Making cows cooperate

I was fascinated to read remarks by the President of Israel, Shimon Peres on the efficiency of milk production in Ethiopia:

In Israel, we have 100,000 cows that produce the same amount of milk as the 4 million cows in Ethiopia. I’m urging them to work together to increase yields.

It is an interesting observation about how much further there is to go to make agriculture more productive in Ethiopia.

Reading the article as someone who occasionally earns a living by facilitating workshops I wonder how President Peres is encouraging the cows to work together?

Published by Owen Barder

Owen is Senior Fellow and Director for Europe at the Center for Global Development and a Visiting Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics. Owen was a civil servant for a quarter of a century, working in Number 10, the Treasury and the Department for International Development. Owen hosts the Development Drums podcast, and is the author Running for Fitness, the book and website. Owen is on Twitter and

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4 Comments

  1. Especially impressive given that there are >40 million cows in Ethiopia, not 4.

    (maybe 4 million are dedicated to dairy, but I would have guessed more than one in ten…)

  2. Where are the 4 or 40 million cows? I hope everybody who knows Ethiopia know this. They are with 80% of the Ethiopian population who practice diverse agriculture (pastoralist or mixed crop livestock system). In big cities like Addis Ababa, I hope you can find a similar modern dairy system like the one in Israel. I argue Shimon Pres rather to work in changing the life of 80% of Ethiopia – this also requires change of the life style of the Ethiopian pastoralist in sustainable way, change in policies, etc.

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