Standards and grading systems have permitted many agricultural commodities for business and safety environment requiring that market participants must achieve higher level of services so as to capture substantial added value. The ecosystems from which pastoralists and other livestock producers derive their livelihoods often go beyond national borders same as the market networks for livestock and its products that provide human populations with opportunities for livelihoods and income growth. However, the varied standards and grades present a monumental challenge to cross-border trade thereby deterring formal trade which is not healthy to the sector. With the expanding globalization of trade, various grades and standards help to set the rules of the game and their implications for the participation and competitiveness of developing countries are becoming increasingly relevant especially across the borders of IGAD MS.
In October, 2015, IGAD-ICPALD organized a a Regional workshop on grades and Standards in Naivasha, Kenya with financial support of Regional Pastoral Livelihood Resilience Project (RPLRP) /World Banks. The workshop established that standards and grades of live animals, meat and hides and skins trade in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda are entirely varied. Ethiopia has applicable national standards and grades for the three commodities while Kenya and Uganda have grades and standards for meat and hides and skins only. As for live animals, Kenya has national guidelines only applicable in agricultural shows, producer associations, Breed societies and National Livestock Marketing System while Uganda has none.
As a follow up of the recommendations , the regional TWG held on 16-17th May, 2016 in Elementaita, Kenya reviewed progress so far reached towards achievement of harmonized grades and standards on live animal, meat and hide and skins in the three MS. The workshop opening remarks were made by Dr. Ameha Sebsibe on behalf of Dr. Solomon Munyua, the Ag. Director of ICPALD. The TWG did some work on harmonization and shared assignments to finalize. The following terms of reference for the working group, roadmap and recommendations were reached:
Terms of reference for technical working group
- Undertake further review of the draft standards at each country’s national level with the support of technical personnel and national standard agencies
- Design strategies for advocacy at individual directorates (Veterinary, Livestock production and policy) and Ministerial levels aimed at adoption of the harmonized standards and grades of the three commodities
- Embark on sensitization trainings/workshops and awareness creation to the public for their contribution towards the harmonization drafts
- Conduct benchmarking missions by the RTWG into member state countries to have first hand view of the developed standards and application to identify the real and perceived existing gaps and challenges with a view to developing any foreseeable mitigation measures
- Convene a regional technical working group workshop to finalize the draft and facilitate its processing through the national bureau standard agencies for adoption and final gazettment and operationalization
- Undertake massive public awareness creation by each TWG at national level to ensure wider audience by the public and mainstream stakeholders for understanding and buy-in
- Develop promotional materials of the harmonized grades and standards for dissemination
- Undertake any other tasks as may be assigned by ICPALD or the standard agencies
- Fast track the harmonization of grades and standards of the three commodities so as to enhance regional and global trade of the commodities
- The harmonized grades and standards once approved should be disseminated far and wide to the public and mainstream stakeholders using wide audience reached through various media means The harmonized grades and standards should be rolled out to other IGAD MS
IGAD-ICPALD expresses appreciation to the RPLRP/World Bank for funding this activity