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Project in Ethiopia

Modeling Livestock System Dynamics and Economywide Policy Impacts in Ethiopia

Timeframe: April 2019 - December 2020

Funding: USAID

Principal investigator (PI) and lead institution

James Thurlow, Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), USA

Co-PI and collaborator institutions

Seneshaw Tamru Beyene, International Growth Center (IGC), Ethiopia

Other collaborators

  • Bart Minten, Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI, Ethiopia
  • Emerta Aragie, IFPRI, USA
  • Ermias Engida, PSI, Ethiopia


Project Plan

Understanding the true contribution of livestock to the wider economy in Ethiopia is crucial for evidence-based decision making to improve the sector’s performance. Improved understanding of the linkages between producers and consumers could increase the demand for safe, quality animal-source food and its consumption, and therefore improve human nutrition.

This project uses computer modelling to evaluate the livestock system in Ethiopia and its linkages to the broader economy, and it assesses alternative national development scenarios and economywide impacts from improved livestock value chains.

Ultimately, the model will situate the livestock system within the broader agricultural and national economic landscape. It’s economywide structure means that it will include equally detailed information on both livestock and non-livestock-related value chains. This will allow the model to compare policies across sectors.

The economywide model will be used by the project to study how different national economic growth and demographic projections affect the trajectory of the livestock system. The analysis will consider different types of future scenarios to identify robust policy priorities for the livestock sector and how different scenarios influence development outcomes, particularly economic growth, agricultural employment, rates of poverty, and dietary diversity.

The third objective of the project is to use the integrated model to examine the economywide impacts of improvements in Ethiopia’s dairy system, such as the successful implementation of reforms identified in previous value chain-specific studies, in order to provide potential evidence of net economywide impacts from dairy sector investments for policy makers.


The project aims to:

  • Develop a systems-based analytical model that integrates the livestock system within the larger economy
  • Use the model to assess future development scenarios for Ethiopia's livestock system
  • Use the model to evaluate economy-wide impact of policies to enhance Ethiopia's cattle-dairy system

More Information

 October 2020 research update THURLOW VGM (Virtual General Meeting)


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.