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Project in Ethiopia

Application of integrated decision support systems to improve livestock systems in Ethiopia: Research and capacity development

Timeframe: May 2019 - December 2020

Funding: USAID

Principal investigator (PI) and lead institution

Raghavan Srinivasan, The Texas A&M University System

Co-PI and collaborator institutions

Neville Clarke, The Texas A&M University System, and Senior Advisor to the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small-Scale Irrigation

Other collaborators

  • Seifu Tilahun, Associate Professor and Director to the Bahir Dar Institute of Technology, Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia
  • Mr. Belete Bantero, Senior Transformation Agenda Specialist, Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MoAL)


Journal Articles

More Results

Project Plan

Small-scale farmers across Ethiopia struggle to provide sufficient, high-quality feed for their livestock. There is also confusion about what fodder crops will grow best in a given region. By resolving such issues, food security for consumers will improve as the livestock system becomes more productive and resilient.

Building on progress of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small-Scale Irrigation in Ethiopia, this project uses Integrated Decision Support Systems (IDSS) to study improved forages, livestock feed crops, their production, and environmental and socio-economic impacts. It reviews feed strategies for on-farm production and market sale of fodder crops cultivated under small scale irrigation. This project complements our modeling work in Future Livestock Systems.  

The IDSS is a suite of biophysical and socio-economic models, namely, the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), Agriculture Policy Environment eXtender (APEX), and Farm Income and Nutrition Simulator (FARMSIM). These models will investigate Ethiopia’s main fodder crops for poultry, cattle, or small ruminants, namely, Napier (Pennisetum purpureum), alfalfa (Medicago sativa) and desho (Pennisetum pedicellatum). Other analysis will investigate Elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum Schumach), mixed vetch (Lathyrus cicera), and oats (Avena sativa). Several livestock technologies and strategies will be analyzed to identify and evaluate systems that increase feed production and quality in Ethiopia.


This project intends to:

  • demonstrate IDSS as a solid methodology for assessing livestock research
  • prepare for using IDSS methods in new research of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems
  • assess forages and livestock feed crops in terms of production, environment, and socio-economic impacts
  • evaluate farmer strategies for using feed
  • promote Human and Institutional Capacity Development in the livestock sector. 

More Information

 October 2020 research update SRINIVASAN VGM (Virtual General Meeting)


Figures: Left: Framework to map land suitability for irrigated fodder production in Ethiopia; Right: A preliminary map of suitable land for Napier production in Ethiopia.

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.