Livestock development policies in Eastern and Southern Africa (2)
Senior livestock policy advisers and experts as well as scientists in the field of animal production and livestock services in 21 Eastern and Southern African countries, as well as representatives of European and international livestock institutions, research organizations and donor agencies took part in a seminar on Livestock development policies in Eastern and Southern Africa from 28 July to 1 August 1997 in Mbabane, Swaziland. The seminar was organized by CTA in collaboration with the OAU/IBAR (Organization of African Unity/Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives of Swaziland, with scientific support from the European Commission (DG VII and DG XII) and the International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR). This was CTA's second seminar on livestock development policies, and built on the experience gained during a similar seminar held in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, in February 1996. The focus then was on the humid and sub-humid zones of West and Central Africa, while the Mbabane seminar looked at Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA). The results of the week-long seminar were summarized in 52 recommendations to strengthen the policy dialogue and promote livestock development in ESA. The seminar highlighted the lack of specific livestock policies in some countries of the region as the major constraint to development. Accordingly, the highest priority was given to building capacity in each country to develop appropriate policies, formulate strategies and evaluate their impacts. The main recommendation for each government was that clearly defined livestock policies be formulated, as well as detailed national strategies and investment plans for the development of the livestock sector. At the same time, it was recommended that each country review all existing policies that may have negative effects on agricultural development such as inappropriate subsidies, taxation on agricultural inputs, price controls that favoured consumers, non-sustainable services like free dipping, liberal importation of livestock and livestock products and communal land ownership. Participants decided that in general governments should reduce their participation in production and marketing of livestock and livestock products, and should support the trend towards privatization in animal health delivery systems, as well as private land ownership and investment. Delegates also emphasized as a matter of urgency, the need to implement livestock development programmes which give specific attention to the identification, characterization and documentation of existing Animal Genetic Resources (AnGR), as well as programmes, including research, for their improvement, increased use and conservation, and impact assessments to ensure that the importation of foreign germplasm did not adversely affect indigenous AnGR. To promote trade at regional level, it was recommended that countries harmonize import and export regulations, as well as policies on standards. In addition, regional policies need to be established to allow for effective free flow of quality information among countries, not only to promote trade but also break the isolation of professionals in various countries. In this connection, delegates felt that international policies should be established to stimulate North-South professional linkages. After the seminar, the recommendations of the Mbabane and Côte d'Ivoire seminars were consolidated into one set of recommendations for an environment more conducive to livestock development in Sub-Saharan African. This was submitted to the OAU Fifth Conference of Ministers Responsible for Animal Resources, which met in Mbabane in the week following the ESA seminar.
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Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation
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