Livestock is an important sub-component of the agricultural sector and plays a key role in the national as well as household economy. The majority of the smallholder farmers keep livestock in the backyard as a source of food (eggs, meat, milk and honey), as draught animals (ploughing), and as a form of savings and cash to buy food and basic consumables in times of need.
The European Union (EU) supported smallholders in all six Eritrean regions to enhance livestock production and productivity by providing improved dairy breeds, sheep, improved chicken breeds, and beehives with accessories. In parallel, the farmers also received training in livestock production and management. The veterinary clinics and laboratories across the six regions were supported in terms of animal drugs, vitamins and minerals, animal laboratory equipment and consumables, and supply of stand-alone solar photovoltaic systems, guaranteeing a constant supply of energy.
Benefiting smallholders in the Maekel and Northern Red Sea regions received 200 improved and pregnant dairy cows. These dairy breeds are F1 generations of Holstein and Halfa breeds and have very good merits of high milk yields. Each beneficiary received one pregnant dairy cow and agreed by signing a contract to return one female calf in kind to another farmer in the same village.
Farmers in the Gash Barka region received 1 500 sheep of a local breed (five sheep per household), while households across the six regions received 111 240 poultry chicks (25 chicks per household) and 1 540 beehives with accessories (two beehives per household). Also here, a reproduction scheme assures that the effects of the original project are multiplied, to the benefit of additional smallholders.
The EU funded livestock development in Eritrea through the 'Support to the agricultural sector/food security in Eritrea' project (10th European Development Fund). EU Delegation staff, together with Ministry of Agriculture staff and an independent expert, visited some of the livestock activities at the occasion of a result-oriented monitoring mission for the project (17-25 July 2017).