Livestock and Fishery Research Centre in the span of two years from its inception is aggressively working on forages development, dairy farming; and many researches on fisheries, apiculture, animal feed and nutritional experiments on livestock to ascertain their productivity potential are underway. And LFRC is likely to establish dairy and sheep breeding farm at Gircha in Chencha and Bonke woreda, informed its Director, Mr Chencha Chebo.

Elaborating further, Mr Chencha, said, currently we have bought 5 Boran heifers and 2 Holstein bulls from Alage Agricultural, Technical and Vocational College and as soon as heifers get mature, they would start producing milk. Our prime aim is to increase numbers of animal so that we can produce and forthwith would go for organized research.

Presently, LFRC has 14 different researches in the pipeline especially animal cell research is identifying gastro-intestinal parasites that limit the production potential of animal. Dissection of Tsetse flies will enable us to analyze pathogenic load of the areas and identification of their gender will reveal the extent of the damage caused by them so that required remedial measures will be devised, he added.

Hereto, with 10 heifers and 2 Holstein bulls, we are establishing dairy farm at Kulfo Campus; and conduct integrated research. Therefore, we may develop research proposals for nutritional experiments and trials on them. Now 5 heifers and 2 bulls are being fed with different fodders for nutritional trials to know which one trigger better growth hormones, highest digestibility and better milk production potential. We even tried artificial insemination for cross-breeding, but now Holstein bulls will identify heifers ready to mate that will consolidate conceiving probability in them, he stressed.

Similarly, in Arba Minch, LFRC is growing legumes’ forage like alpha-alpha, lablab and sesbania that can adapt to hot climate. Few forage species collected from Mirab Abaya, Arba Minch Zuria, Jinka and Konso to detect toxicity in them that harms cattle in both Gamo and Gofa zones and these species have been taken to Addis Ababa-based herbarium where they will be christened; it will help us to aware the farmers so that they can keep animals away from it.

LFRC is also identifying challenges like access to market, advanced technologies and lack of training to apply them; traditional techniques of farmers and feed shortages, etc often limit livestock productivity.

In Gircha, LFRC is growing highland improved forages like elephant grass, oats, phalaris, desho grass, fodder beet, etc which have been distributed to 60 farmers. Basically, herein our aim is to ensure feed security for animals for major challenges are shortage of quantity and quality feed. And, to deal with this issue, we have identified some nutritious legumes’ forages and grass species that contain protein & carbohydrate.

In addition to this, LFRC will soon launch a dairy farm at Gircha for milk production and research purpose that will house 50 to 60 pure exotic highland cattle. The farm is expected to incur around ETB 2.8 million that has been granted by AMU. Since dairy farm is cost-intensive it may take 2-to-3 years to get fully operational. Beside forage production, Bonke station is likely to have sheep breeding farm, he said.

On fishery, Mr Chencha, said, we have two field researches on fisheries probing density of fish species and production potential in both Abaya and Chamo lakes and assessing factors that limit fish production. We will go ahead with the plan to construct artificial pond at Kulfo for aquaculture; in apiculture, field research is going on to investigate as to which forage is productive for honey production, he quipped.

Since the volume of research is on the rise and mandate is widening, we would need more researchers; it will enable us to probe into areas like socio-economic research at Gircha, Arba Minch and Bonke stations. Lack of separate infrastructure, facilities like Xerox machine, field car are the greatest challenges; we have just one room for staff members despite lack of facilities we are busy in many researches for I believe in that the show must go, he summed up.

(Corporate Communication Directorate)