Why Social Economics, Policy and Marketing section in ICPALD?
Despite the huge potential IGAD region has, there are many constraints that impede proper and equitable socio-economic development in the region particularly in the ASALs where about 30% of the region population live and interact.
Among these constraints include (i) climate variability resulting in many hazards such as drought and floods; (ii) intra and inter-state conflicts; (iii) ecological degradation and economic hardships; (iv) prevalence of traditional modes of production; (v) chronic and acute marketing constraints; (vi) inappropriate policy environments (vii) poor quality and inadequate data to inform policies and decision making; (viii) presence of endemic animal diseases and zoonosis (x) increasing population trends coupled with urbanization phenomenon.
Despite these challenges, ASALs are valued as assets not liabilities. This may entails the need for strategic longer term thinking and inclusive planning approach, which is responsive to the political, socio-cultural, economic and environmental aspirations of the ASALs populations.
As an IGAD regional institution, IGAD Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD) was established under the result area: regional institutions established and strengthened to implement and monitor regional polices and regulations, including institutions that service private sector at regional level. This result area was one of six result areas of the Regional Integration Support Programme (RISP), all aiming at developing the capacity of the regional organizations, their member states and partners in policy formulation, implementation and monitoring of regional integration, as well as multi-lateral and regional trade. ICPALD is mandated to facilitate and promote sustainable and equitable drylands and livestock development in the region. The establishment of this centre is a felt need by IGAD and its member states as a result of the realization of the social, political and economic importance of the drylands and livestock to people and IGAD member states.
To achieve its overall objectives and functions, the centre was proposed to include three main pillars, namely livestock development, dry-lands /climate change development and socio-economics, policy and marketing development. This section concerning policy and marketing is vital given the previously mentioned challenges especially having this weak and poorly harmonized policy and institutional environment at both national and regional levels. As well, the trend of our development strategies were designed without considerations to the people welfare and livelihoods and there is now an understanding that livestock has a regional dimension. Moreover, results from the former IGAD-LPI programme, showed that livestock contribution to the GDP has been underestimated. Empirically, it has been approved that there is bias towards crop agriculture as opposed to animal agriculture in IGAD countries. The private sector has minimal or no incentives to invest in the livestock sector despite its economic feasibility. There is also severe lack of adequate and accurate data to inform investments and policies for this sector and also for other sectors. As well, apart from some efforts from development practioners, approaches like value chain for example are minimally implemented and practiced.
Building on ICPALD mandate and knowing the true figures about the contribution of the livestock sector and its potential for poverty reduction, the need to support this sector and other sub-sectors in the ASALs by innovations and research outputs, the growing needs for economic integration, the issue of harmonization of policies, and the need to create linkages between extension, research and policy making among others necessitate the inclusion of this section to ICPALD to be the premier centre of excellence for promoting dry-lands and livestock development in IGAD region.
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DR OSMAN BABIKIR