The countries of the Greater Horn of Africa region are high producers of livestock, which contribute significantly to their economies. To stimulate investment in trade in livestock and livestock products at home, the IGAD Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Developments (ICPALD) in partnership with AU-IBAR organized an experience sharing tour for livestock stakeholders from the public and private sector to Ethiopia from 8th to 14th March 2015.The educational tour of export feedlots, meat plants and other support institutions in Ethiopia was supported by the SMP-AH project and its trade wing-North Eastern Livestock Council (NEALCO). A total of 30 participants drawn from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, NEALCO, AU-IBAR, IGAD/ICPALD and USAID participated in the study tour.
Officiating at the launch of the tour, Dr Solomon Munyua, the Acting Director of ICPALD remarked: "The exchange visit will allow countries to learn from their neighbours, particularly Ethiopia that has been successful in exporting livestock and livestock products. This visit avails an opportunity for other countries to learn from the Ministries of Agriculture and Trade and the private sector how to organize the export trade".
In his remarks, Dr Wabacha, on behalf of the AU-IBAR, pointed out that the Standard Methods and Procedures in Animal Health (SMPAH) project engaged the entire livestock value-chain in order to assist in coordination of disease management and livestock marketing. He advised other countries to learn from Ethiopia and implement the same at home.
Mr Isaac Thendiu, representing USAID, emphasized the need for such learning opportunities to translate into useful applications that benefit common people in respective countries and greater benefits in the region in terms of trade and more income to households.
Participants visited the following enterprises and facilities:
Livestock State Ministry in the Ministry of Agriculture, Addis Ababa; National Veterinary Institute, Debre Zeit; Modjo Modern Export Abattoir, Modjo; Modjo Luna Export Abattoir, Modjo; Modjo Private Feedlot, Modjo; Meki Private Feedlot, Modjo; Camel Export Holding yard, Adama; and National Animal Health Diagnostic and Investigation Centre (NAHDIC) – a Regional Support Laboratory, Sebeta.
Participants were exposed to several good practices and lessons within the Livestock Industry, among which were the following:
- Public and Private sector collaboration promotes trade in livestock and livestock products;
- Private Export Abattoirs that are HACCP/ISO-22000 compliant;
- Use of feedlot livestock finishing system in fattening livestock for better body weight, meat quality and prices;
- Collaboration between the Ministry of Trade and that of Agriculture in facilitation of international livestock marketing;
- Gender sensitivity in livestock trade;
- Integrated laboratory services for livestock disease screening and diagnosis to encourage internal livestock disease control and export certification.
- Provision of vaccine production as well as diagnostic services by the National Veterinary Institute (NVI);
- Good work by the private sector in integrating feed production, feedlots, abattoirs, ranching and contracting pastoralists as out growers;
- Clustering of feedlots.
Lessons were learnt on:
- The importance of having a conducive policy environment for investment in livestock trade;
- Emerging interest in value addition on livestock and livestock products to maximize profits;
- Inter-sectoral integration to facilitate linkage between livestock supply and marketing;
- Collaboration between the public and private sector to improve livestock production, health and marketing;
- Strong government commitment to the livestock sector;
- Value-addition on horns and bones from Kenya;
- Sale of skin-on meat to Vietnam by Tanzania; and
- Promotion of Animal Welfare through appropriate legislation in Sudan.
In addition to learning from the Ethiopian private sector, participants shared information about trade in livestock and livestock products in their respective countries, namely, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
While concluding the tour, the following was recommended:
To Member States (MS)
- To develop and adopt favourable policies for the livestock sector;
- To allow the public sector (government) focus on policy, regulatory and quality control functions while the private sector concentrates on enhancing investment in livestock development and self-regulation;
- To establish quarantines facilities meeting minimum standards.
To MS and NEALCO
- To address deficiencies in livestock marketing logistics and infrastructure;
- To develop strong market-oriented livestock production systems.
To MS, NEALCO and Investors
- To enhance investment in livestock production and productivity in countries through public and private collaboration.
- To MS, NEALCO, AU-IBAR and ICPALD
- To explore livestock trade opportunities to diversify export markets;
- To develop regional linkages in addressing gaps in livestock marketing especially measures to eradicate informal trade;
- To undertake corporate or joint efforts in livestock trade to address sanctions and bans that seriously affect the livelihood of stakeholders;
- To address challenges in fodder production and rangeland management in the region, including setting-up a relevant platform.
To MS, NEALCO, RECs, AU-IBAR and ICPALD
- To enhance collaboration and harmonization of livestock marketing approaches.
To National Associations, NEALCO, Civil Societies, AU-IBAR and ICPALD
- To enhance advocacy for more investment in livestock development by national governments.
Moving forward, participants were encouraged to (i) organize further experience sharing tours for national stakeholders for their countries; (ii) implement similar projects in their home countries; (iii) organize workshops for national stakeholders to share experiences gained from the tour to Ethiopia; (iv) provide briefing and clear recommendations to policymakers; and (v) send feedback and progress on project implementation to ICPALD and AU-IBAR.