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Forage seed supply in Ethiopia—Some thoughts on current status and how it might evolve


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Presented by Alan Duncan, Jean Hanson, David Spielman and Ranjitha Puskur at the National Forage Seed Workshop, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), Addis Ababa, 12-14 May 2011.

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Forage seed supply in Ethiopia—Some thoughts on current status and how it might evolve

  1. 1. Forage seed supply in Ethiopia – some thoughts on current status and how it might evolve<br />Alan Duncan+, Jean Hanson+, David Spielman* and Ranjitha Puskur+<br />+International Livestock Research Institute<br />*International Food Policy Research Institute<br />
  2. 2. Background<br />Feed supply is a persistent bottleneck to increasing livestock productivity in Ethiopia<br />
  3. 3. Indicative prices for different fodder types (ETB/kg) in various woredas. <br />Prices are adjusted for inflation figures published on<br />
  4. 4. Changing diets ̶ a new agriculture of high value products and non-traditional exports<br />Meat<br />Horticulture<br />Cereals<br />Developing country exports<br />Developing country consumption<br />As livestock production intensifies, more need for high quality feed<br />Smallholders face competition for feed from fattening enterprises. E.g. Noug cake <br />Better breeds demand better feeds<br />World Development Report 2008<br />
  5. 5. Feed supply patterns are changing<br />Kahsay Berhe (2004) study in Yarer Mountain area <br /><ul><li>Cultivated land has doubled at the expense of pasture in 30 years
  6. 6. Switch in source of nutrition for livestock from grazing to CR</li></li></ul><li>Dietary composition of livestock – Bangladesh and Ethiopia<br />
  7. 7. Feed scarcity is an issue<br />Absolute scarcity of biomass<br />Shortage of protein to improve utilization of poor quality feeds<br />Planted fodder is a possible solution<br />
  8. 8. Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana) <br />Expect from 10 to 25 tonnes dry matter per hectare. Crude protein content is around 13% in young grass<br />
  9. 9. Fodder adoption<br />Fodder has a low adoption rate in Ethiopia because...<br />Dominance of arable production<br />Small landholdings<br />Free grazing culture – minimal confinement<br />Knowledge intensive nature of planted fodder<br />Lack of forage seed<br />
  10. 10. Reaction to low uptake ...<br />Reaction is to “push” planted fodder through research and extension system<br />
  11. 11. This has had limited long-term success because....<br />Sustainable seed delivery mechanisms were not developed<br />Seed system is largely focused on major cereals like maize, wheat, and teff<br />High quality forage not connected to markets for livestock products<br />Forages are knowledge intensive and require lots of technical input to succeed<br />
  12. 12. An alternative is to foster small-scale entrepreneurs to develop forage seed businesses<br />This is also challenging because entry into seed production is risky<br />
  13. 13. Fodder seed production is risky<br />Feed is an intermediate commodity<br /><ul><li>Forage seed sector also suffers from being a further intermediate in the livestock value chain</li></li></ul><li>Distortion of market by high prices paid for seed by NGO’s – unfair competition?<br />
  14. 14. Other risk factors<br />Limited land available for seed production at any significant scale<br />Most forages are OPV’s and therefore replicable on farm (although this has not limited forage seed entrepreneurs in other countries such as India)<br /><ul><li>Entrepreneurs face constraints such as
  15. 15. access to credit
  16. 16. access to land
  17. 17. limited business skills or experience
  18. 18. lack of basic/certified seed</li></li></ul><li>The way forward ... Research needs<br />A 6 point manifesto<br />
  19. 19. Point 1: Supply and demand study<br />Assess supply and demand for improved forages <br />This would support targeting of hot spot areas (high intensification, market orientation and supportive institutions) for interventions<br />Need to consider trade-offs with existing uses of land, labour and capital and matching forage species to niche.<br />
  20. 20. Point 2: Forage seed demand assessment<br />Assess the extent and stability of demand for forage seed<br />Willingness to pay among farmers?<br />Indicative net margins for potential entrants?<br />
  21. 21. Point 3: Identify institutional models<br />Identify different context-specific institutional models for forage seed supply and agribusiness development <br />This will include looking at case studies from other countries (India, Thailand ...).<br />Match these models with farmer needs.<br />Work with relevant actors to stimulate implementation of such models<br />
  22. 22. Point 4: Apply innovation systems approaches<br />Explore ways to link actors with relevant sources of knowledge e.g. through forage seed working group<br />Assess alternative knowledge sharing methods to raise awareness of benefits (economic, soil, water) of forages <br />Assess enabling environment and needs for policy development to support forage seed supply and agribusiness<br />
  23. 23. Point 5: Capacity development<br />Farmers – practical training on forage and forage seed production management<br />Extension workers (Government and NGO sectors) – knowledge to understand how forages fit systems (benefits of forages, targeting species to niches, sources of seeds), technical knowledge on forage and forage seed production management to support farmers<br />Policy makers – working with policy makers to develop policies to support small scale and farmer forage seed production and marketing<br />
  24. 24. Point 6: Knowledge sharing<br />Share information on cost benefits of forages and forage seed production more widely<br />Share market information on forage seed demand and supply to link growers and traders<br />Translate information about benefits, forage management, seed supply into local languages (already started with fact sheets but more is needed)<br />