The Ghana National Animal Resources Data Management Platform (ARDMP) was officially launched by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) Deputy Minister, Hon. Dr. Hanna Bisiw in Accra, Ghana on 18th August 2016.
The launch was part of a 3 day workshop undertaken to streamline the concept and activities of the national ARDMP. The primary objective of the platform is to improve policy and decision making through improved data collection and management. It’s core activities will be implemented through the support provided by the African Union-Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) under the “Reinforcing of Veterinary Governance in Africa” (Vet-Gov) project.
During the ceremony, the Hon Minister lamented that Africa spends $4 billion each year on import of livestock and livestock products and highlighted the urgent need to reverse this trend. She further highlighted some of the constraints that have continued to be a hindrance in the development of the livestock sector within the continent. One primary issue stressed is the paucity of good quality data and information to support policy formulation and decision making. The Minister reiterated the importance of improved data management as envisaged under this intervention which aims at bringing together all organizations (public and private) that are involved in various forms of animal resources data collection and management across the country into a single platform in order to streamline their activities and strengthen information sharing.
The Director of AU-IBAR, Prof Ahmed Elsawalhy in his speech read by Dr. Ibrahim Gashash Ahmed (Information System manager/Animal Resources Information System Coordinator) highlighted the importance of data and information for policy and decision making. He pointed out that AU-IBAR is supporting all AU-MSs in the area of data management through the ARIS programme, and further said that the current intervention on establishment of national ARDMP is being piloted in selected 10 Member States. He congratulated Ghana for being the 1st country to formally launch its platform.
The Standard Methods and Procedures in Animal Health (SMP-AH) recently organised a cross-border meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to initiate development of binding agreements between Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somaliland and Somalia on Animal Health to facilitate service delivery along their common borders. The purpose is to strengthen cooperation and partnership between countries along bilateral borders to address the common challenges preventing countries and livestock communities trading across the bilateral borders within the Somali cluster. The Memorandum of Understanding develops an agenda to guide implementation that lays the foundation to facilitate prevention and control of various transboundary animal diseases across borders in the Somali cluster.
Dr Yismashewa from Ethiopia emphasized the need for countries in the IGAD region to prevent livestock trade bans in order to enhance livestock trade in the region. “a key challenge is the prevention of widespread disease outbreaks in the region brought about by differing animal health measures implemented by various countries within the IGAD region” said Dr Yismashewa. “I call on countries to strengthen collaboration in the control of transboundary animal diseases and in the prevention of emerging new diseases,” he added. The meeting was attended by 36 participants from Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, AU-IBAR, IGAD Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD) and Oxfam.
To reduce animal health risks associated with trade in Livestock and livestock products in the Great Horn of Africa (GHoA), USAID funded AU-IBAR to implement Standard Method and Procedures (SMP-AH) in Animal Health project. This will ensure livestock meet health quality standards and certification for regional and international livestock markets. To do this the project has built capacity to prevent the widespread presence of diseases that do not recognise borders.
To strengthen more ties AU-IBAR hosted a delegation from USAID to discuss achievements of the project and bidding off Mr. Isaac Thendiu, the outgoing Project Manager at USAID. The USAID delegation was headed by Mr Steve Orr (fifth from the right), of the Regional Economic Integration Office of USAID Kenya & East Africa Mission, who was received by Prof Ahmed Elsawalhy, the Director AU-IBAR (fourth from the right).
SMP-AH project is a 5 year project that aims to stabilize livelihoods of livestock dependent communities by enhancing capacities of all livestock value chain actors to effectively control transboundary animal diseases in a coordinated manner in the following seven countries, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Somalia in the IGAD region.