Zambian Government commends the COMESA and AU-IBAR for supporting Livestock and Animal Health in Africa
The Reinforcing Veterinary Governance in Africa (VET-GOV) COMESA regional stakeholders Workshop on livestock and related policies, animal health strategies and veterinary legislation took place in Livingstone, Zambia from 8th to 10th May 2012.
Introducing the Workshop objectives and approach, the VET-GOV Project Officer Dr Baboucarr Jaw stated that the purpose of the Stakeholders Workshop on Livestock Policy and Animal Health Strategy was to raise the awareness among policy makers and civil society organizations representatives and other stakeholders on the need to promote the formulation and implementation of sound livestock policies for economic growth, food security, enhanced livelihood, environmental protection and Livestock producers' resilience in Africa.
Presiding over the opening ceremony, the Zambia Agriculture Deputy Minister, Hon. Brig. Benson Kapaya said livestock agriculture has an enormous contribution and benefits to the national and household economy and to the nutritional wellbeing of the society in Africa. Hon. Brig. Kapaya noted that livestock contributes to improving the welfare of vulnerable groups, such as children and women.
The Deputy Minister noted that livestock is an important contributor to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, because it is one of the drivers and means for improving food security and for the creation of wealth in Africa.
He observed that there is need for the Government of Zambia to work in collaboration with AU-BAR and COMESA and other international organizations, as well as development partners, to improve the level of animal health services in the country.
"Emerging and re-emerging livestock diseases mainly related to the existing climate change and weak institutions pose huge challenges on efforts being made to improve production and productivity of livestock agriculture", said Hon. Brig. Kapaya. He assured COMESA and AU-IBAR that his Ministry will take recommendations and decisions from the stakeholders Workshop seriously and include them in its future improvement of livestock policies, animal health strategies and legislations and facilitate their implementations.
Speaking during the same occasion, COMESA Secretary General, His Excellency Mr Sindiso Ngwenya in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Salim Shamseldin, the COMESA Agricultural Economist Mr Ngwenya observed that there is more that needs to be done in order to prevent and control animal health problems as well as improve production and productivity of animal agriculture, if the COMESA region is to realize its dreams of being a vibrant competitive region in the global economy.
Mr Ngwenya commended AU-IBAR and other partners, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for supporting implementation of the VET-GOV Project in Africa because it will not only help Africa improve animal health and production, but also open up access by member countries to high value market.
"COMESA is happy to note that the VET-GOV Project is well linked to what the COMESA agriculture program is trying to achieve in the region", said Secretary General.
Also speaking during the official opening, Prof. Ahmed El-Sawalhy, the Director of AU-IBAR, explained that the VET-GOV Project was launched on January 16, 2012 at AU-IBAR in Nairobi, Kenya. The Project will have a continental coverage and will be implemented in partnership with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), FAO and the OIE.
Prof. El-Sawalhy explained that the strategic goal of the program is to bring about institutional strengthening of veterinary services towards the establishment of adequate veterinary services at the national level and to strengthen regional institutions in Africa to play their roles of coordination, harmonization, integration and support to countries with the aim of stimulating a more conducive environment for public and private investments in the livestock sector.
The COMESA Regional Coordinator of the VET-GOV project, Dr Yoseph Mamo, noted that, in order to realize good Veterinary Governance in Africa, there is crucial need for appropriate policies, strategies and legislation in animal health field to be strictly implemented through appropriate national animal health systems.
Dr Mamo said there is also urgent need for rapid responses to animal diseases outbreaks in Africa and also for the implementation of biosecurity and biocontainment measures, if the region is to contain animal diseases. He noted that there is an inadequate level of awareness by decision makers on need for policy and legislative reforms for animal health in Africa, and called for the provision of adequate information on veterinary governance to decision makers.
Representative of FAO at the meeting, Dr Mokganedi Mokopasetso, who is the National Programme Officer of the FAO Emergency Centre for Tranboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) in Gaborone Botswana, said that FAO will provide support to livestock policy formulation and analysis through the provision of experts in various fields during the course of the Project.
Dr Mokopasetso expressed FAO's commitment to working closely with AU-IBAR, the RECs and OIE in raising awareness among policy makers, civil society organisations and other stakeholders on the need to promote the formulation and implementation of sound livestock policies to ensure economic growth and food security in Africa.
At the same meeting Dr Neo J. Mapitse, the OIE Sub-Regional Representative for Southern Africa said ensuring transparency, improving the legal framework and quality of veterinary services are key components that OIE will contribute to the VET-GOV Project.
Dr Mapitse said OIE is committed to collaborate with its partners and use its initiatives and the VET-GOV Project to sustainably strengthen the veterinary services in Africa.
|Participants to the workshop|
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