A comprehensive study on the cattle production situation owned by refugees and hosting communities in the Gambella region, southwestern Ethiopia
This study was designed to assess the state of cattle production and the contributions that cattle production makes to enhance the livelihoods, food security, and nutrition of refugees and the host community in the Gambella region in southwest Ethiopia. Two hundred fifty-five cattle owners were purposefully chosen for the study, and information was gathered through questionnaires, focus group discussions, and key informant interviews. The average number of animals per household (sd; +0.002 range: 1 to 490) was 32.37. The study observed a total of 8,258 cattle of which 8,146 belonged to the Nuer breed and 112 to the Felata breed. The reason for maintaining cattle varies statistically across the host community, re-settlers, and refugee communities (x2=50.358; p-value =0.000). According to the current study, 92.5% (236/255) of cattle owners used a free-grazing system, and the mean daily milk yield per cow during the dry and rainy seasons, respectively, was 1.35L and 2.09L. All respondents (100%) agree that there exist cattle diseases in the research area, and 79.6% of cattle owners employed traditional medicine to prevent and treat cattle diseases. Some of the potentials for cattle production in the study areas were cultural value, the existence of disease-tolerant breeds, the availability of manpower, and local expertise. Therefore, it is highly advised that a thorough analysis of the various agro-ecologies in the area be necessary to understand the reproductive and productive performance of cattle.