AGA IN ACTION
Regional training workshop on characterization and adding value to local animal breeds and their products
Hammamet, 2–4 November 2011
Inability to compete with international transboundary breeds in commodity markets and high-input production systems is a major threat to the survival of local breeds. Adding value to their products and services and creating new revenue streams are two approaches to improving the economic competitiveness of these breeds and thus increasing their chances of survival. Numerous examples of adding value to local livestock breeds can be found in Europe, but this approach is applied less commonly in other regions, in part because of a lack of awareness of the possible opportunities offered by local breeds and lack of experience in applying the approach.
Value addition may be of particular relevance for the countries of the North Africa Subregion, as they have a wide patrimony of local breeds and consumers who are interested in traditional products. To explore these opportunities, FAO’s Animal Genetic Resources Branch recently collaborated with colleagues from the organization’s Subregional Office for North Africa to present a workshop entitled “La caractérisation et la valorisation des races animales locales et leurs produits”, which was held from 2 to 4 November in Hammamet, Tunisia. The workshop was attended by ten participants; two from each of Algeria and Mauritania, and three from each of Morocco and Tunisia. The activities included lectures on the role of livestock in food security and rural development in the region, regional strategies for livestock development, and characterization of animal genetic resources. Several participants presented examples of existing experiences in adding value to local breeds of livestock, both within the region and in other parts of the globe. The participants also discussed local priorities for livestock development and the relative importance of indigenous breeds. Finally, the participants brainstormed on possibilities for bilateral and multilateral cooperation within the subregion. This was materialized in two project proposals; the first on conservation of the Beni Guil sheep breed in Algeria and Morocco, and the second on characterization and mapping of local breeds in the five North African countries.