A new regional livestock association, the North Eastern Africa Livestock Council (NEALCO) has been established by national livestock associations from the North Eastern Africa region. NEALCO's mandate is to promote, coordinate, share information and advocate for enhanced trade in livestock and livestock products within and outside the region. A promotion workshop for NEALCO was held in Kampala, Uganda from 6th to 7th October 2014 with the main aim of introducing NEALCO to Regional Economic Communities (RECs), technical partners, national associations, and relevant national ministries.
On behalf of the Director of AU-IBAR, Dr James Wabacha welcomed all participants to the workshop. He recognized the growing demand for livestock and livestock products in the region. He noted the need for NEALCO to help improve the competitiveness of value-chain actors and promote intra- and interregional livestock trade. AU-IBAR hoped to see NEALCO lead the way in improving livestock trade regionally and internationally. In his remarks, Dr Solomon Munyua, the Acting Director of ICPALD on behalf of IGAD warmly welcomed all participants to the workshop and outlined the story of NEALCO. Starting as an activity within a project, NEALCO had evolved into an institution. A point had reached for traders to take a centre stage in running NEALCO, with the participation of MS, IGAD, EAC, COMESA and AU-IBAR's role being reduced to only providing assistance as prescribed by NEALCO Executive Committee. NEALCO had to concentrate on adding value to livestock products. On behalf of NEALCO, Dr Khalid appreciated the support from AU-IBAR, IGAD and USAID. In his opening remarks, Dr Wesonga on behalf of the Minister for Animal Industry, Uganda, emphasized the need to reduce shocks due to disease, increase livestock production and improve market access for livestock and livestock products in the region. He stated that the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF valued the support accorded by AU-IBAR and IGAD/ICPALD through the SMP-AH project. The Ministry was ready to support empowering NEALCO in its membership drive. The meeting was attended by 37 participants from 11 countries, FAO, AU-IBAR, IGAD, COMESA, Kenya Livestock Marketing Council (KLMC), Kenya Livestock Producers Association (KLPA), IGAD Business Forum (IBF), Agri-profocus, Ethiopian Meat Producers and Exporters Association (EMPEA) and Chama Cha Wafugaji (CCW).