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Beef farming is one of the most crucial economic activities in Ethiopia considering a majority of its locals being agro-pastoralists. A large number of populations is located in rural areas, and animal farming is normality to them. Cattle have a variety of benefit for the locals such as milk, hides, meat and butter. Also, slowing plowing is still used in large-scale farming as the majority cannot afford the use of machinery.
Cows were first domesticated around 10500 years ago, ever since; they have been contributing to man’s life directly in many ways. Currently, Ethiopia is home to most cattle in Africa it holds about 45.7 million herds of cattle. Despite this, it’s still not the top exporter of beef in Africa meaning that is has a lot of potentials. Most of the beef cattle are bred purposely for meat. That is, you’ll find bulls being castrated at their early stages as a means of fattening them. Annually, Ethiopia now exports about 12000 metric tons. Currently, a kg of beef goes for about $5 on retail which is an estimate of $5000 per ton though, the prices are pre-determined by the seasons. For example, during the wet seasons that are between June and August, the prices are at their peaks since the animals are at the peak of their bloom. One of the leading countries that import Ethiopia’s beef is the UAE followed by Saudi Arabia. Also, quite a number of African countries do import beef from Ethiopia. They include; Egypt, Congo Brazzaville Cote d’vor. Currently, Ethiopia captures about 12% of the total beef market in Africa.
Forms of export
As much as there are various forms of export, the most common in Ethiopia is chilled Ethiopia beef. To help ensure the continuous availability of beef, the government has come up with abattoirs that process canned meat for both domestic and export purposes. They are located in Addis Ababa, MelgeWondo, Dire Dawa, Kombolcha, Gondar and Debre-Zeit.
Feeding and nutrition
Ethiopia is well known for its naturally fed cattle. Statistics currently show that 62% of Ethiopia’s cattle are grazed, 28% feed on crop residues, 6% feed on hay this is especially common in urban and semi-urban areas and 1% are feed on by-products
Health care of beef cattle
The incidence of disease is quite low as in beef breeds compared to other breeds in the species of livestock. Some of the common notifiable disease in beef cattle production is a natural, brucellosis, foot and mouth disease bovine tuberculosis and rabies. Since they’re quick to notice, the most important thing is that the responsible bodies should immediately report this to the concerned health officials.
Breeding of beef cattle
Beef breeds are generally noted for early maturity, high-quality meat that is seen as marble like due to the fat deposits between the muscle fibers, they also tend to have a large percentage of carcass as well as minimum offal .they are categorized into either humped or humpless. In Ethiopia, the main breeds used for beef farming are the borane and the zebu.
Beef cattle housing and facilities
Although most of the farmers use open field system to graze the castles since they’re based in rural areas, there is a good number who reside in urban and semi-urban areas that don’t have that much land hence have to confine their animals. In cases like this, well-planned buildings, feeding bunks as well as handling facilities are crucial. Beef cattle are not necessarily sensitive to changes in weather conditions but there is shelter to protect the calves during rainy seasons.
Slaughtering and processing of beef
Usually, the selected animal is healthy and is kept off feed for 24 hours prior to the slaughtering but has continuous access to water. They are not run or whipped as this causes a bloody appearance on the beef.
The slaughter is done in a dust free area that is clean and dry. There is also the availability of clean cold water. On slaughtering, clean equipment is used as well as the work and storage areas are kept clean. After slaughtering, the carcass is kept in a clean cold-room where a health officer inspects the meat. Once the meat has been authorized, it is then packed according to the clients’ specifications. Mostly, they’re packed boneless to avoid rapturing the wrapping paper.
Once it has been wrapped, It is frozen in temperatures between 0-60c to prevent spoilage. The meat should be consumed within 12 weeks.
Call to action
Because Ethiopia is home to over 50 million cattle, this shows the availability as well and reliability when it comes to considering getting beef from Ethiopia.
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