Background: Knowing the status of major problems that constrain livestock development no doubt contributes to initiating projects that can help improve productivity and market success of Ethiopian farmers; aiming at contributing to reduction in poverty of the rural poor through market oriented agricultural development. The objective of this study is to characterize the livestock production system and investigating the major livestock health problems in the area.
Methodology: Purposive sampling method was used to select 60 households from four peasant association (PA). A structured questionnaire was prepared and the heads of selected households were interviewed to collect data on production system characteristics and the importance of livestock health problems. Focus group discussion was also made with key respondents from each PA and the participants described the major husbandry problems in their area.
Results: The results revealed that mixed crop-livestock production system is the predominant system and animals are kept in very limited grazing land. The livestock herd was dominated by poultry (36.4%), goat (19.51%), sheep (19.13%) and cattle (18.94%) while the cattle herd was dominated by cows (39.27%) and oxen (12.87%). The main roles of poultry in the area are for egg production (43.79%), sale (29.76%) and meat production (26.43%). The main role of cattle in the farming system is as a source of traction power (41.7%) for crop production while small ruminants as source of income (100%). Equines were used as pack and transport animals. The livestock feeding was mainly based on natural pasture (100%). In cattle; blackleg, mastitis, Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) and calf diarrhea were the most important diseases. Ectoparasite and GIT parasitosis were the most important diseases in small ruminants. Colic and respiratory problems were considered important in equine. In poultry, Newcastle disease was the most devastating disease. Most of the respondents complained that animal feed followed by water shortage is serious problem in the livestock sector. Modern veterinary medicaments (95%) were known and used by most of the farmers, but traditional medicines were also used to a considerable extent (5%).
Conclusion: Emphasis should be given in the animal health delivery to maximize health service coverage of the area and Detail epidemiological studies on major economically important diseases of livestock is recommended to be under taken.