Improving investment opportunities and competitiveness of animal resources in Africa.
To improve public and private sector investments in animal resources in Africa and enhance the competitiveness of African animal products at the national, regional and global levels.
1. The context
The livestock sector receives a disproportionately low share of the agricultural budget compared to its contribution to GDP. At the AU summit in Sirte in 2009, African leaders reiterated the need to allocate at least 3% of their national budgets to livestock. There is, however, inadequate data to demonstrate quantitatively the role of animal resources in African economies, and to use such data to create broad awareness among policy-makers and investors.
Rapidly growing and changing product markets in the developing world provide real opportunities as well as significant challenges for participation in growing markets. Threats to smallholder farmers arise from the increasing integration and complexity of markets for animal products, including an increasing demand for food quality, safety and convenience. At the producer level, constraints to smallholder production include inability to produce consistent quality products due to lack of access to appropriate technology, lack of inputs and resources, poor access to information and the variability of production conditions.
2. Main challenges
In order to improve investments in animal resources and capture market opportunities open to African animal producers a range of issues and challenges must be addressed. These include:
- How to choose the best investments in key animal resources based on economic growth, poverty alleviation, food security and gender.
- How to put together effective, evidence-based advocacy using available data and information to create awareness among policy-makers at national and regional levels, and to get national governments to commit and honour increasing budgetary allocations to animal resources development.
- How to improve performance of public animal resources investment at regional and national levels and promote private sector investments.
- How to improve product quality, consistency and quality assurance arrangements (including standardization, classification and attention to SPS issues) at the producer, national and regional levels.
- How to link actors along the value chain, so that demand for specific products of animal origin is efficiently and effectively met by producers and value-addition operators.
- How to level 'the playing field' in international markets to create new openings for African exports, but recognizing that the priority has to be the massive African market.
With regard to investments in animal resources, there is growing awareness by African governments that the Livestock Revolution is real and provides opportunities to use animal resources as a pathway to poverty reduction, while generating additional foreign revenue and facilitating the substitution of the current significant imports of animal products by many African countries.
The specific opportunities include:
- Increased and diversified consumer demand for animal resources products in local and regional markets.
- Evidence for successful and sustainable commercialization of certain livestock enterprises and poverty alleviation benefits from such investments.
- Evidence that some countries and the AUC are committed to investments in animal resources as a wealth creation tool.
- Acceptance by African governments of initiatives to lower barriers to intra- and inter-regional trade in animal resources and animal products.
- Growing recognition by Member States of the potential role of animal products in foreign revenue generation and import substitution.
- Emergence of private sector interests in investments in livestock and fish farming, including provision of services and credit facilities.
- Access to EU markets through the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA).
4. Key Results Areas
The key results cover efforts to increase investments in animal agriculture (including aquaculture and fisheries) and to enhance commercialization and competitiveness, especially of smallholder animal agriculture. They include:
- Strategic communication of evidence of animal resources development benefits for economic growth, poverty alleviation and food security.
- Gathering information/evidence and developing tools, case studies or templates and providing expert support to RECs and Member States in revising country animal resource investment plans and increasing public and private animal resources investments.
- Providing support and capacity development for strategic analysis and monitoring, and evaluation of animal resource investment performance and opportunities.
- Improving pastoral areas development/investments agendas.
- Facilitating research to support animal resource investments.
- Enhancing smallholder market orientation and competitiveness.
Outcomes and impacts
By providing data, information and knowledge critical for producers and actors along the animal resources market chains, this programme has significant potential to provide essential access to investment performance data and hence to increase competitiveness of Africa's livestock keepers, allowing them to make objective assessment of different options (species, breeds and systems, e.g. smallholder versus industrial). A major expected outcome is increased private and public investment in animal resources based on hard evidence, e.g. on the contribution to GDP.
5. AU-IBAR's roles and strategies to achieve desired goals
- Develop communication, public relations and convening approaches of different types (electronic media, policy briefs and ways of convening policy makers). Proactive communication and convening of strategic stakeholder groups has not been effectively done in the past by lead organizations working in animal agriculture.
- Create regional coordination through links between AU-IBAR, RECs, responsible government departments and research and development institutions with private sector organizations. RECs are becoming stronger and have increased profiles and clout that can be used to facilitate advocacy and coordination.
- Implement modern knowledge management strategies to combine tools, approaches, evidence and demands that go beyond conventional databases. Include mechanisms/ platforms and forums for sharing market information (building on existing databases) and providing networks for traders and key service providers, creating organisational frameworks to support them, across countries (see Knowledge Management programme).
- Identify development opportunities and how innovative input services and approaches can contribute to promotion of pastoral investments and empowerment. This has to go beyond single technical solutions to consider broader systems-based context in which pastoralists operate. Explore opportunities for characterization and branding of animal resources originating from pastoral areas, so as to access niche domestic and regional markets, e.g. organic or ethical markets.
- Provide advocacy and capacity building to enhance smallholder commercialization and competitiveness (see Key results areas above).
- Conduct a continent-wide analysis of market behaviour and trends for animal resources and products, including data available from already completed studies, and make these available to RECs and Member States.
- Provide literature with policy guidelines and the knowledge necessary to Member States and RECs for enhancing traderelated business environments.
Some of the specific strategic roles for AU-IBAR in this programme are:
- Development of an animal resources knowledge portal at the continental level and acting as the key knowledge broker for certain animal resource domains (disease control, standards and regulations, and other data related to trade and marketing of animal products) (see Knowledge Management programme).
- Convener of intergovernmental processes around disease control and prevention, standards and regulations and champion for animal resource development in Africa, providing platforms for setting animal resources agendas at continental level and mobilizing development partners and investors around those agendas; with compelling data and information availed through an effective knowledge management programme, AU-IBAR could transform these occasions into major advocacy events.
- Promotion of environments conducive to partnership with Member States and RECS through supporting the development of regulatory frameworks for increased investments in animal resources.