The only female technician in Artificial Insemination at Halhale Dairy Farm, Asmait Debru grew up at Adi-Tseguar, Adi-Quala Sub-zone, and went to Sawa in 2013 to attend 12th grade at Warsay-Yikealo Senior Secondary School. She then studied Animal Science for two years at Sawa Center for Vocational Training (SCVT). While working at Halhale Dairy Farm, she attended a course in Artificial Insemination (AI) and became a technician. An excerpt of her interview with Eritrea Profile follows.
- What motivated you to become an Artificial Insemination technician?
I had a passion to attend a course in Artificial Insemination since I did a similar course at Sawa Center for Vocational Training. The course I attended at Halhale helped me to master the skill as AI technician, and I am now the only female AI technician in a unit that has five members. I used to work at a dairy farm after graduating from the vocational school, and, fortunately, Eritrea’s Crops and Livestock Corporation offered me a chance to attend in a field of my interest that enabled me to achieve a passion I cherished for quite a long time. It has now been more than a year since I got engaged in this work. I now do everything independently; the insemination and all the recording activities that are quite decisive for the success of the setout goal.
- What was the nature of the training and in what way did it help you get your interest?
The advanced Artificial Insemination course includes practical training provided at Asmara Canneries. The training enabled me to widen the scope of my knowledge in the field. I’ve come to know the benefits of Artificial insemination over the natural process. An artificially inseminated cow is less prone to disease because select and laboratory tested semen is used in the process. I’ve now learned that select cow species at a favorable condition can be effectively inseminated in about 60 days following delivery. Semen from one bull can be used to inseminate over 100 cows, which is an advantage of artificial insemination over the natural process. I am now able to understand the nature and characteristics of Holstein Fresian (HF), Brown Swiss (BS) and Cementla Flecvih (FV), species of cow that have been multiplied at Halhale Agricultural Dairy Farm.
- Do you like working in a profession mostly dominated by men?
I developed an interest in studying Artificial insemination when I was attending General Animal Science course at SCVT. The eagerness intensified when I was offered a chance to attend the course in AI after graduating from SCVT. Since the select species of cows are very huge and tall, one needs to be tall enough to carry out insemination without any difficulty and I was very glad to fulfill that requisite. I am now very pleased to work in this profession.
- What was the reaction of your female colleagues to your decision to learn Artificial Insemination?
There has been a notion that this profession is only meant for males. And some male and female friends expressed concerns that I should rather attend another course. But I was very determined to attend the course. What I learned from the experience I’ve so far acquired is that women are better off than men when it comes to Artificial Insemination. So, there is nothing to be ashamed about; it is a profession that needs to be studied equally by females. I call on all females to study a field of their interest without any prejudice.
- What are your daily activities like and what difficulties have you faced at work?
I have to inseminate three to six and, at times, eight cows a day. I do all the recording on the developments of each inseminated cow to clearly identify the history. I take all the necessary pre-cautions to avoid wastage of semen and do extensive checkups to prevent any case of miscarriage. The follow-ups continue until delivery. I also make the checkups after delivery to make sure that the cow is free from any complication that could prevent pregnancy in the future.
- How do you plan to upgrade your skill?
I am very keen to share the skill I have acquired. I would like to help farmers in remote areas appreciate the benefits of Artificial insemination. It is obvious that farmers work hard to boost their products and try to meet demands with whatever resource they have at hand. Despite relentless efforts farmers have been facing difficulties in increasing their products while adhering to traditional dairy farm activities. So, the benefit of Artificial Insemination is both for the farmers and for the general public. The more the farmers increase their livestock and dairy products, the more people will benefit. So, my plan is to work hard to upgrade the skill I’ve acquired and assist as many farmers as possible.
- Do you think you have inspired your siblings and other female students?
Yes, all my sisters are good at school. They have been demonstrating excellence in their academic career. My experience has been a good lesson for them and for other female students in my village.