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:
that despite massive investment by the European Development Fund (EDF), and other donors, we are far from achieving what we set out originally to achieve. Developing countries, particularly in Africa which are the main recipients of the European Community's development aid, are more dependent on imports than ever before,
that this is due more to the implementation of the inappropriate policies than to a lack of funding, and
that the technical know-how that exists is not applied to the extent it should be.
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:
That every effort be made to promote and encourage private initiative in the provision of goods and services needed by the livestock producer.
That it is essential to formulate and implement a pricing policy for both inputs and livestock products alike. The cost of inputs must eventually be paid in full by the user, although this does not rule out the possibility of a subsidies policy of limited duration to encourage the use of certain inputs.
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:
Is it feasible for farmers to pay the full cost for all services rendered? Almost everywhere in Africa it is now accepted that farmers must pay a realistic price for the goods and services they receive. There was certainly not a universal acceptance of this practice in 1986.
The Community were aware that policies cannot be changed overnight, therefore, EDF funds are used to make a gradual adaptation of new policies possible. The question has often arisen whether or not compulsory vaccination should be free of charge. The Community taken a neutral attitude, however, if a country wishes to provide these campaigns free of charge, it insists that prices of other products services are increased to such an extent that the “free services” are paid for indirectly.
An alternative to direct payment for services rendered, could it be to organise farmers to pay an annual contribution in return for certain services. Although similar to a medical insurance scheme, in practice, this option has not proved to be popular and only in a few countries is it applied.
Instead of government recruiting all the qualified personnel can it be encouraged, with EDF funds, that cooperatives, farmers organisations, etc, recruit directly their own staff which will be utilized directly to serve the farmers needs. This has proved to be an attractive option.
Similarly, the EDF funds can be utilized to establish veterinarians and zootechnicians in their own practice. Of all the options this one has proved the most popular by far and is an indication of how attitudes are changing in Africa.
In practice, a bank in a particular country which is best suited to manage the loans is selected. Subsequently, EDF funds are used to a guarantee loans for aspiring candidates to set up in practice. In certain specific cases EDF may discuss the possibility of loans at a reduced rate of interest.
The last and the most controversial option, is to tax the livestock sector with part of the revenue put into a special fund called a Livestock Development Fund. Also, if livestock products are imported at a price which is not possible for efficient local producers to compete with, then levies should be imposed and again these levies should be deposited in the Livestock Development Fund. A number of countries proved to be quite receptive to this idea but it appeared that IMF conditions for structural adjustment often prevent this. Ideally, the result of structural adjustment will be sufficient local budgetary resources available for livestock services and the need for a Livestock Development Fund would no longer exist.
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.
That more attention must be paid to milk production in developing countries. The schemes undertaken by the EC in the past have not achieved sufficient results. In developing dairy production it is necessary to start with the local animal and that their production potential is exploited to the full. In general, we can assume that the genetic potential is sufficient, however, in order to cope with local demand it will be necessary to introduce sooner or later a degree of “foreign blood”. Crosses with European dairy breeds are usually recommended. It is envisaged that privatisation schemes for veterinarians mentioned earlier could also provide a private artificial insemination service as well. In the development of milk production, attention must be given to a) animal nutrition and b) to the collection and ultimate commercialization of milk.
Regarding beef production, contrary to milk production, the genetic potential of the local breeds is considered sufficient. Conversion rates are at least as good as those from European breeds under local environments.
For pork and poultry production, apart from the necessity of assuring adequate veterinary and extension services the major question is the availability of adequate energy and protein resources.
Small stock have received less attention from both governments and donors than they deserve. The few EC projects financed in this sector have, in general, given good results. More than with other animal species the chances for production improvement are considerable.
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.