This study attempted to assess cattle management and marketing practices in Afar region. 178 household heads were selected and interviewed from three major cattle producing districts, Aysaita, Chifra and Amibara. With an overall average cattle holding of 17.4 heads per household, cattle were kept by 95.5% of the herd owners mainly for milk production. Livestock sale, land rent and crop sale were the first, second and third major income sources for cattle owners of the study area, with index values of 0.455, 0.287 and 0.209, respectively. The major feed resource for livestock in the study area was natural pasture grazing (97.8%). 72.1% of the respondents used rivers as the main water sources for their cattle. 68.7% of the cattle owners sold male cattle at younger age; and 61.5% of them sold female cattle at older age. Most (70.4%) of the producers responded that middlemen were the major buyers of their cattle in the study districts. Feed shortage, diseases and drought were ranked as first, second and third major cattle production constraints, with an index value of 0.418, 0.193 and 0.178, respectively. 40.8% of the respondents stated dry season as the main season of feed shortage. The major prevalent diseases in the three districts were lumpy skin disease, sudden death and pneumonia that ranked first, second and third, with an index value of 0.323, 0.173 and 0.118, respectively. Cattle breeds and market availability can be considered as important opportunities of cattle production in the region though limiting constraints like feed shortage, diseases and drought are possible challenges.
Key words: Afar region, feed resources, cattle production, constraints, pastoral and agro-pastoral, production system.
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