Accepted 16th May, 2018.
Livestock production in Ethiopia is the major sub-sector of agriculture with great potential due to its abundance of natural resources, a suitable climate and large cattle population. This study was carried out in the Amhara region (Bure district) where dairy farming plays a key role in people’s livelihoods. The aim was to characterize the area’s dairy production system and current and potential marketing participation. So far, most dairy production is for self-consumption and market oriented dairy production is still developing. Semi-structured questionnaires were administered to a randomly selected sample of 90 dairy producers across three production systems (rural, urban and peri-urban).Larger cattle population (9.97+0.77) was found in rural dairy production than the urban (7.57+0.84) and peri-urban (6.40+0.69 head/hh) systems. More cross breed cattle were found in urban (4.03+ 0.62 head/hh) than peri-urban (0.3+0.12) and rural (0.07+ 0.05) dairy production system. The average numbers of lactating cows in urban, peri-urban and rural systems were 2.23+1.45, 1+0.83 and 1.87+1.01, respectively. From which, in average 9.35+1.79, 1.22+0.20 and 1.96+0.34 litters of milk was daily produced per household in urban, peri-urban and rural dairy production systems, respectively. From daily produced milk in urban system, larger amount (7.72+1.63 litter) of milk was sold than amount of milk consumed (1.60+0.35 litters) but in peri-urban and rural systems no milk was sold rather it was used only for household consumption. Attela (26.2%), hay (24.3%) and crop residue (22.3%) were primary feed sources in urban dairy subsystem. In per-urban and rural dairy production system, crop residues, attela and grazing were the major feed source to dairy farming. In all airy production system, independent housing system was mainly used to shelter their dairy cattle. It accounts for 93.3%, in urban, 50.0% in peri-urban and 80.0% in rural system. Taking sick cattle to clinic was the primary mechanism used to manage the health problem in urban (74.3%), peri-urban (69.8%) and rural (57.1%) dairy production systems. The dominant cattle types sold in the urban dairy production were male calf and bull whereas in both peri-urban and rural was old cattle type. To improve milk production and market participation in the rural and peri-urban systems, effective and competitive dairy production and marketing system should be developed and also provide intensive extension supports to dairy producers.
Keywords: milk yield, dairy production system, herd structure, lactating cows, market participation