Katrien Descheemaeker (IWMI/ILRI), T...
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Three ways to improve livestock water productivity in Ethiopia


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Poster prepared by Katrien Descheemaeker, Tilahun Amede and Everisto Mapedza for the ILRI Annual Program Meeting (APM) 2010, held at ILRI campus, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, April 14-17, 2010.

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Three ways to improve livestock water productivity in Ethiopia

  1. 1. THREE WAYS TO IMPROVE LIVESTOCK WATER PRODUCTIVITY IN ETHIOPIA Katrien Descheemaeker (IWMI/ILRI), Tilahun Amede (ILRI/IWMI), Everisto Mapedza (IWMI) INTRODUCTION Improving the water productivity of mixed crop-livestock systems is important both for people’s livelihoods and environmental resilience. The interventions and strategies to improve livestock water productivity (LWP) vary with socio-economic status, production system and level of intensification. Generally, interventions can be grouped in three categories, namely feed management, water management and animal management. However, quantitative assessments of the effects of interventions on LWP are mostly lacking. Based on a gap analysis for mixed Inadequate feed crop-livestock systems in Ethiopia, we present three promising interventions and evaluate their effect on LWP and its components. Energy losses for walking Land degradation WHERE COULD WE MAKE THE BIGGEST SAVINGS? The water flow analysis demonstrated (Fig. 1): - productive transpiration only 50% of total water outflow - a lot of unproductive evaporation - high runoff and deep percolation The annual energy budget showed (Fig. 2): - ¾ of the energy for maintenance - very little energy for milk and meat production 3 strategies: (1) drinking water in the homesteads, (2) better feed availability and quality and (3) land rehabilitation Figure 1: Water flows per ha of cropland and grazing land Figure 2: Annual energy budget for the livestock herd of an average household LESS WALKING, MORE MILK - Without water harvesting: 12 % of annual energy lost by walking - With water harvesting: energy for walking reduced from 1956 to 584 MJ ME per TLU Saved energy used for extra growth, milk production and improved overall condition and health, without depleting more water for feed production Household survey: - Without water harvesting: 343 (±100) litre of milk Increased milk production - With water harvesting: 463 (±123) litre of milk Figure 3: Watering of livestock in the homestead Table 1: Ex-ante assessment of the effects of feed interventions on water and land productivity BETTER FEED FOR HIGHER WATER PRODUCTIVITY energy Improving feed quantity and quality through (1) urea treatment of teff straw, (2) leaves and pods feed productivity from fodder trees, (3) concentrates (oil seed cake and wheat bran), and (4) improved dual-purpose productivity feed WP (103 MJ energy WP improvement (t/ha) (kg/m3) ME/ha) (MJ ME/m3) in LWP (%) legumes. baseline 1.9 0.60 15.5 4.8 urea treatment 1.9 0.60 15.7 4.9 1 Increased land and water productivity of feed biomass and feed energy (Table 1): fodder trees 2.0 0.62 16.4 5.1 6 - urea treatment of teff straw: 1% improvement in LWP concentrates 1.8 0.62 14.8 5.1 6 - other feed interventions: 5-6 % improvement in LWP dual purpose legume 2.0 0.62 16.5 5.1 5 GREENER WATERSHEDS, LESS WATER LOSSES Protection against grazing pressure in exclosures leads to: - vegetation restoration, increased biomass production - effects on water flows: less evaporation, less runoff, more transpiration - restoration of regulating, supporting and provisioning ecosystem services - production of high quality hay for livestock feeding - livestock keepers lose easy access to grazing land Increased water use efficiency open grazing exclosure Figure 4: Rehabilitation of degraded hillslopes through protection against grazing CONCLUSIONS Based on a gap analysis and ex-ante assessment of the effects of interventions, it was concluded that LWP can be significantly improved by interventions focusing on providing adequate livestock drinking, sufficient high quality feed, and reversing land degradation. Combining these three interventions could foster the transition to keeping less, but more productive animals. With adequate feed and water provided in the homestead, animals would rely less on grazing highly pressurized rangelands, which would improve both environmental resilience and animal health. However, to ensure adoption of these technical solutions, they have to be backed by enabling policies and the institutional, cultural, and economic context of the target community has to be taken into account. The good news is … And the not so good news is … Integrating the livestock water productivity concept into the  Keeping many animals on marginal land contributes heavily to  planning and implementation of projects can enhance the  the downward spiral of low animal productivity and  productivity of the system, reduce water losses, produce more  environmental degradation. April 2010 food and protect the environment. We would like to acknowledge BMZ-Germany for supporting the project on Improving productivity of mixed crop-livestock systems in sub-Saharan Africa. We are thankful to the CGIAR System- wide Livestock Programme (SLP), and the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) for their collaboration and input.