Getnet Seleke, livestock research coordinator at the Amhara Regional Agricultural Research Institute, introduces himself and his work in this one of a series of portraits of key people in the Africa Chicken Genetic Gains (ACGG) program.
Tell us about your background
I have been working on poultry research for about 15 years. I started in the Andassa research centre before moving to the Amhara Regional Agricultural Research Institute (ARARI) where I am now livestock research coordinator, for the region, based in Bahir Dar.
What is your work and what are you currently doing in ACGG?
I was appointed sub-national coordinator for African Chicken Genetic Gains (ACGG) because of my background in poultry. We have a plan to implement this project in five districts that have different agro-ecologies and production systems. From each district, we will select three villages out of which 20 households will be involved in providing baseline data and 40 households will be involved in project implementation.
What are you focusing on right now within and also outside ACGG?
Within ACGG, we are planning activities that will be carried out in two phases: 1. baseline data collection and then 2. implementation.
For the baseline data collection, we have recruited a coordinator and a trainer. Since we are using the Open Data Kit (ODK), which is a new approach, in this process, the enumerators and supervisors will be trained in using the tool to collect and analyse data. The next step, starting from mid October 2015, is collecting baseline data in the Amhara region. The plan is to finish data collection within two months. It’s tedious work that covers lots of issues of economics, marketing, livelihoods and food security etc.
Why does ACGG matter and what gets you excited about it?
I think this project is timely because the Ethiopian government has emphasized smallholder poultry production (family poultry) as part of its national development plan. It’s the right choice to give people high-value protein sources such as eggs and meat and it’s assumed that these animal products will improve nutrition and incomes in communities.
ACGG is aiming to test four or five tropically adapted breeds. If they fit and perform well, the selected genotype will be multiplied and distributed to producers. This will contribute to food security in Ethiopia and will also increase smallholders’ income and improve their livelihoods.
What challenges do you foresee and how would you deal with them?
The concern I have, from my background, is that Ethiopia’s population is increasing and there is high demand for quality animal proteins. Can we respond to that demand? ACGG is focusing on bringing genotypes to test etc. but my concern is about feeding our people. It’s about food quantity and quality (nutrition).
What do you think will be the lasting impact of ACGG?
Hopefully, through this project, we will identify the most tropically adapted genotypes and be able to pass these to producers at the end of the project.
Any other thought?
I think this project will also help address capacity gaps of Ethiopia’s research centres and universities by, for example, offering short courses on breeding, and MSc and PhD courses.