Regional experience sharing visit undertaken to the Ethiopian Livestock Industry and other support institutes

NEALCO is a regional livestock association established by national livestock association from the North East Africa region whose mandate is to promote, coordinate, share information and advocate for enhanced trade in livestock and livestock products within and outside the region. A regional experience sharing visit was organized for stakeholders from the private and public sector subscribing to NEALCO to export feedlots, HACCP/ISO-22000 certified meat plants and other support institutes (National Veterinary Institute and National Animal Health and Disease investigation Centre) in Ethiopia from 8th to 14th March 2015 to help the participants observe and learn from the above facilities owned and managed by the private sector.

A total of 30 persons from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, AU-IBAR, IGAD/ICPALD and USAID participated in the tour. Dr Solomon Munyua, the Acting Director of ICPALD thanked the host country Ethiopia, USAID, AU-IBAR and participating countries. He acknowledged that the exchange visit was important in that it allowed countries to learn from their neighbours; Ethiopia that has been successful in exporting livestock and livestock products. In his remarks, Dr Wabacha, on behalf of the AU-IBAR thanked Ethiopia for hosting the delegation. He stated that to assist in coordination of disease management and livestock marketing the Standard Methods and Procedures in Animal Health (SMP-AH) project engaged the entire livestock value-chain. The project focusses on capacity building of participating countries. Hence it was necessary for other countries to learn from what Ethiopia is doing in the area of livestock export to allow them implement and or strengthen in their home. Mr Isaac Thendiu, representing USAID, thanked the host country, Ethiopia, AU-IBAR and IGAD/ICPALD for organizing the experience sharing tour for the delegation. He further emphasized the need for such learning opportunities to translate into useful applications that benefit common people in respective countries. Dr. Bewket, Chief Veterinary Officer, representing the State minister for Livestock, Ethiopia provided an overview presentation on the livestock development, the growing trade performance, challenges and future plan.

Some of the major good practices and lessons in Ethiopia: public and private sector collaboration in the promotion of trade in livestock and livestock products,  observations of HACCP/ISO-22000 complaint private export abattoirs, observations of feedlots fattening livestock for better body weight,  meat quality  and prices, integrated laboratory services for livestock disease screening and diagnosis to encourage livestock disease control and export certification, provision of vaccine production as well as diagnostic services by the National Veterinary Institute,  integration of feed production, feedlots and meat plant by the private sector, support of government to create and facilitate clustering of feedlot in suitable areas, importance of conducive  policy environment for investment in livestock trade, inter-sectoral collaboration to facilitate linkage between livestock supply and marketing. Moreover, from the presentations of  other participating countries, it was noted that value-addition on horns and bones from Kenya,  export of skin-on goat meat to Vietnam by Tanzania and promotion of Animal Welfare through appropriate legislation in Sudan can be taken as good practises for consideration by other member states

Some of the major recommendations are: encourage the public sector (government) to 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 address deficiencies in livestock marketing logistics and infrastructure, to develop strong market-oriented livestock production systems, to enhance investment in livestock production and productivity through public and private partnership, to explore livestock trade opportunities to diversify export markets, to address challenges in fodder production and rangeland management in the region, including setting-up a relevant platform, to enhance collaboration and harmonization of livestock marketing approaches and  enhance advocacy for more investment in livestock development by national governments

The group further agreed on the following way-forward for immediate actions: conduct benchmark assessment and experience sharing targeting advanced meat export trade and feedlots, participating member states (MS) to organize workshops with national stakeholders to share experiences gained from the tour to Ethiopia, MS to provide briefing and clear recommendations to policymakers and send feedback on their progress to the organizers of this mission

Finally the private sector participants underlined the visit was an eye-opener and appreciated their counterparts from Ethiopia. All agreed to work jointly for better compliance and growth together as the demand for livestock and livestock products are high within and outside the region

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