Characteristics of Urban and Peri-Urban Sheep Production Systems and Economic Contribution in Highlands of Ethiopia

Document Type : Research Article


1 Andassa Livestock Research Center, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

2 Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

3 Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Hawassa University, Hawassa, Ethiopia

4 Department of Animal Environment and Health, University of Agricultural Science, Sweden


This study was initiated to characterize urban and peri-urban sheep production systems and their economic importance in and around the towns of Debre Berhan and Dessie, Ethiopia. The study was undertaken using group discussions, structured questionnaire and personal observations. In both locations the majority of sheep producers were male household heads and predominantly traders in urban and farmers in peri-urban areas. The average family size was more in Debre Berhan peri-urban (5.4) area thanDessie peri-urban (4.8). In Debre Berhan peri-urban areas, 39.3% had a land hold size between 1 and 2 ha and in Dessie peri-urban areas 48.4% respondents had a land hold size of < 0.5 ha. The number of sheep and other livestock population was higher in Debre Berhan peri-urban than Dessie peri-urban area. Except brewery dried grain all other types of feed used for sheep production were similar but the availability was different among the study areas. In both urban and peri-urban areas major available feed types were natural pasture grazing, hay, crop residues, wheat bran and oil seed cakes, by-products from local breweries and legume grains processing. Sheep rearing constitutes the first source of income in Dessie area and the second source of income in Debre Berhan area. Urban and peri-urban sheep production has economic advantages as sources of income and food to the household. High feed cost, lack of improved breed, capital and labor shortages were major constraints. Conducive weather conditions, attractive market price, and availabilities of supplementary feed found in urban areas were considered as beneficial for sheep production. Although, there are constraints for sheep production, available opportunities are to encourage engaging in sheep production. Scientifically proven and efficient feeding packages from locally common available feed resources are required.


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