Adoption of Biosecurity Practices in Smallholder Dairy Farms in Ethiopia
IGP's researcher Simon Nyokabi co-authors a research paper about biosecurity measures in dairy farms in Addis Ababa and Oromia regions of Ethiopia.
25 September 2023
Dairy production is an important livelihood source for smallholder dairy farmers who produce the majority of milk consumed and traded in Ethiopia. Dairy production is, however, constrained by livestock diseases that impact farm productivity, food safety, and animal welfare. Biosecurity measures (BSM) include all risk reduction strategies designed to avoid the introduction of pathogenic infections from outside and minimise the spread of diseases within dairy herds. This study used a cross-sectional survey to investigate the adoption of BSM in dairy farms in Addis Ababa and Oromia regions of Ethiopia. Using a questionnaire, scores for adopted external and internal BSM were calculated based on the Ghent’s University Biocheck tool to compare the performance of different farms in Ethiopia. The weighted external biosecurity score was 49.1%, which was below average (below 50% adoption), while the weighted internal biosecurity score was 55.5%. Low adoption of crucial BSM increases the risk of disease introduction into dairy farms and transmission within herds. Adoption of BSM at the farm level was driven by individual, demographic, and socio-economic drivers, including education, farming system, milk value chain, and farming experience among others. Results of this research reveal low adoption of BSM and the imperative to encourage farmers to implement BSM can lead to a reduction in disease pressures and, thus, a reduction in antibiotic use and increased dairy farms productivity, and improved animal health and welfare. Farmers can be encouraged through proactive engagement with veterinarians and extension professionals. Moreover, creating a favourable policy environment can support farmers to adopt and implement BSM, given the known fact that “prevention is better and cheaper than curing diseases.”