The Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources of the African Union (AU-IBAR) in collaboration with the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) and the Ministry of Agriculture of the Islamic Republic of the Gambia organized from 24 to 25 October 2016 at Ocean Bay Hotel in Banjul, The Gambia, a regional stakeholders’ workshop under the Reinforcing Veterinary Governance in Africa (VET-GOV) Programme to launch a Regional Livestock Policy hub (RLPH). Twenty one (21) participants representing stakeholders including public and private sectors, civil society, community base organizations, regional and sub-regional research institutions, national livestock policy focal points and FAO attended the workshop.
The workshop objectives were to critically reflect on responsibility and contribution of the regional livestock policy hub in the development of the livestock sector including an action plan and to identify role and steps to formalise the RLPH as a tool of the regional institutions.
The deputy minister of Agriculture, Sheriffo Bojang, presided over the launching ceremony on behalf of his minister. He said the government under the visionary leadership of President Jammeh envisages sector reform of The Gambia Agricultural Transformation Programme.
“This is purposely geared towards providing a comprehensive policy oversight, sector strategy and address the lingering programme of value chain development in respect of commercialisation, input supply, access to affordable agricultural financing and land tenure reform. This is in line with ECOWAS and partners such as AU-IBAR evidence –based advocacy for policies and legislation changes for increased investment in the livestock sector and improvement of critical competencies of veterinary services within AU member states,” he explained.
According to him, the Banjul inaugural meeting is as a result of The Gambia government, ECOWAS, and AU-IBAR’s collaborative initiative to establish regional livestock policy hub for the livestock sub-sector. He described this as timely and most welcoming.
Also speaking at the occasion, Dr. Baboucarr Jaw, the chief Animal Health officer at AU-IBAR thanked the government of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia through the Ministry of Agriculture for having accepted to host the workshop. He also by extension thanked all participants for positively responding to their invitation.
He told the gathering that the meeting seeks to critically reflect on the results of the Lome Workshop and to operationalise a regional livestock policy hub that will guide livestock policy development process in ECOWAS with a view to enhancing participation in regional and national CAADP process and increase investment in the livestock sector.
Dr. Jaw encouraged the meeting to come up with a strategy to support the livestock sector in the formulation of the second generation of the regional and national agricultural investment plans. He also reiterates AU-IBAR’s unwavering assurance to continuously support ECOWAS and its institutions and to foster their exemplary partnership with FAO and OIE. He finally expressed AU-IBAR’s gratitude to the European Union for its continued support.
Mr Ernest Aubee representing ECOWAS acknowledged the support of AU-IBAR and FAO and urged the 15 ECOWAS MSs to seize the current opportunity of the review of national Agriculture Investments Plans (NAIPs) and Regional Agricultural Investment Plan (RAIP) and make sure that livestock is adequately catered for.
Dr Berhanu Bedane representing FAO also emphasized on the urgency to partake in the on-going process of the formulation of RAIP and NAIPs.