COMESA has established a regional livestock facility hub which will operate as a network of stakeholders interested in and committed to improving the institutional environment at regional level in order to have effective and efficient animal health, welfare, livestock trade and production services.

The regional hub was launched on 13th April 2017 in Mauritius after a livestock forum.

During the two-day meeting, the delegates critically reflected on potential responsibilities and contributions of the Hub in the development of the livestock sector in COMESA. They developed an action plan that included the steps to formalize the Hub as a tool for livestock development within the 19 member COMESA Region.

The forum was officially opened by the Minister of Agro-Industry of Mauritius Mr. Mahen Kumar Seeruttun who emphasized the need for the region to have harmonized systems which will help develop the livestock sector.

“We do recognize the important role of livestock production in poverty alleviation and providing meaningful livelihoods to a large number of our citizens. We assure you of our support to the Livestock Policy Hub to enable it fulfil its role in the drafting of livestock policies that are meaningful for our farmers,” Minister Seeruttun added.

African Union Interafrican Bureau of Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) Director Professor Ahmed El-Sawalhy, reiterated that his organization was committed to ensure sustainable use of animal resources to ensure maximum contribution to socio-economic development of the continent. He was represented by AU-IBAR Senior Policy Officer Dr Mphumuzi Sukati.

Secretary General Sindiso described the livestock hub as crucial as it will help improve investment, intra and inter regional trade in livestock and livestock products.

“The regional hub will strengthen our regional integration for better control of trans-boundary diseases and improve production and productivity of livestock agriculture for the benefit of COMESA citizens,” Mr Ngwenya said through his representative Director of Industry and Agriculture Mr. Thierry Mutombo Kalonji.

The Regional Livestock Facility Hub is being supported by AU-IBAR through the Veterinary Governance (VET-GOV) Programme working with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in partnership with the European Union and USAID.

To be functional and effective, the regional hub will be made operational around the Regional Livestock Technical Focal Points and the Alliance for Commodity Trade in eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA), a specialized agency under COMESA in charge of facilitating Commodity trade in the region.

The Forum was attended by experts in livestock, animal health, Member States, regional Economic Communities, cooperating partners, academia and regional farmer organisations.