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Project in Ethiopia

Linking Cattle Nutrition to Human Nutrition: A Value Chain Approach to Improving the Production, Handling, and Consumption of Animal Source Foods in Ethiopia

Timeframe: October 2016 - June 2021

Funding: USAID

Principal investigator (PI) and lead institution

Jessie Vipham and Dustin L. Pendell, Kansas State University

Collaborator institutions and Co-PIs


Journal Articles


Project Plan

The overall research objective of this project is to create a systems-based research approach that strengthens linkages between improved animal-source food production and consumption practices and human nutrition outcomes in Ethiopia.  The goal is to identify, in a qualitative and quantitative manner, the pathways between agriculture interventions and nutritional outcomes. The project implements a systems-based research approach that will define and quantify linkages between the various activity domains, including the creation of a conceptual framework, based on quantifiable data collected from each research domain. Focus of the research will be on highland crop-livestock systems and smallholder commercial dairies, which prevail in urban and peri-urban areas.  Forage on-station research will be conducted at Melkassa, and on-farm trial locations will be chosen based on input from collaborators. Cattle nutrition trials will be held in Hawassa and ChaCha.  Collaboration with on-farm research will focus on the areas of influence of Africa RISING.

The domains, and their researchable questions and objectives include the following:

  • Forage Domain Researchable Question: What strategies strengthen adoption, availability, and productivity of forage systems?
    Objective: Assess forage sorghum intercropping with annual and perennial forage crops for sustainable cattle forage production.
  • Ruminant Nutrition Domain Researchable Question: What are the impacts of better cattle nutrition on meat and milk production and quality?
    Objectives: (1) Assess strategies for improved protein nutrition of lactating cows differing in genetic capacity for milk production; (2) Evaluate impacts of improved dry season feeding strategies.
  • Meat Science Domain Researchable Question: To what degree does consumer preference and product quality enhance or inhibit meat product marketability, on a domestic and export market?
    Objective: Assess the quality of beef currently produced for export markets, and investigate the impact of alternative production systems on beef quality.
  • Dairy Science Domain Researchable Question: What are the appropriate interventions to addressing milk and dairy product handling and storage on the dairy production systems?
    Objective: Assess key bottlenecks for dairy product marketing and consumption in Ethiopia, including identifying, ranking of importance and determining the willingness to pay for newly developed dairy products.
  • Food Safety Domain Researchable Question: What is the food safety risk associated with increased consumption of animal-source foods (meat and milk)?
    Objectives: (1) Create baselines for foodborne pathogens within abattoirs; (2) Implement strategies to mitigate the burden of foodborne pathogens within abattoirs.
  • Human Nutrition
    Objectives: (1) Determine the current dietary behaviors related to the consumption of animal products at the household level; (2) Identify the cultural, environment, and economic barriers, if any, to the adequate consumption of animal products, and determine appropriate human nutrition interventions to overcome barriers.
  • Gender
    Objectives: (1) Develop gender sensitive interventions and treatments to address identified gender needs for each domain; (2) Integrate gender sensitivity into extension and outreach programs.

More Information

 October 2020 research update VIPHAM VGM (Virtual General Meeting)

Photo credits: J. Vipham/KSU

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems is part of Feed the Future

This work was funded in whole or part by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Resilience, Environment and Food Security under Agreement # AID-OAA-L-15-00003 as part of Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems. Additional funding was received from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation OPP#060115.  Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed here are those of the authors alone.