The Horn of Africa countries export 50% of live animals and less than 10% of meat that is demanded annually in Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) countries yet these countries have a preference for livestock and meat from the Horn of Africa region. The limited exports has partly been due to limited coordination between the trade counselors, exporters and chief veterinary officers. The gap has been in terms of real time market information and dissemination on import requirements as well as commodity prices and limited promotional and linkage efforts.
The four days’ training was followed by a one day bonding workshop between trade counselors, chief veterinary officers (CVOs) and exporters from IGAD MS to strengthen their bond, enhance linkages and promotion to spur export trade.
The IGAD Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD), in collaboration with FAO SFE, organized the training of trade counselors in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 21st -24th March, 2016. The activity was funded by an Italian funded project titled: Improving Supply of Safe and Quality Livestock and Meat Exported from the Horn of Africa to Middle East and North African Countries that is jointly being implemented by FAO and IGAD.
During the training, the following topics were covered 1) Overview of the livestock resources and trade and trade limiting issues such as trans-boundary animal diseases (TADs); 2) Ways of market promotion and linkages with state actors and importers; 3) Potential of future opportunities and current challenges faced by livestock and meat export trade and mitigation measures; 4) Good practices of import requirements guided by international and national standards; and 5) Sharing of marketing information and mechanism of sharing with and from trade counselors to livestock producers, traders and export slaughterhouse operators.
The specific objectives of the bonding workshop were:
Familiarization of the tripartite parties (trade counselors, CVOs and exporters) and the role of each actor so as to strengthen bonds and linkage for enhanced livestock market and trade performance; and devise and agree on modalities of getting feedback and support from the trade counselors on sharing of import data; promotions on trade and investment on livestock and meat.
The four days’ training was attended by trade counsellors from, Dubai, Riyad, Jeddah, Doha, Teheran, Cairo, Kenya and Ethiopia embassies. It was also attended by trade and commercial officers from the seven IGAD MS. H.E. Dr. Mesrak Mekonen, State Minister, Ministry of Livestock and Fishery of Ethiopia opened officailly the event after Dr. Patrick Kormawa, OIC; FAO SFE; and Dr. Solomon Munyua, Ag. Director of ICPALD made the opening remarks. The training concluded with a one day bonding workshop on 25th March, 2016. The bonding workshop was attended by trained trade counsellors, trade and commercial officers, CVOs and export traders from IGAD MS.
The training and bonding workshop made the following recommendations:
- Ensure collaboration with relevant stakeholders in developing a sustainable national and regional information system for collection, analysis, compiling and dissemination of market information as well as SPS, quality and regulatory requirements,
- Enhance the coordination and communication among stakeholders for timely collection of relevant information related to livestock and meat marketing, SPS, quality and regulatory requirements from the MENA region,
- Ensure collaboration between all stakeholders in development and efficient and effective utilization of promotional materials and branding strategies as to sustainably enhance livestock and meat trade from the IGAD region,
- Facilitate linkages and negotiations between competent authorities of importing and exporting countries as to enable signing of firm trade protocols,
- Facilitate linkage and business negotiations between business communities in IGAD region and trading partners in MENA region,
- Encourage and attract domestic and foreign private sector investment in the sector in order to upgrade the working capital, technology, good practices or know-how for transformation and value addition in the livestock and meat sector,
- Develop branding and positioning strategy as to maintain and enhance the competitiveness of live animal and meat export trade to MENA region,
- Build the capacity of MS for compliance with growing SPS and quality requirements from trading partners in MENA region,
- Harmonize the overall livestock disease control supported by livestock identification and traceability, surveillance, laboratory testing and certification procedures within the IGAD region, advocate and negotiate accordingly with regulatory authorities in MENA countries,
- To have a focal point to be supported by IGAD ICPALD and attached to one of the member state embassies that will serve as a coordination hub for promotion and information sharing.
Finally the trade counsellors were provided certificate of attendance by Mr. Andrea from the Italian Development Cooperation. IGAD-ICPALD expresses appreciation to Italian Development Cooperation for financing this event.