By: Rosemary Nzuki

Even with the largest livestock population in Africa, Ethiopia does not benefit from its livestock resource due to various factors. The absence of strong market information system is one of the key challenges that resulted in a collaboration between the government of Ethiopia through the Ministry of Agriculture and International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) to address this challenge by developing human capacity on national livestock market information system (NLMIS).

NLMIS is designed to improve access to market information across 47 monitored livestock markets in Ethiopia by providing simple access to timely market information. The system works by collecting price and volume data at designated markets and conveys it to the NLMIS server in Addis Ababa using short message service (SMS) enabled cell phones and a data coding system. This data is then then available to all interested parties via SMS query of the server or through the internet portal (http://www.lmiset.gov.et).

Market monitors in each of the current NLMIS markets, have been trained in data collection procedures and livestock body condition grading protocols in order to capture price differentials in the markets due to breed, age, sex, and grade (fatness) of the animal.

A launch workshop was held in April 2019on the basic use of the system and data request procedures using cellphones and the web – based portal.

Following the launch conference, CIAT provided technical capacity to train staff from the Ministry of Agriculture on basic and advanced skills of the system. A comprehensive training was provided to 20 experts drawn from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Agriculture Livestock market information system and information technology department, Ministry for Trade, Ethiopian Grains Enterprise Agency.

“The newly launched national livestock market information system provides diverse benefits to our association members. The most important information from this system is the ability to link producers with traders to enhance market linkage for domestic and export market opportunities and reduce the influence of brokers” said the President of Ethiopian Live Animal Traders Association, one of the participants.

Mr. Sintayehu Alemayehu from CIAT takes participants through a session during the livestock market information system launching workshop and training in Ethiopia

The workshop was well attended with over 180 participants drawn from the Ministry of Agriculture state ministries, advisors to the ministry, regional and federal agencies, live animal traders association, meat exporter association, regional bureau heads and non-governmental organizations and national media.  This training provided an opportunity to share knowledge, experiences, lessons learnt and good practices for application towards the development of a Unified National Livestock Market Information System in Ethiopia.

The federal Ministry of Agriculture State Ministry H.E. Mrs. Ayanalem Nigusie makes a contribution during the workshop.

It is hoped that participants who attended the training will have an increased awareness and appreciation of the role of a Livestock Market Information System in stimulating and improving household income and general economy. In addition, it is hoped that stakeholders will have the same understanding on what a National Livestock Market Information System can and ought to be.  Also, that the discussions will lead to the generation of ideas for the regional and federal implementation framework.

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