Jijiga, Somali Region – As part of the U.S. President’s Feed the Future Initiative in Ethiopia, the U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), launched the Camel Milk Value Chain Development project at a festive ceremony in Fafan Village, Somali Region today. The project will improve the production and market competitiveness of camel milk products in the Somali Region to improve incomes and nutrition for up to 50,000 targeted households in the Siti (Shinile) and Fafan (Jijiga) zones.
Speaking at the project launch event, His Excellency Abdifatah Mohamud Hassan, Somali Regional State Vice President, said, “The Camel Milk Value Chain Development project is an innovative project that addresses cultural wealth of the pastoralists and contributes to the Ethiopia Agricultural Growth and Transformation Plan.”
The project, implemented by Aged and Children Pastoralists Association, will improve the entire camel milk value chain, from the camels until the arrival at markets. To increase camel productivity, the project will focus on breed development, improved animal feed and fodder, and animal health service delivery. The project will give special focus to building the capacity of community animal health workers to diagnose and treat camel diseases. For improving production, it will train producers and milk collectors on how to improve milk quality and cleanliness while working with the Somali Regional government to set appropriate quality assurance standards for camel milk. Lastly, to strengthen market access, the project will link the primary, neighboring milk markets with the milk producer and supplier networks, hygiene control and food safety standards, and transportation systems.
“Ethiopia has a good chance of becoming a leader in promoting camel production as a key to pastoralist livelihood security and development,” said USAID Ethiopia Mission Director Dennis Weller. “With the climate uncertainty that we have seen in the Somali Region, camels are the animal of the future and I look forward to seeing the successes of this project.”
Through the improved access to technical expertise and practices, the project will stimulate increased milk productivity and competitiveness in the milk market, which will in turn improve smallholder productivity, food security and incomes.