Socio-economics, Research Extension and Farmer Linkage, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR),
Holetta Research Center, P.O.Box 2003, Addis Ababa
Livestock is the essential sector for smallholder farmers in Ethiopia making considerable contributions for rural development as source of livelihoods. However, the potential of the sector is not yet well utilized especially with respect to marketing practices, which is mainly governed by traditional ways of marketing. Prices of livestock at the market are mainly influenced by observable phenotypic attributes while well developed markets depend on measurable attributes, such as weight. The study has identified that body condition and age were the most governing attributes of large ruminants, such as oxen and cows, which affect prices at the market. On the other hand, age and weight were observed to be the most crucial attributes influencing prices of small ruminants, such as sheep and goats. It was also noted that weight and color were essential traits influencing prices of chicken. Age and draught power output were also reported to be fundamental attributes influencing prices of equines.
The implication of identifying phenotypic attributes is that feasible options should be designed to sensitize and create awareness of smallholders on how to maximize incomes from marketing of livestock. This can be achieved by introducing and promotion of different applicable and feasible practices. Some of them could be promotion of improved fattening technologies for different species of livestock. Moreover, it is feasible option to organize experience sharing visits to model areas in improved fattening and livestock management practices. In line with this, publication and dissemination of reading materials in local languages, such as leaflets, pamphlets, fliers, posters, manuals and other similar materials would be very crucial especially for households who can read and write. Training of development agents based at grassroots levels on improved fattening, marketing and livestock management practices will contribute to ensure sustainability of supports for smallholders. The eventual effect of these interventions would be enhancing market participation and bargaining power of smallholders, increasing household incomes and contributing to rural development.
Key words: Customers, income, phenotypic attributes, prices