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Regional policies on food and agriculture and their impact on the advancement of livestock production in developing countries an example from africa

by J. Mulder

Looking back on the European Development Funds (EDF) 30 years experience, particularly in Africa, in promoting increased livestock production, a number of conclusions can be drawn:

In the Community we speak increasingly about policy dialogue. The newly negotiated Lomé Convention (Lomé IV), gives special attention to the development of viable policies to increase food self-sufficiency in the countries who are signatories to the Lomé Convention.

With regard to animal production, the Community organised in 1984 a conference at which experts from the EC Member States and ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) countries were invited to discuss the results of the cooperation in the development of animal production. The result was a document entitled “Basic Principles for Animal Production Development”. Although this document was established more than six years ago by representatives of some 66 developing countries and 12 European Community Member States, a number of these principles remain topical today.

An important recommendation was that sectoral policy concerning the development of livestock resources, should be focused on the livestock producer and his family. Individual producers should be considered as the main EC beneficiaries. By implication this means that financing large state farms or large state organisations should be avoided, instead, attention should be given to livestock associations, cooperatives and other forms of voluntary organisation. The latter point is repeated in the recently negotiated Lomé IV Convention.

Other basic principles of Lomé IV include:

The necessity of developing appropriate livestock policies was seen at the beginning of the 1980s when rinderpest broke out, once again, on a large scale in Africa.

Despite all the effort and investment that went into JP 15 and earlier rinderpest campaigns and when it was thought that rinderpest had almost been eradicated; it was a surprise to many how easily and quickly the disease spread between 1980 to 1984. It appeared that the operational budgets of the veterinary services had in no way kept pace with the increase in personnel caused by the automatic recruitment of graduates. Often up to 90% of the total budget was used for the payment of salaries and what remained was insufficient to provide an efficient service to farmers.

The approach that the Community developed was twofold. In countries where actual outbreaks of rinderpest occurred, immediate aid was provided without conditions. Elsewhere the following approach was developed. First, a thorough analysis was made of each country covering: the government veterinary budget, the number of personnel, the contribution of livestock to the national economy and the self-sufficiency rate in livestock products.

The objective was to achieve a situation where sufficient finances are available either on a government budget, or on another basis, to support the programme. It was, for the Community, unacceptable that, as with JP 15, the major part of the funds would come from donors to be used exclusively for the financing of vaccination campaigns, in the form of vehicles, equipment, vaccines, running costs.

Despite initial opposition, the Community was lucky in finding an ally in the Inter-African Bureau of Animal Resources of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) who shared the same philosophy. It was necessary to find a system which would increase the employment opportunities for the increasing number of veterinarians and zootechnicians being trained in Africa to find gainful employment. Furthermore these employment opportunities should not be created by the government sector alone.

In 1986 a financing agreement was signed with the OAU which, apart from those countries receiving direct support, stipulated that finance would only be available after a successful outcome of a policy dialogue. Five possibilities were identified on how to improve financing of the livestock services, these options were:

Finally, you will have noted that I have emphasized the words “livestock services”. The whole object of the Pan African Rinderpest Campaign is, ultimately, to increase animal production to ensure greater food security. This cannot be done by putting the emphasis on animal health alone, we must give equal attention to the problems connected with improved husbandry and especially animal nutrition. The financing agreement must, therefore, mention specifically likely consequences on the environment, particularly decertification, and, where necessary, ensure special action is taken to correct the situation.

The above is an example of a European Community approach to livestock development in Africa and, subsequently, with similar projects in India. With regard to specific production goals less clear cut policies have been established. The approach taken is that each situation has to be considered in context. But the general guidelines are as follows.

To conclude, Lomé IV like its predecessor devotes much attention to environmental issues which must be considered at every stage. It is for this reason that the Community has in recent years increasingly financed wildlife utilization projects. There is a good case to be made for the necessity of conserving genetic animal resources also that the commercial exploitation of game animals can be environmentally and economically beneficial.

The availability of adequate funds is of course necessary for the realization of these policies, but increasingly the EC is of the opinion that when the development policies are wrong, no amount of funds can remedy this failure.

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