Climate Smart Dairy Farming Practices for Greenhouse Gas Mitigation and Food Security Benefits in the Selale Highlands of Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


Globally, there is a rising pressure on livestock production to boost productivity in order to increase income and food security, reduce GHG emissions, and strengthen farmers’ resilience to climate change effects. The overall objectives of this study were to investigate the economic and environmental benefits of climate-smart livestock farming, with particular emphasis on smallholder dairy farms, as well as the factors influencing the adoption of improved dairy technologies in the Selale milk belt, central highland of Ethiopia. The present study adopts a mixed research design with data from household surveys, livestock activity, and biological data. The econometric model, principal component analysis, lifecycle assessment, ANOVA, and IPCC Tier II were employed for data analysis. The result showed that most farmers had modest awareness and perceptions of climate-smart dairy farming practices and expressed a positive attitude towards reducing GHG emissions from animal agriculture and a willingness to adopt or promote the farming practices. Resource constraints, supply chain bottlenecks and market linkages, inadequate services, and a scarcity of information on dairy management have been reported as hindering improved dairy technology adoption and implementation in the study area. The adoption of a few or an integrated package of improved practices had significant impacts on farmers’ food security. The overall average carbon footprints (CF) of milk production were 1.91 and 2.35 kg CO2e/kg fat and protein corrected milk (FPCM) (IPCC (2007) and IPCC (2014) GWPs), respectively, and have shown significant variation across farming systems. Enteric methane emissions using IPCC Tiers have shown up to 22.1% and 59.6% lower than the IPCC's (2019) default emission factors for dairy cows and other cows, respectively. Methane emission intensity has shown significant variation across the intensification gradients. Finally, our findings concluded that using climate-smart dairy practices would increase animal productivity, reduce GHG emissions, and enhance farmers’ food security, thereby contributing to the country’s suitable development goal.