actors, such as wholesalers.

The IEIDEAS project has resulted in a follow-up project, also supported by SDC and managed by WorldFish in collaboration with CARE and the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation. The 3-year Sustainable Transformation of Egypt’s Aquaculture Market System (STREAMS) project started in December 2015.

More information

Download the report

Filed under: Aquaculture, CRP37, Egypt, Fish, Middle East, North Africa, Research, Value Chains, WorldFish

Livestock and fish gender writeshop – first reflections

Writeshop participants

Last month, a Livestock and Fish gender integration writeshop pulled together the learning and experiences from 14 gender integrated technical, systems and value chain research projects from across the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish.

A team from the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) facilitated the process and will finalize the book, which is expected mid-September 2016. Here are three points of reflection from the KIT team.

1. “Everything Should Be Made as Simple as Possible, But Not Simpler” (Einstein)

Every field of science has its particular language and jargon – not only gender, but also genetics, health, feeds and forage, value chains and systems research. Finding the right language and making complexity understandable to an intelligent but not necessarily expert reader entails navigating across the various disciplines and asking a lot of questions. This book on gender integration in the CRP Livestock and Fish aims for an accessible style but the challenge is how to simplify language while maintaining nuances that matter. The process of writing in a simplified style stimulated scientists to think differently about their work, articulating findings more sharply, being concrete about their relevance, cutting out some of the ‘scientific fluff’ (jargon) from initial write-ups and deepening their processing of data. The writeshop allowed a round of iteration, reflection, analysis and insight building for 14 projects, most of which have been coached on gender integration since mid-2015.

2. Spectrum of depth of gender analysis, gender integration and gendered findings

The gender-integrated research projects presented exhibit a spectrum of depth vis a vis gender analysis and integration: from basic sex-disaggregated data collection and analysis of what is similar or different in what men and women say, do and know; to gendered research questions and embedded gender concepts. The depth of gender integration depends in part on the kind of problem that the research seeks to unravel. Michel Dione and his team found that the gender division of labor in pig management in Uganda was quite static during normal routines, but when an African Swine Fever outbreak struck, gendered task divisions broke down and both men and women did everything in their power to manage the outbreak. This lead the team to conclude that training and protocols on African Swine Fever needed to include both women and men in order to be effective. Another project written up by Nicholas Ndiwa developed a framework for developing good indicators, data aggregation and smart analysis to support scientists in implementing and designing and analyzing gender data. A third project looked at the ‘silent breeders’ – women – in dual purpose cattle systems in Nicaragua. Alejandra Mora and Julie Ojango explored the reasons behind women’s silence in the breeding sphere and the cost of that silence both socially and in terms of improved genetic outcomes. They conclude with insights as to how research can influence the ‘sound of silence’ by engaging better with these women breeders who play critical roles in genetic decision-making.

3. Gender integration is an ongoing process

Unsurprisingly, 8 months of gender integration coaching will not transform a non-gender scientist into a gender expert. However, learning does happen and a deepening of understanding and shared language begin to emerge on interdisciplinary teams. What a non-gender scientist can do on their own and where gender expertise is required depends very much on the individuals involved. A clear next step in the process for many of these projects is more in-depth data analysis. Some non-gender scientists need more support than others on this, depending on their capacity and whether there are gender scientists/specialists already on the team. Integrating gender into technical, value chains and systems research is an ongoing process that builds up the collective capacity of the research program to do interdisciplinary, gender-integrated research better.

What’s next?

The book will be published in mid-September and will be available both online and in hard copy. KIT will continue to support the coached projects in preparing peer-reviewed publications, possibly including a special issue in a related journal. In the meantime, the findings from the research projects and the gender integration process are being woven into the phase 2 plan and proposal for the new CGIAR research programs on Fish and on Livestock. This foundation of consolidated thinking and research will serve both new CRPs from 2017 as they continue to embed gender into their programs and theories of change.

Rhiannon Pyburn and Anouka van Eerdewijk, Royal Tropical Institute

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Filed under: CGIAR, CRP37, Fish, Gender, Livestock, Research, Women

WorldFish and partners project on sustainable transformation of Egypt’s aquaculture market system

The Sustainable Transformation of Egypt’s Aquaculture Market System (STREAMS) project aims to increase production of inexpensive, nutritious and safe fish from sustainable aquaculture systems to help improve the health and nutrition of Egypt’s resource-poor while creating employment and increasing incomes along the aquaculture value chain.

Launched in February 2016, STREAMS will increase the participation of Egypt’s underprivileged socioeconomic segments in the country’s fast-growing aquaculture sector while also making fish more affordable and accessible. Increased availability and consumption of fish can reduce Egypt’s high rates of childhood stunting, undernutrition and obesity.

Download the project brochure

STREAMS is funded by the Swiss government. It builds on the significant gains realized in sustainably transforming Egypt’s aquaculture market system through the Improving Employment and Incomes through the Development of Egypt’s Aquaculture Sector (IEIDEAS) project. It is managed and led by WorldFish and implemented by CARE and the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation.

Filed under: Aquaculture, CRP37, Egypt, Fish, Research, Value Chains, WorldFish