Principal investigator (PI) and lead institution
Dr. Woutrina Smith, University of California, Davis
Co-PI and collaborator institutions
Left: Mr. Chalachew Yitbarkek, Dr. Tsegaw Fentie, and Mrs. Berhanu Tewabe pose with some of her dairy calves at her peri-urban farm in Gondar town. (J. Lane/UCDavis)
Right: Graduate students are holding double-guarded culture swabs that will be used for sampling in dairy calves for detecting respiratory viral and bacterial pathogens. (W. Jackson/UCDavis)
Ethiopia is poised at the brink of a new era, with the population rapidly increasing while the food supplies cannot keep up with the demand. As an integral part of Ethiopian agriculture, livestock contributes considerably to an economy that accounts for 19% of the GDP and 20% of the export earnings. Although the livestock population is the largest in the continent, the productivity and competitiveness is in general low due to various animal diseases, feed problems, poor husbandry, and poor marketing infrastructures.
Traditionally, livestock owners have been raising many animals under an inefficient system to buffer against losses in production that result from disease, compared to the alternative of raising fewer animals in a more efficient, well-managed system. Ongoing investigation of the epidemiology of young stock morbidity and mortality will help in prioritizing major health and management problems along with critical control points in livestock systems.
The project goal is to understand causes and risk factors for young stock mortality in cattle, goats and camels, while also providing input on the pilot testing of health interventions. For the latter, the project team works closely with the Young Stock Mortality Consortium led by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Resources that also includes Tufts University and the University of Edinburgh. The consortium has developed animal health intervention packages that this Reach project will pilot.
The project is focused on mixed-crop livestock farms, peri-urban dairy farms, and pastoral production systems. The project also has a strong human and institutional capacity development at the universities of Addis Ababa and Gondar, as well as at the main government laboratory system for Ethiopia. Researchers, graduate and postdoctoral students from these institutions are involved in the collaborative research.
The main goal of this project is to generate new epidemiological information on the major causes of young stock morbidity and mortality that hampers the productivity of livestock in Ethiopia, and evaluate government-planned intervention strategies.
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