Lusaka, Monday, March 4, 2019: COMESA has begun mapping enterprises involved in live animal trade in the region to establish basic data on regional and international markets.
This project is intended to enhance the livestock value chain by linking animal fatteners, feedlot operators, abattoirs and slaughter house operators to the regional and international markets.
It is also one of the strategic objectives of the COMESA Livestock Policy Framework to facilitate access to markets, services and value addition among different stakeholders who produce, and market livestock.
A report prepared by the COMESA Senior Livestock Officer, Dr Yoseph Mamo, after conducting the exercise in Ethiopia, states that access to markets and distribution of risks and gains along different steps of live animal and meat value chains, vary according to the gender of producers, processors, market agents, grades and the economies of scale.
“Thus, this program will work to improve the traditional marketing channels of ad hoc sales to well-coordinated links among different enterprises to reduce risks and improve gains,” he said.
The mapping of enterprises is being conducted by COMESA livestock expert in collaboration with the national departments of livestock development, veterinary services and national level association of private sectors.
“Once the enterprises involved in the value chain of live animal marketing in the major exporting country is mapped, the market channel in the major importing countries will also be mapped,” Dr Mamo said.
Similarly, the meat value chain in the exporting and importing countries will be mapped. The outputs from the exercise will be used to formalize the current ad-hoc market system to well-structured marketing system to establish sustainable well linked marketing channels.
Ethiopia is the first country to be mapped with the activity taking place from 10 -15 February 2019. The project is supported by COMESA and USAID through Regional Development Objectives Grant Agreement with COMESA.
Meanwhile, the Ethiopian State Minister of Agriculture Hon. Mrs. Aynalem Nigusie Ali said the number of live animals traded informally through Somaliland, Djibouti, Sudan and Kenya is higher than those traded formally.
Speaking when she met the mapping team, the Minister said stringent animal health standards required in livestock trade has often led to evasion of formal import /export channels thus encouraging and maintaining the informal trade.
“It is well known that from the informal trade, the producers especially the pastoralists and the smallholder farmers do not benefit appropriately,” she said noting that most of the profits end up with middlemen and informal traders.
To address this challenge, the Ethiopian Government has taken several measures including strengthening veterinary services and diagnostic laboratories, surveillance, diagnosis and control of Transboundary Animal Diseases. It has also developed different guidelines including pre-purchase, construction of abattoirs and processing plans guidelines and standard operating procedures.
Currently the major outlet for Ethiopian livestock is the Middle East market. The government is however keen for alternative markets which the COMESA project of linking enterprises to the regional market is promising.