Even if the country is located near the equator, vast areas of the Ethiopian highlands provide reasonably cold environments where dairy farming could be easily undertaken if other necessary conditions were present. Unfortunately, this is not the case and 
furthermore, extensive areas of Ethiopia are inimical to cattle production to such an extent that only the highly adapted and r e 
sistant local cattle breeds can continue to play the extremely im portant role in the economies of these areas that they have there 
at present.


Ethiopia has an area of about l,221.9oo km , fiftythree per cent of which are permanent pasture, eleven percent cultivated 
land and eighteen percent barren desert 'or swamps. The rest are rivers, lakes or forests. Of the estimated population of 27 m i 
llion, ninety percent live in rural areas. Of these, the larger majority lives in densely populated agricultural areas along the 
highland plateau and the rest is composed of semi-settled pastoral people and nomads herding their animals throughout the rangelands. Ethiopia has 27 million head of cattle, 23 million goats, 17 million sheep and 1 million camels (HAILE-MARIAM,1975). In spite of this, the estimated contribution of livestock prouction to the gross agricultural autput mounts only to 25%, mainly through the 
export of hides and skins (LIVESTOCK AND MEAT BOARD, 1971-72). The main reasons for such an abnormal situation are: 1) extensive overstocking and overgrazing, 2) low planes of nutrition, 3) insufficient water supply, 4) lack of adequate marketing and transportation facilities, 5) poor animal husbandry and breeding development and 6) the widespread incidence of various contagious and parasitic diseases.

M. Alberro

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 6. Round tables, , 94–106, 1982
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