visit-state-ministerAs part of the E-Motive Exchange visit (Exchange project between Netherlands and Ethiopia/Uganda on cattle breeding for resilient dairy farming and improved milk quality) a Dutch delegation of dairy experts visited the State Minister of Livestock Development in Ethiopia. The State Minister proudly presented the Ethiopian Livestock Master Plan for the next 15 years. This plan aims is to stimulate the commercial dairy sector in 3 major areas: crossbreeding, improved animal health and feeding.

The aim is to have 5 million crossbreds milk cows for the milk supply of the cities. The government has decided that only Holstein Friesian (HF) or Jersey breed (sperm or cows) may be imported. The State Minister: “A lot of milk has to be produced because the need for dairy is large and everything is imported now. People need money and food to survive. Milk products can bring in that money. And we cannot do without antibiotics. We are aware of the risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but first we go for quantity and later for more quality”.

After saying this the delegation discussed that there may be more ways to reach the required food security. Ethiopia counts with a rich biodiversity: all ecosystems between 140 m below sea level and 4000 meter above sea level are present. There are 36 local livestock breeds with very specific values; some of these breeds producing 10 liters of milk a day when properly fed. Why expect everything from foreign companies, HF cows and antibiotics? The discussion about these issues continued for over one hour beyond the time planned. The State Minister of Livestock was also invited to come to the Netherlands for the return visit of the exchange in September, including to visit our Minister of Agriculture. He could not confirm straight away but certainly seemed interested.

Moreover, it was agreed to continue the exchange of views and experience with the State Minister this Thursday (March 26) after visiting various milk factories and dairy farms.