The future of livestock in Ethiopia: Opportunities and challenges in the face of uncertainty

Ethiopian decision makers have to grapple with so many uncertainties from multiple directions that prioritizing interventions and holding a straight course prove a daunting task. In the next decades, population growth, urbanization, smart technological innovations and adoptions, increased movements of people and goods, not to mention climate change, will thoroughly transform Ethiopian society, in ways that are often unpredictable.

Take the livestock sector: its development is fundamental to support the transformation of the country in a sustainable way socially, environmentally and from a public health perspective. In these circumstances, a robust analysis of livestock production systems and value chains, an understanding of trends in consumption of animal source foods, and an assessment of returns to different investments are essential to formulate and prioritize policy actions. However, this alone does not ensure that policies will support a sustainable growth of livestock into a future that, to a large extent, is uncertain. Take a moment and ponder over these questions: in the next three decades, how will technology uptake affect livestock productivity? How will the feed-food competition unfold? How will livestock value chains transform to satisfy the demand of an increasingly affluent and urbanized population? We must humbly admit that we can neither easily predict nor plan the long-term future of livestock in Ethiopia.

The government of Ethiopia, with support from FAO and USAID, engaged a multitude of stakeholders in a conversation around the knowns and unknowns of the future of the cattle sector in the country.

They discussed past and projected trends of societal and livestock dynamics, current policy priorities, technology uptake and institutional changes and other. Stakeholders did not predict or forecast with accuracy the future of the cattle sector in Ethiopia, but generated evidence on alternative, yet all plausible futures.
The report “The future of livestock in Ethiopia:

Opportunities and challenges in the face of uncertainty” looks out to 2050 and presents alternative scenarios, or plausible portrays, of the future of the cattle sector in Ethiopia. It provides invaluable insights to decision-makers on actions to take today to make the Ethiopian cattle systems more robust and resilient to an uncertain future, and sustainable from a social, environmental and public health perspective. It makes a strong case to broaden our perspective and take a forward-looking approach when designing policies and investments in dynamic and rapidly changing societies, such as that of Ethiopia.

FAO is grateful to the various stakeholders from across Ethiopia who provided the invaluable expertise and knowledge that underpin this report and to USAID for its continued generous support.

 

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations