The Contribution of Livestock in Meeting Food Production and Nutrition in Ethiopia

Habtamu Lemma Didanna


Good health depends on good nutrition. Good nutrition, in turn, depends on agriculture to provide the foods. Most livestock in developing countries, especially ruminants, convert human-non-edible feeds, including crop residues, household wastes and forage, into high value meat, milk, and eggs. In large parts of the developing world urbanization, population and income growth are leading to increasing overall food consumption and changes in dietary composition, particularly food of livestock origin with considerable implications for food production, processing and retail systems. Among others, there is lack of interdisciplinary approach and knowledge/skill on food system and productivity.   The aim of this paper; therefore, was to synthesize knowledge on sustainable livestock derived food production and utilization through case study approach including document analysis and interviews. In addition, it also serves as a spring-board for research/intervention to define areas of attention that enhance the role livestock in food production and nutrition. Interviews and extensive current literatures on livestock and food/nutrition situation in Ethiopian scenario were made and it also captured experiences of collaboration across disciplines elsewhere and finally highlights future prospects. All of the respondents reported consuming livestock products with 34.7% consume greater than four types of products (meat, milk, eggs, butter, etc.) and 32.7% consume once a day. 71.4% reported that there is supply problem and the main reasons they claimed include lack of urban agriculture and unscientific husbandry practices. Among the strategies to enhance livestock role in food system challenges/ security and nutritional benefits, it is essential that livestock/crop agriculture, and nutrition sciences and their related research/intervention activities need to work together in an integrated manner. Narrowing the nutrition gap also requires “nutrition-sensitive” food and agriculture systems that explicitly incorporate nutrition objectives. A growing market demand has significant opportunity for improving productivity even though there are challenges in the increasing urbanization and limited livestock support services.

Keywords: Livestock-origin food; Human nutrition; Interdisciplinary approach; Ethiopia

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ISSN (Paper)2224-6088 ISSN (Online)2225-0557

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