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FEATURE STORY July 14, 2020

Ethiopia: Creating Opportunities for Better Livelihoods with Fisheries and Livestock


A World Bank-supported livestock and fisheries project is helping to create new jobs for Ethiopians in rural areas.

World Bank


  • More than one million people in rural Ethiopia are increasing their incomes and heading toward self-sufficiency through a livestock and fisheries development project
  • The project, supported by the World Bank, is helping households use improved management practices to increase the volume and quality of their livestock and fisheries production
  • The project is also creating income-generating opportunities for women and unemployed youth

ADDIS ABABA, July 14, 2020—On a sunny afternoon, a group of young men and women are hard at work in the Dale District of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region, tending to the 300 chickens they are charged with caring for. One group is feeding them, another is cleaning up while a third is taking inventory.  

“I dropped out from school due to lack of support to continue my study,” said Bizunesh Sinuna. “I tried to get a job, but I couldn’t. I joined the group and now I am participating actively on day-old chick management business. I am very happy when I look into our initial result. This encourages me to extend my effort for better success.” 

Bizunesh is among the 1.2 million beneficiary members of the Livestock and Fisheries Development Project in the region, which has significant potential for poultry and sheep production. The project is targeting subsistence farm households who mainly depend on traditional fishing and livestock-keeping. The project is supporting them with the skills, tools and seed capital they need to considerably increase the volume and quality of their produce, which means that they are set to earn substantially more than they would otherwise. 

Hundreds of kilometers away, a group of young men are discussing their new business. The men, who were previously unemployed, are now involved in the fishery business initiated by the project in Amarti Dam, Abaychoman District of Oromia Region. Although the practice is new to the community, it has gathered a lot of interest and is successfully implemented by the young men. 

In two weeks, the group harvested around 820 kilograms of fish and earned nearly $500. In the future, they are planning to sell their fresh product in a shelter which they will construct nearby the local market.  

“Although fishing practice is new to our woreda and particularly to most of us, we are very much happy with what we saw and will continue our engagement,” said Oboma Fufa, one of the men who works at the fishery. “We are extremely happy that we earned money within this short period of time. This encourages us to do better, earn more and change our lives. We are grateful to the project for giving us this opportunity.” 

While Ethiopia’s livestock and fisheries sector has great potential for growth and job creation and supports poverty reduction and food security, it faces a number of key challenges such as limited adoption of improved practices and poor provision of support services, as well as scarce marketing and processing facilities. Through the project, smallholder farmers in six regions—Amhara, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella, Oromia, the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region,  and Tigray— are able to increase their productivity and improve the marketing of their products.  

The project uses an inclusive production approach by targeting disadvantaged groups such as women and unemployed youth who don’t own land, providing them with economic opportunities that will significantly improve their livelihoods. Additionally, it is equipping farmers engaged in the production and processing of dairy, poultry, red meat, and fish with the critical knowledge and tools needed to considerably increase the volume and quality of their produce and earn substantially more revenue.   

“I am a housewife who is totally dependent on the family’s small plot of land for living,” said Alemitu Ababu one of the farmers engaged in red meat production in Benishangul-Gumuz. “Apart from routine household chores I did not have anything to engage with. I gladly joined the project because I wanted to see change in my life.”