Photo/Japie van der Westhuizen (SA Stud Book & Animal Improvement Association)

Pretoria Declaration: For the improvement of Traceability and Livestock Development in Sub-Saharan Africa


Sub-Saharan African countries have adopted a declaration on animal identification and recording, a move that is expected to improve food security, livestock genetics and better flock management as well as manage animal health and disease control.

“By adopting the Pretoria Declaration on Animal Identification and Recording Systems for Traceability and Livestock Development, the countries have affirmed their commitment to identification of  animals and recording of their movements and health and put in place measures such as surveillance, early detection and notification of outbreaks, rapid response, control of animal movements, and zoning or compartmentalization”,  said FAO Representative in South Africa, Tobias Takavarasha.

Livestock is one of the most important and fastest growing agricultural subsectors in developing countries, fuelled by increasing demand for animal products. Livestock accounts for 37 per cent of agricultural  Gross Domestic Product and it continues to grow. Despite the rapid growth globally, animal production (meat, milk and eggs) in Sub-Saharan Africa is increasing at a slower pace.

A substantial and sustained increase in animal production and productivity is therefore required and animal identification,   performance recording and traceability can significantly contribute to the much needed growth. The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme targets an annual growth rate of 4.2 percent for the livestock sector by enhancing the role of livestock in agricultural intensification and promotion of market-based livestock development.

Improving animal genetic resources

Animal Identification and performance recording systems are also key to genetic improvement and to better herd and flock management and, thus, enable sustained productivity gains. This has amply been demonstrated in many countries where decades of performance recording and selection have resulted in remarkable improvements in animal productivity, particularly in the commercial sector. “Africa needs investment in animal identification and performance recording to become competitive in the markets for breeding animals as well as animals for consumption”, said Irene Hoffmann, Chief of FAO’s Animal Genetic Resources programme.

Presentations and group discussions during the Symposium provided ample examples for the integrated approach and multipurpose benefits from animal identification and recording. “This holistic approach is nicely illustrated in the FAO guidelines for the development of integrated and multipurpose animal recording systems that were designed to support countries in the development of such systems”, said Badi Besbes, FAO Animal Production Officer.

About the symposium

The 3 day international Symposium on Animal Identification and Recording systems for Traceability and Livestock Development in Sub-Saharan Africa, took place in Pretoria, South Africa from 14-16 April 2015. The symposium - first of its kind in Africa - was very timely and offered a unique opportunity for all partners and stakeholders to share and openly discuss experiences on past and ongoing animal identification and recording programmes.

It was officially opened by the Minister for the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for South Africa, Mr. Senzeni Zokwana, who highlighted the critical role of animal identification and recording in achieving food security and safety in the Sub-Saharan African region.

The Symposium was jointly organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Committee for Animal Recording (ICAR), the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Stud Book and Animal Improvement Association and the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa, the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), and their public and private sector partners from Africa and beyond.  Delegates from 30 countries participated in the event.