Constraints and challenges of meeting the water requirements of livestock in Ethiopia: cases of Lume and Siraro districts
Compared to the total water use in livestock production systems, water for livestock drinking is small in amount but is an important requirement for health and productivity of animals. This study was carried out to assess constraints and challenges of meeting drinking water requirements of livestock in rural mixed smallholder crop–livestock farming districts in the Ethiopian Rift Valley area. Data was collected by individual interviews with randomly selected respondents and farmer group discussions. Farmers ranked feed and water scarcity as the two most important constraints for livestock husbandry, although the ranking order differed between districts and villages. Poor quality water was a concern for the communities in proximity to urban settlements or industrial establishments. Water provision for livestock was challenging during the dry season, since alternative water sources dried up or were polluted. Though rainwater harvesting by dugout constructions was practiced to cope with water scarcity, farmers indicated that mismanagement of the harvested water was posing health risks on both livestock and people. A sustainable water provision for livestock in the area, thus, depends on use of different water sources (intermittent or perennial) that should be properly managed. Industrial establishments should adopt an environment-friendly production to minimize pollution of water resources used for livestock consumption. Technical support to farmers is required in proper design and use of existing rainwater harvesting systems. Further investigations are recommended on effect of poor quality water (perceived by farmers) on performance of livestock.
KeywordsWater scarcity Poor water quality Livestock production constraints Farmers' perception Ethiopia
The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is acknowledged for funding the research. The study also benefited from a partial financial support of the Safe Food-Fair Food Project, a collaborative research project run by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Kenya and funded by Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ), Germany.
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