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Forage and Management Part of Ethiopian Dairy Success

23 September 2014

An Ethiopian dairy herd is now able to provide fresh milk for nearby restaurants and hotels following a helping hand in feeding and management.

As part of the Feed Enhancement for Ethiopian Development (FEED) project, the USDA Deputy Agricultural Secretary Mrs Harden met with the farm owner, Ms. Yetemwork Tilahun, at her operation near the town of Mojo, about 50 miles south of Addis Ababa.

There, she saw first hand the positive impact the FEED project has had in improving milk production and generating an alternative revenue stream for this hard working family.

The Deputy Secretary commended Ms. Yetemwork for her determination and success and complimented her efforts to maintain such healthy and productive animals.

Ms. Yetemwork expressed her appreciation to the Deputy Secretary for USDA’s support through the FEED project, which has allowed her to expand her operation from a single dairy cow to her current herd of 10 crossbred Holsteins, each valued at about $3,000 (USD).

As a result of this expansion, Ms. Yetemwork is not only able to provide her family with fresh milk, but is also able to generate extra income by selling surplus production to several restaurants and hotels, as well as the nearby cooperative.

Farmer Yetemwork Tilahun (right) with the USDA's Krysta Harden.  

This growth has also lifted the neighbouring community, as Ms. Yetemwork now employs seven outside hands to help with the increased workload. Ms. Yetemwork’s 11-year-old son also helps out around the farm and she hopes that he will become a large-scale farmer when he grows up.

Her husband handles the milk sales and is also responsible for purchasing the feed ingredients from the local cooperative.

Deputy Secretary Harden learned about how the farm is largely self-sustaining, growing its own forage for its dairy and beef animals with the help of the FEED program. And, Ms. Yetemwork has developed a biogas unit where she composts the livestock waste from her farm to power her home.

Harden was delighted to learn that the FEED program has also positioned Ms. Yetemwork’s farm as the model that other local dairy owners are seeking to emulate.

And last, but not least, Harden saw teff – Ethiopia’s staple grain – being grown on the farm. Ms. Yetemwork uses the teff to make injera (traditional Ethiopian bread), for her family and sells the surplus grain in the local market.

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