On Wednesday, the 16th of December, 2015, His Excellence, Phil Hogan, the European Union (EU) Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, visited the African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) in Nairobi, Kenya. The purpose of the visit was to officially open the Workshop on Capacity Building in Agriculture Trade Issues and to hold talks with the AU-IBAR management.
Commissioner Phil Hogan indicated that his visit to IBAR was an important part of his mission to the WTO 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi. He said the visit revealed the importance and significance of the work being done by AU-IBAR in relation to the development of animal resources in Africa. He expressed appreciation for the long standing partnership between the European Union and AU-IBAR dating back to the 60s, initially targeting the eradicating rinderpest and currently focusing more broadly on the sustainable development of animal resources. He observed that important lessons had been learned and successes recorded from past and ongoing EU funded programs and pointed out four areas of close partnership between the EU and AU-IBAR focusing on veterinary and fisheries governance, sanitary and phytosanitary standards, the conservation of animal genetic resources and bee diseases. He further observed that agriculture played a vital role in Sub-Saharan Africa, being a key contributor for the continent’s food and nutritional security and livelihoods for the people.
He reiterated the EU’s strong belief that many networks of cooperation with Africa could contribute to the transformation of Agriculture on the continent and that it remained a major strategic development and trading partner for the EU. He called for the diversification of the export base through value addition and modernization of production and capacity building of small holder farmers to enhance compliance with SPS standards. He also expressed the need for more investments in livestock agriculture especially given its potential for job creation for the youth to stem migration. He noted the EU’s achievements in reducing greenhouse effects, improving genetic resources, adaptation of technology and provision of incentives to farmers. He announced that EU was committed to the establishment of the African Food Safety Authority in line with the Joint Africa-Europe Strategy (JAES). In this regard he foresaw a vital role for AU-IBAR in the joint initiative.
Earlier, the Director of AU-IBAR, Professor Ahmed El-Sawalhy warmly welcomed Commissioner Hogan and expressed gratitude for the Partnership with and assistance from the EU, which had significantly enhanced the livelihoods of livestock dependent people in Africa. He outlined a number of areas of success resulting from the partnership with the EU, which were also emphasized in a detailed technical presentation made later, that highlighted the eradication of rinderpest and increasing coherent African voice in global forums on animal health, food safety and trade issues, among others.