The Ethiopia Sheep and Goat Productivity Improvement Program (ESGPIP) was a USAID-funded five-year project designed to reduce constraints to increased productivity of small ruminants in Ethiopia through appropriate interventions. The ESGPIP supported USAID’s long-term strategic goal of realizing a more peaceful, secure, prosperous, and healthy Ethiopia, as well as strategic objectives of increasing human capacity and social resiliency and private sector-led economic growth. The Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) of Texas and Langston University (LU) of Oklahoma worked with the Ethiopian Government’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MoARD) to implement the ESGPIP under a Cooperative agreement signed between the USAID and the PVAMU on 22 September 2005.

Five problem areas were singled out in the ESGPIP work plan. These were:

  • Slow rate of gain and lack of uniformity and small carcass size of sheep and goats
  • Decreased value of sheep and goats skins, reduced growth rate and high mortality due to ecto-parasite infestation
  • Suboptimal nutrition and feeding management at herd and flock levels limits efficiencies of small ruminant production and associated economic returns
  • Poor sheep flock and goat herd health management practices and lack of access to health management services and technology
  • Lack of technical services to pastoralists and small holder sheep and goat producers

The ESGPIP built upon recent improvements in the small ruminant industry in Ethiopia and other relevant support programs. Specifically, the Project trained extension agents (Kebele Development Agents) in improved health, nutrition, and other production and marketing practices and assisted these agents with working directly with livestock producers to apply the knowledge and practices to management of small ruminants for increased productivity. ESGPIP conducted applied research and modeled on-farm demonstrations to evaluate and show the benefits of increased and effective use of available by-products and crop residues to overcome feed shortages and to elevate animal performance. It also promoted and assisted the introduction and use of crossbred improved genotypes of sheep and goats to farms to elevate meat production and associated economic returns.

The program assisted the control of external parasites to increase productivity and promoted private sector entry into providing parasite control services through training and organizing Spraying and Dipping Service Providers (SDSP). Furthermore, it undertook a study on high kid/lamb mortality to mitigate loss of young kid and lamb crops. These efforts are believed to have improved returns from the small ruminants.

A total of 26 woredas were selected by the respective regional bureaus of agriculture and rural development of the six regional states as target woredas:

  • Afar: Mile, Chifra and Gewane
  • Amhara: Ebenat, east Belesa, Kalu, Guba Lafto and Kobo
  • Oromia: Adami Tulu, Arsi Negelle, Fentale, Shashamane, Yabelo,
  • SNNPRS: Alaba, Damot Gale, Doyo Gena, Kedida Gamela and West Badewacho,
  • Somali: Aware, Gursum, Harshin and Jijiga,
  • Tigray: Abergelle, Alamata, Hawzien and Wukro