In a bid to discuss cooperation and collaboration on information sharing and prevention and control of trade-related Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs) at ecosystem level for purposes of facilitating cross-border livestock movement, SMP-AH project held a cross-border meeting for Ethiopia, South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda at Gulu, Uganda from 11th to 13th November 2014. The meeting was attended by a total of 45 participants drawn from South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda, African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), IGAD Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD), FAO and Mercy Corps.
In his welcome remarks, the Director, AU-IBAR – Prof. Ahmed Elsawalhy, represented by Prof. James Wabacha, reiterated the importance of cross-border meetings in facilitating sharing of animal health information and exchanging experience among participating countries. He further noted that cross-border harmonization and coordination of surveillance and control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs) largely facilitated movement of animals for trade and pasture. In his opening remarks, the Chief Veterinary Officer for Uganda, Dr Nicholas Kauta emphasized the need to observe standards while addressing the challenge of TADs in border areas. He recognized that Karamoja cluster had been a reservoir for TADs over the years, whose control had been hindered by security issues that undermined coordination and harmonization of control programmes.
Participating countries highlighted major gaps, key challenges, good practices and lessons-learnt. Notable good practices shared were: multi-stakeholders meetings as exemplified by the Turkana-Amudat cooperation, and the cooperation between veterinary officers and human health staff in control of rabies, RVF and ASF in Busia; community networks for intelligence; joint disease control programmes e.g. vaccination, joint surveillance programmes, imposition of quarantine in case of disease outbreaks at government and community level; ongoing negotiated cross border movement of animals for trade and pasture; adoption of technology in disease surveillance and information sharing such as the Digital Pen Technology for disease reporting; sharing of water and pasture between the Karamojong people of Uganda and Turkana of Kenya, and between the Dukana community in Kenya and the Dilo community of Ethiopia ; establishment of check points and holding grounds to control livestock movement; and sharing of information through veterinary forums and professional associations.
FAO/AU-IBAR Technical Workshop. Nairobi, 27 - 31 October, 2014. The workshop on "Enhancement of Early Warning Systems for Food Safety in Eastern Africa", jointly organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) took place at the JACARANDA hotel in Nairobi from 27 to 31 October, 2014.
Experts in food, agriculture, public and veterinary health from Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania Uganda, Makarere University, Nairobi University as well as representatives from IGAD, AU-IBAR, AU- PACA , OIE, ILRI, WB, WHO, and FAO participated in the meeting. The workshop was organized with the technical support and participation of experts from Cranfield University (UK) and the Institute of Coastal Health in Canada.
The meeting was officially opened by Dr. Murithi Mbabu, representing the State Department of Livestock of Kenya followed by remarks from Dr. Raphael Coly, from AU-IBAR and Mr. Robert Alport, on behalfthe FAO Representative in Kenya.
Following the decision of the African Union Commission to establish the African Union Food Safety Management Coordination Mechanism and Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF), FAO and AU-IBAR are cooperating with other international organizations to support country and regional capacities aimed at effective implementation of the AU decisions.
Nairobi, Kenya. Monday 3 November, 2014. Scientists in a new, world-class laboratory in Kenya will work to protect Africa's bees and help farmers produce top-quality honey and wax for international markets. Located at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) in Nairobi, Kenya, it will improve our understanding of these unique creatures and boost food security by protecting these important pollinators.
Launched today at an event attended by Ambassadors, High Commissioners, government officials and dignitaries from Africa, Europe and around the world, the African Reference Laboratory for Bee Health is the centrepiece of a three-year project funded by the European Union in Kenya worth Kshs 1.7 billion (€14.7 million). It was constructed with the support of icipe's core donors: The German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Government of Kenya, the Swedish International Development Cooperation (Sida), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and UK Aid.
In Africa and worldwide, bees are crucial for agriculture and the environment. More than 70% of the world's major crops rely on bee pollination to produce fruits and seeds. Bees also provide much-needed extra income for smallholder farmers, who sell honey, wax and other products.
However, honeybee populations across the world are struggling to overcome attacks from parasites such as the varroa mite and infection with diseases, as well as the dreaded Colony Collapse Disorder that has decimated bee populations in the USA and parts of Europe. The laboratory will endeavour to understand and prevent these problems from taking hold in Africa.
"Bees and other pollinators are significant contributors to food security and ecosystem health. Bees improve the environment and they do not prey on any other species. Aside from crops, bees also pollinate grasses and forage plants, therefore contributing indirectly to meat and milk production," said Dr Segenet Kelemu, Director General and CEO of icipe.