The workshop on the development of the support strategy and action plan for livestock farmers' associations and apex organizations was held at the Naura Springs Hotel, Arusha, from the 23rd-25th April 2014. In attendance at the opening ceremony were the EAC Senior Livestock Officer, Mr Timothy Wesonga, representing the Secretary General of the East African Community, the CEO of Eastern Africa Farmers' Federation, Mr Steve Muchiri and the EU Delegation Programme Manager for Kenya, Mr David Mwangi Njuru. The workshop was opened by Dr Soumare Baba, the Chief Animal Health Officer (CAHO), who represented the Director of AU-IBAR. The participants at workshop were the National Livestock Policy Hub Focal points and representatives of the farmers' organizations from the COMESA, EAC and IGAD Member States.
Cognizant of the inclination of regional farmers' organisations towards crops, there is a need for more clarity on the place of livestock in these farmers' organizations to enable better targeting of VET-GOV Programme interventions. This need informed the decision to commission consultancies on the assessment of livestock related capacity of regional farmers' organisations. The objective of the assessment is therefore to create a better understanding of the place of livestock in these regional farmers' organizations including the scope of issues addressed; capacity and internal arrangements in place to facilitate the engagement with livestock issues for future VET-GOV Programme support.
The specific objectives of the assessment are to:
- Map the regional producer organizations and describe how they have evolved in the last 10 years in form and functions/services provided
- Understand the current scope of work/issues being undertaken/addressed by the regional farmers organizations;
- Understand current institutional and governance arrangements in place in the regional farmers organizations to support livestock related work including horizontal and vertical linkages to national and international organizations;
- Understand the current livestock (by species/value chains and themes) related work (social, economic and political) being undertaken by the regional farmers organizations and strategies used
- Propose strategies to increase national and regional Livestock keeper organizations' role in the internal governance and functions of the regional farmers organizations;
- Identify capacity building requirements needed to support the regional farmers organizations to strengthen their lobbying activities towards livestock related issues e.g ensuring that livestock objectives are included in economic growth, food security and poverty reduction agendas.
The findings of the Study were discussed and observations made for the finalization of the report. The workshop came up with the following recommendations:
At National Level:
- Support for the establishment of livestock councils/ one livestock apex associations at national level;
- Support formation of apex cooperatives for pastoralists associations;
- Provide technical Support to farmers' associations and dairy cooperatives in their structuring and consolidation;
- Support for information and communications sharing and networking;
- Support the building of internal capacity for policy engagement advocacy and policy dissemination;
- Support for evidence based livestock and related policy developments;
- Support and Strengthen national associations (develop national action plans/strategic plans;
- Conduct organizational and institutional development training;
- Capacity building on leadership, governance and advocacy;
- Support investment opportunities in the sector for private sector as well as Public Private Partnership opportunities;
- Support value chain development through investment promotion in the various sectors;
- Capacity building with emphasis on the associations and to the relevant research institution within the industry;
- Support and strengthen the livestock commodity cooperatives/association.
- Harmonize and build synergy with ongoing policy and capacity building initiatives; and
- Deliberate effort should be made by AU-IBAR to support South Sudan on the establishment and operationalization of livestock farmers' organizations and Public private sector initiatives.
At regional level:
- Support Organizational and institutional development and strengthen umbrella regional livestock sector associations;
- Harmonization of commodity tariffs and non-tariffs barriers (SPS Measures);
- Support and backstop the national associations (in all aspects);
- Enhance networking and collaboration so that Regional institutions are able to share the action plans between RECs and Member States;
- Facilitate recognition of the national apex associations and active participation in agenda setting for regional federations;
- At COMESA level, there is need establishing a livestock platform or forum to discuss and address regional livestock issues; and
- Harmonize and build synergy with ongoing policy and capacity building initiatives.