Journal Edition: December 2020
Article DOI: 10.5958/2277-8934.2020.00034.X
Published On: 02-01-2021 11:40
R. TREVOR WILSON
Bartridge Partners, Bartridge House, Umberleigh, EX37 9AS, UK
Eritrea and Ethiopia, among the poorest in the world, are independent nations in north east Africa. Ethiopia’s land area is ten times that of Eritrea and its population outnumbers that of Eritrea by a factor of eighteen. Ethiopia has the greatest number of livestock in Africa at an estimated 120 million ruminant animals of which 1.1 million are camels. In contrast Eritrea’s livestock population is under 10 million in which camels may number 320 000. The one-humped camel possibly arrived in the area of study about 1900 years ago. The main areas of distribution are the arid lowlands below 1000 metres altitude although in recent years there has been some range expansion to higher elevations. In Eritrea camels are owned by Beja tribes near the border with Sudan, by Tigre clans in the north and by Afar and some Somali in the east along the Red Sea littoral. Ownership in Ethiopia is mainly by the Somali people and by the Afar in their respective Regional States in eastern Ethiopia and by the Boran in the south. Overall herd
structure shows 40 per cent male and 60 per cent female. The genetic resource is generally referred to by the name of the ethnic group owning it but there are also classifications based on colour. The camel value chain includes milk, meat, hides, transport and medicines with milk for home consumption being the principal product. Welfare is poor by many standards. Camels suffer from many diseases including zoonoses. Trypanosomosis is a major problem as are respiratory diseases and bacterial infections. Ethnoveterinary knowledge is not well documented but is widely understood. Nutrition mainly derives from browse species but a wide range of feed resources is consumed. There is some supplementary feeding for commercial milk production. In the overall national and livestock economies the camel is of minor importance but is a major contributor to household wealth, welfare and food security to the many pastoral families inhabiting the driest and most impoverished areas of the two countries. The paper is complemented by an Annex (Bibliography) with more than 360 references.
Key words: Arid zones, camel trypanosomosis, Camelus dromedarius, disease, genetic resources