The objectives of this study were to understand the production potential, challenges and opportunities in Hawassa. A total of 132 randomly selected milk producing households (HH’s) were interviewed. Dairy cattle in Hawassa city were mainly reared for commercial milk production. 87.5, 79.8 and 60% of large, medium and small size dairy farms, respectively, produced cow milk for sale. The main feed items available in Hawassa city are crop residues, including stover, grass hay, industrial by-products and to some extent Attela – a by-product of a local alcoholic beverage. Deep wells, tap water and rarely, the Lake Hawassa and accessible rivers are drinking water sources for their animals. The average daily milk yield at household level was estimated to be 13.3, 51.5 and 81.4 liters (L) HH-1 for the small, medium and large size farms, respectively with an average being 20.31 L HH-1. Shortage of animal feeds (26%) is the most important limiting factor of dairy production followed by limited space (23%), and animal disease incidence (18%). Therefore, empowering the urban dairy producers by addressing the hampering problems, are helpful to improve production and increase the income of the producers as well as to fulfill the wide range of dairy product demand in the urban areas.
Key words: Urban dairy, farm size, challenges, opportunities, Hawassa, Ethiopia.
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