By Olika Urgessa, cooperative advisor Ethiopia
Chercher Oda Bultum Farmers’ cooperative union (COBFCU) in Ethiopia is one of the fast-growing cooperative unions. Currently, the cooperative union consists of 144 primary cooperatives with a total of 43,576 individual farmers.
The cooperative union has been a client of Agriterra since 2018. Its main activity is to market members’ produce and to distribute agricultural inputs and consumer goods to the members and non-members. Currently, they are managing numerous projects, including a dairy farm that, since 2021, has been receiving capacity-building support through the Agriterra-SNV-BRIDGE project. The dairy farm covers 20 hectares of land and has a total of 576 crossbreed cows.
Currently, the union is providing Artificial Insemination (AI) services to members of cooperatives near the dairy farm. In 2021 the farmers obtained service at the union dairy farm. In 2022 the union decided to address more members for AI service and purchased a motorcycle for transportation and increased the number of services from 15 in 2021 to 258 in 2022.
As a result of the motorcycle, the AI service reached more farmers
The AI service, started by the union, has yielded impressive results. Agriterra and COBFCU hired two AI service technicians with the objective of providing service at the union dairy farm and providing insemination service to members’ cows nearby the farm. Within two years’ time, the technicians have provided AI service to cows of 273 individual farmers and cows of 75 dairy farms.
AI service to the members of the cooperative
Members of the cooperative appreciated and benefited from the service provision of the union. The farmers are paying a reasonable price for the service with the objective of making the service more sustainable and covering costs related to AI. The farmers are happy with the service and payment modality that enable the union to expand the service to members.
In the future, the cooperative union plans to encourage newly established dairy primary cooperatives to hire AI service providers, so that the number of crossbreed cows increases, resulting in increased production and productivity through genetic and feed improvement.
Individual members of the cooperatives accessed AI service from the cooperative-hired technician for a reasonable price. With one call, the farmers immediately reach AI technicians and in case the network is poor they bring their cows to the AI service provision site established by the dairy farm.
AI service provision will be sustainable as long as members are willing to pay for the service. The initiative of the union is appreciated by government offices organising a similar activity but lack budget to offer the service to farmers.
The AI technicians have mastered the AI service provision and participated in sexed semen demonstrations provided to selected cows of members. Quality service encourages members to support extension services through cooperatives.