IGAD region exports only 50% and less than 10% of live animals and meat respectively to huge Middle East and North African (MENA) countries’ annual demand, an indication of a big potential to exploit if appropriate enhancement measures are taken. IGAD Center for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD) in collaboration with FAO established in 2016 an inter-regional technical committee of Chief Veterinary Officers (CVO) of IGAD exporting and MENA importing countries to frequently discuss and review the impediments to exports; enhance trust and transparency and propose solutions. Prior meetings were held in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
This workshop was organized by ICPALD in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 5-6th February 2020 and was officiated by Hon Dr. Gebregziabher Gebreyohannes, State Minister of Livestock; Ministry of Agriculture, Ethiopia. He emphasized on the importance for IGAD countries to enhance animal disease surveillance, vaccination and disease control as one way of improving compliance with sanitary requirements to increase their market share to MENA countries. In this regard, IGAD member states have signed MOUs on crossborder coordination and collaboration on animal health and sanitary measures, developed Standard methods and procedures (SMP) & Standard operating procedures (SOP) for export quarantines and trained quarantine staff to promote compliance with SPS measure of importing countries. The Director of ICPALD, Dr. Solomon Munyua and FAO Sub-regional Coordinator, Dr. David Phiri made welcome remarks. Twenty three (23) participants who included CVOs and officers in-charge of quarantine facilities from Egypt, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Jordan and CVOs or their representatives from South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia and the Laboratory Manager, Deputy Technical Manager, Djibouti Regional Quarantine attended. After discussing the status of export and compliance from IGAD countries and collaborations, trust and transparency situations on both sides the following recommendations made.
- The exporters from IGAD and importers from MENA countries should be considered in the fifth IGAD-MENA inter-regional technical meeting to learn more from the traders and strengthen linkages and technical support from the regulatory bodies of both regions
- Exporting IGAD countries should harmonize laboratory test kits and reagents with MENA importing countries to minimize detection of false sero-positives and avoid consignment rejections
- IGAD CVOs and technical staff should inform their exporters of any change in import requirements as received from MENA counterparts to mitigate non- compliance with sanitary measures-
- Continue supporting the established IGAD-MENA technical committee to facilitate open communication, enhance trust and transparency to promote trade between the two regions
- Facilitate training for trade agents in exporting countries on basic requirements including proper documentation
ICPALD expresses its appreciation to FAO sub–regional office of Eastern Africa (SFE) for funding this activity.