News and updates on research on livestock value chains by the International Livestock Research Institute and partners

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dairy hubs for delivery of technical and advisory services: Lessons from the East Africa Dairy Development project

The vision of the East Africa Dairy Development project is to transform the lives of 179,000 smallholder farming families (approximately 1 million people) by doubling their household dairy income in 10 years.

To achieve this goal, the project seeks to harness information to support decision making and innovation, expand smallholder dairy farmers' access to markets for their milk, and increase farm productivity and economies of scale.

The project uses a hub approach to improve dairy farmers' access to business services, inputs and markets. The dairy hubs facilitate the emergence and strengthening of networks of input and service providers as well as the establishment of mechanisms for farmers to access credit.

On 5-7 December 2012, Jo Cadilhon, agricultural economist with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), attended a stakeholder workshop on the role of the public and private sectors in the delivery of livestock services in Africa. He presented the concept of dairy hubs for delivery of advisory and technical services to smallholder dairy production systems, based on the experiences of the East Africa Dairy Development project.

Below is the presentation:


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

ILRI study calls for a formal grading system for export quality Somali livestock

Batch of Somali goats
Batch of export quality Somali goats (photo credit: Terra Nuova).

Somalia is the largest exporter of live animals from Africa. The country, however, does not have a formal system of grading livestock and livestock products. Such a system is needed to enforce quality control for purposes of stabilizing and expanding international livestock trade. The system would also ensure that the prices of livestock and livestock products are determined on the basis of defined standards.

As a step towards formalizing the existing informal grading system used in Somalia for export quality livestock, researchers from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Terra Nuova have identified improved animal nutrition and livestock breeding programs as two possible interventions.

Increasing the quality and availability of animal feed during the long journey from the point of initial purchase to the point of slaughter will lead to enhanced livestock body condition. Body condition was identified as the most important trait used in grading of livestock for export.

Targeted livestock breeding and selection programs will, in the long term, enhance livestock body conformation which was found to be the second most important trait in grading of livestock.

These recommendations are based on a collaborative study by ILRI and Terra Nuova to assess and document information related to the grading of export quality Somali livestock. The specific objectives of the study were to:

  • identify the grading system in use for the four types of export quality Somali livestock (camels, cattle, goats and sheep) in selected markets, based on brokers' and traders' local knowledge;
  • analyze and document the rationale behind the identified grading system;
  • evaluate the relationship between the grading system and price; and
  • ascertain the validity of the grading system in real market environment.

Sex, age, body condition and body conformation were identified as the four main traits used in grading of Somali livestock destined for export. The levels within these traits were: sex (male or female); age (years or categorized as either immature or mature), body condition (excellent, good or fair) and conformation (excellent, good or fair).

The interactions of the alternative levels of these traits gave rise to three commercial grades for export quality livestock, classified in decreasing order of quality as grades I, II, III. However, these grades varied depending on the destination of export and use of the animals.

The findings of the study will be a useful source of reference for regulatory agencies and others involved in formalizing and publicizing of Somalia's grading system for export quality livestock.

Download the discussion paper

Mugunieri L, Costagli R, Abdulle MH, Osman IO and Omore A. 2012. Improvement and diversification of Somali livestock trade and marketing: Towards a formalized grading system for export quality livestock in Somalia. ILRI Discussion Paper 22. ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute), Nairobi.

Monday, December 10, 2012

ILRI study characterizes Somali chilled export meat value chain

Young goats in Hargeisa Market, Somaliland
Batch of young goats for slaughter and export of chilled meat, Hargeisa Market, Somaliland (photo credit: Terra Nuova).

Export-oriented pastoral livestock production is an important source of livelihood of the people of Somalia. The country is largely food deficient, with imports forming a significant proportion of basic food requirements and which are largely financed through earnings from exports of live animals and meat.

The export of meat products offers more avenues for increased earnings and tax revenue by exploiting the available opportunities for domestic value addition, than does live animal trade.

A collaborative research study by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Terra Nuova characterized the Somali chilled export meat value chain in terms of actors, institutions and practices and provided an initial analysis of their profitability in handling four species of livestock.

The main objective of the study was to provide information that would enable development of strategies to improve the efficiency of the Somali chilled meat export value chain as a way of increasing incomes to market actors.

The study presents preliminary recommendations for public and private sectors. These focus on value addition and information sharing on what constitutes value, building of product identity and legally protecting its unique status, and coordination to address costs.

Download the research report

Negassa A, Baker D, Mugunieri L, Costagli R, Wanyoike F, Abdulle MH and Omore A. 2012. The Somali chilled meat value chain: Structure, operation, profitability and opportunities to improve the competitiveness of Somalia’s chilled meat export trade. ILRI Research Report 32. ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute), Nairobi.