AU-IBAR, through one of its flagship projects, SMP-AH, created a network of professionals, where experts of the Member States of IGAD would bring about harmonised procedures and activities to manage and operationalize national quarantines with the ultimate goal of improving disease management and trade in the Region and beyond.
The newly created network is intended to improve quarantine standards and practices, as well as foster information sharing on standards, measures and procedures (SMPs) and provide market intelligence.
A total of 17 participants convened in Khartoum, Sudan, from 30th September to 1st October 2015 to launch the network, dubbed “Regional Quarantine Network”. Experts from Djibouti, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, as well as from AU-IBAR, IGAD, OIE, USAID and AU-IBAR took part in the forum.
Highlighting the significance of the network, pertinent bodies, representing their institutions, made remarks during the opening. Recalling the evolution of quarantine stations in the IGAD Region, Dr Ameha Sebsibe on behalf of IGAD, noted that quarantines have taken a center stage since the blanket ban posed on exporting countries of IGAD and EAC by Middle Eastern and North African countries following the outbreak of Rift Valley fever (RVF). The trade negotiations conducted after the ban, he said, necessitated IGAD Member States to establish quarantines to allow inspection and certification of livestock and livestock products by importing countries. Dr Hiver Boussini on behalf of AU-IBAR stressed the role of AU-IBAR in providing guidance on quarantines in the Region. He noted that the Standard Methods and Procedures (SMPs) developed by AU-IBAR, for Export Quarantine is one such instrument to ensure harmonization of quarantine standards in the Region. Recalling the history of livestock auctions in North-Eastern Kenya, Dr Carl Harris on behalf of USAID Office in the Sudan, acknowledged the current efforts to develop quarantines standards at regional level as crucially important to enhance regional livestock trade.
A team of experts launched a study, which would assess the risks of major animal diseases along the Borena-Adama-Djibouti value chain. The study is meant to provide the Ethiopian Government with sufficient evidences on opportunitie and risks on its animal and meat markets along the said value-chains. This will eventually assist the Ethiopian government to table such evidences to importing countires; thereby securing and sustaining regional and international markets for its livestock and livestock products.
The risk assessment study is so important for Ethiopia to meet the standards set by the Middle Eastern countries on the quality of live animals and meat they import from the IGAD Member States. In specific terms, the study is indispensable to increase the level of confidence among traders on sanitary and pyto-sanitory statueses, and avails leverage points during trade negotiations. Knowing the importance of these standards, the Ethiopian government requested its development partners, ILRI and AU-IBAR/SMP-AH to lead and conduct the study.
During the meeting, held on 11th and 12th August, 2015, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, participants prioritised the diseases for risk assessment, mapped out the value chain along the route, generated risk questions and pathways and identified the sources of data and information required for the analysis.
Opening the Meeting, Director of the Ethiopian Veterinary Services, Dr. Bewket Siraw indicated that trans-boundary animal diseases hinder Ethiopan livestock exports and it was high to critically look into the risks associated with these diseases and find suitable remedies to enable expansion of the livestock export markets. This study he said, together with the ongoing Livestock Identification and Traceability System (LITS) pilot programme, would improve access to livestock export markets.
The workshop was organised by ILRI as part of the research activities it implements under the Standards Methods and Procedures in Animal Health Project (SMP-AH) implemented by AU-IBAR in partnership with IGAD with financially support from USAID.
Djibouti, Puntland and Somaliland poised to begin harmonisation and coordination of disease surveillance and reporting activities to jointly prevent and control trans-boundary animal diseases, which have significant impact on trade and livelihoods.
To this effect, AU-IBAR/SMP-AH Project organised a regional workshop, held in Djibouti City from 20th to 22nd August 2015, for frontline animal health workers.
The workshop provided participants with the required knowledge and skills they need to harmonise and coordinate animal diseases surveillance, control and reporting in the region. During the sessions, participants lay down the foundations for harmonization and coordination of veterinary activities and establish the mechanism to exchange animal health information across the Somali ecosystem.
The workshop, which brought over 40 participants together, was officially opened by Dr Moussa Ibrahim Cheik, Director General of Animal Health in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of the Republic of Djibouti. In his key note address, Dr Moussa advised participants to embrace regional spirit and utilise the knowledge they acquired from the workshop to exert a meaningful contribution to control trans-boundary animal diseases and, thereby, increase national incomes and improve the livelihoods of the poor farmers, whose life is heavily dependent on livestock.
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