Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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MAHLET Alemu, Department of Anthropology, Mekelle University, Ethiopia

The current and expected growth of the world’s population warrants an increased production of high-quality animal protein. Dairy farming is regarded as one of the important ways of satisfying this need and meeting the growing demand for milk, especially in developing countries. The main objective of the study was to discuss the care and support given to local and exotic dairy cattle by the smallholder dairy farmers in rural and urban areas. The study area for this research was in Agulae, Northeastern Tigray, located at 13°41′30″N 39°35′30″E latitude and longitude. In Aguale, there are three Tabias and three Kebelles. Using purposive sampling, the 2ndkebelle from the urban and the 1stkebelle from the rural area were selected. Those areas were selected due to the existence of a large number of smallholder dairy farmers. The methods used to gather data were household schedule, in-depth interviews, key informant interviews and observations. From both areas, an equal number of farmers were used to study household schedules which is 40 from the urban and 40 from the rural, 30 farmers took part in the in-depth interviews (15 each) and 10 key informants (5 each) were involved as well. The study found that smallholder dairy farmers in the rural area have low interaction with the local cattle compared to the farmers in the urban area who have exotic dairy cattle. This is due to exotic dairy cattle being very expensive, forced to stay at home while local cattle believed to have already adapted to the environment can stay out for grazing. The study further obtained that all smallholder dairy farmers consider their cattle as members of their family, but the farmers in the urban area have a closer attachment because exotic dairy cattle are a source of income and are essential for the farmers’ livelihood. Finally, the finding shows that exotic dairy cattle require additional care compared to the local cattle and the care given to cattle in the rural area is more business-like.