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FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

FAO discusses the Contribution of Livestock to Food Security in the Countries of the Near East and North Africa region

@FAO-RNE participants at the regional consultation with FAO ADG Absessalam Ouldahmed

FAO Regional Office for the Near East and North Africa concludes a two days’ regional consultation in Cairo to discuss the contribution of Livestock to Food Security in the region.

The conference gathered 65 Senior Technical Officers representing Near East and North Africa (NENA) Countries, key livestock experts and scientists from collaborating institutions and international organizations such as OIE, WHO, ICARDA, and USDA-APHIS.

Participants discussed FAO’s recent comprehensive study on livestock and food security in the region, examining livestock trends and drivers at national, regional and global levels. They were informed of the policies shaping the livestock sector in NENA, as well as the status of animal health, zoonosis, food safety, and veterinary capacities, and were able to take informed decisions on the priorities of action.

They were updated on the status of rangelands, feed resources and water, the state of animal genetic resources and impacts of climate change on livestock. They looked at the livestock sector within the crisis context in the region, and discussed challenges of livestock commercialization, food loss and waste.

They examined the livestock value chains, its trade, competitiveness and policies, as well as the critical areas for regional engagement and strategic dialogue.

FAO Assistant-Director General and Regional Representative Abdessalam OuldAhmed praised the collaborative efforts which led to the comprehensive study on livestock’s contribution to regional food security, and urged experts and policy makers to guarantee the sustainable management for this growing sector.

He called for innovative and affordable solutions to reduce reliance on imported animal feed, and benefit from regional and global best practices, not only to achieve self-sufficiency but to create jobs and achieve economic growth.

The NENA region is home to rapidly diversifying livestock systems, among which are herds which make use of scarce feed resources in predominantly dry and semi-arid environments. Livestock numbers have expanded in the region by 25%, compared to global gains of 16%, over the past 20 years, from 77 million livestock units to 96 million. Livestock as share of gross value of agricultural production averages at 33% ranging from 24% in Tunisia to 53% in Jordan with annual growth rate over 23 years averaged at 3%.

The regional consultation concluded with a set of ideas on regional collaboration including desired methods to better promote sustainable animal source foods systems, particularly those which are focused on the rural poor and their better integration into national animal source foods value chains.

These recommendations will be presented to the Governing Body of FAO, the Ministers of NENA countries during the upcoming 33rd Session of the Regional Conference for the Near East (NERC33).


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