The National Veterinary Institute /NVI/ was established in 1964 at Debre Zeit by the Ethiopian Government in collaboration with the government of France. NVI is the only veterinary vaccine production center in Ethiopia. Scince July 1999, it became a public enterprise, by decision of the council of ministers No. 25/84.

Veterinary activities were introduced for the first time in 1885 in the present state of Eritrea with the aim of vaccinating Italian military horses and mules against African Horse Sickness.
In June 1964, the technical and Laboratory parts were physically detached from the general National Veterinary activities, and transferred to Debre- Zeit under the name of “Imperial Veterinary Institute”.

The present National Veterinary Institute (NVI) was established at Debre-Zeit with 40 persons under the Ministry of Agriculture, getting technical assistance from the French Government through the French Veterinary Mission in Ethiopia. At that time, the real value of the NVI for the welfare of the national animal resources and for the African continent is not well known by most of the people. Today it is one of the most well known veterinary vaccine producing institutions in Africa with its professional staff having long experience of  more than forty five years.

The infrastructure of the NVI is well developed and playing an important role in the attraction of international Institution, the Pan African Veterinary Vaccine Control Center (PANVAC). Moreover, it has been given the responsibility to produce and supply enough vaccines for PTA (Preferential Trade Area) countries of Eastern,Western and Southern Africa. For its biological production the institute has reached the level of using modern apparatus state of the art equipments and materials appropriate for modern research and production techniques.
Since the creation of the institute, several millions of dose different vaccines have been produced and dispatched to protect millions of animals form infectious diseases. According to an evaluation performed in 1983 by IEMVT (Institut D’Elvage et de Medicine Veterinaire des pays Tropicaux) on the production potential of African laboratories, the NVI was graded as the biggest vaccine producing center of all veterinary laboratories in tropical Africa.