World Bank supports development of Ethiopia’s dairy sector with US$93m financing channelled towards improvement of breed stock

ETHIOPIA – Ethiopia is seeking to boost milk production in the country by improving its dairy cattle breed stock, through cross-breeding via Artificial Insemination (AI).

To spearhead this initiative, World Bank has issued a Birr 4.2 billion (US$93m) financing to the government of Ethiopia.

Under the project, according to reports by Capital Ethiopia, the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) is set to import frozen bovine semen worth Birr 10 million (US$220,000) from Cogent Breeding Limited, a United Kingdom (UK) based company.

The imported semen will be sexed, a procedure used to produce a specific gender of offspring – female in this case.

In addition, the ministry has bought 200 heads of indigenous Borana cattle at a cost of Birr 170 million (US$3.78m), which are quarantined inside the compound of Holeta agricultural research institute to be used as seed bank.

“When we administer the imported semen to our cows as a pilot project, which are already disease-resistant, they will be able to give more milk, which would, in turn, boost productivity in the dairy sector,” said Thomas Chernet (PhD), project coordinator.

Ethiopia is far behind in milk production despite popular claims of being home to the largest livestock population in Africa – 7.1 million dairy cows and 12.5 million milking livestock, producing 4.6 billion litres annually.

“When we administer the imported semen to our cows as a pilot project, which are already disease-resistant, they will be able to give more milk, which would, in turn, boost productivity in the dairy sector.”

Thomas Chernet – Project coordinator

This is far below the local demand of 22 billion litres, required to make the country self-sufficient in milk production, making it turn to imports to fill the huge deficit gap.

According to data from ministry of agriculture, the country has imported milk worth US$ 48.6 million in 2013-2017.

The project is set to boost the average milk yield per cow in Ethiopia which stands at 1.5 litres per day to 12 litres and stop all kinds of milk product imports.

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The dairy sector has registered significant growth in the last decade, opening over 30 dairy processing companies. However, a critical shortage of milk supply remains a bottleneck to the processing industry.

Lame Dairy, subsidiary of Midroc Ethiopia Technology Group opened a new dairy facility in Addis Ababa earlier this year, constructed at a cost of Br 600 million (US$14.5m).

The new factory more than doubles the dairy processors capacity from 70,000 litres of milk a day to 160,000 litres, and will produce the long-life Shola Milk brand that can stay fresh for three weeks under refrigeration.

Another leading player in Ethiopia’s dairy market, MB Plc has also installed an automatic UHT milk processing plant in Addis Ababa.

The new plant having a processing capacity of 40,000 litres per day, enables the dairy processor to produce long-life milk with up to six months shelf life.

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