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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

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This work was funded in whole or part by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Resilience 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#1175487.  Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed here are those of the authors alone.