Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia
Dire Dawa (Ethiopia)
Ministry of Agriculture of Djibouti Ministry of Agriculture of Ethiopia Local veterinary authorities for Somalia
3 years from September 2002 to September 2005
US$1 698 300
Assuring and enhancing livestock exports are recognized keys to supporting the local economies in north Somalia and neighboring regions in Ethiopia and Djibouti. In fact, the Horn of Africa countries have a long tradition in livestock rearing, and particularly in the northwest of Somalia this activity represents the main source of food and income for over 80 percent of the population. Moreover, the need to secure livelihood to a high number of returnees and displaced livestock owners in Somalia can be seen as an essential factor of development in the area, as well as a contribution to sustain the local administration. In addition, livestock export and trade represent not only the main source of food and income but also the only generating source of foreign currency, which is an essential element to promote the country development.
The project will establish an Export and Certification of Livestock for Export protocol, with the acronym (EXCELEX) for livestock destined for export from the Horn of Africa countries through an examination and certification process. The need to establish a credible certification system for animals destined to external markets is a core priority also in consideration of the new international rules and regulations in the sector. Moreover, many Arabian countries, such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), imposed a ban for livestock import from the Horn of Africa as a consequence of the Rift Valley Fever which broke out in Africa in 1997. New exporters such as Australia have entered the market and Somali exports collapsed with serious economic costs. At the moment the KSA is the only country that still maintains the ban, but the need for a more secure and controlled market has now become compulsive.
While the project is managed by FAO, the objective will be to develop management structures and human resources within the government livestock services in each of the zones in which it operates in order to strengthen these institutions and their capacity to continue to manage the system with efficient control and assurance when the project is complete. The project will modify the existing system of veterinary inspection and livestock export certification, bringing it up to a standard acceptable to specific importing countries. Furthermore, the project will harmonize the livestock export certification system between the various countries and regions of the Horn of Africa. The EXCELEX system to be created, through a participatory approach between the governments involved and relevant stakeholders, will aim at being verifiable in its outcome and open to inspection and audit by importing country authorities. The project will also assist the participating governments and stakeholders in establishing communication links between veterinary authorities in the Horn of Africa and veterinary authorities in the importing countries. Finally, the project will assist the governments and stakeholders to modernize and improve the livestock marketing system and infrastructure.
The main objective project GCP/INT/811/ITA is to develop management structures and human resources within the livestock services in the following countries: Djibouti, Ethiopia, (Somali and Afar region) and Somalia (Puntland and Somaliland). It will operate as to strengthen local institutions and their capacity to continue to manage the system with efficient quality control.
The specific objectives which the project will achieve are: (i) to resume trade in livestock to the whole arabian peninsular; (ii) to assure importing countries that the risk of human or animal disease from inspected livestock is low and acceptable; (iii) to improve the livelihoods of pastoralists and others involved in livestock trade; and (iv) to generate foreign exchange and tax revenue for governments.
The project will adopt a three fold strategy consisting in: (i) examination of export livestock near their point of first sale, near a secondary market where they are gathered and bought by larger traders and at port of embarkation; (ii) identification and certification (although FAO will not certify as only Governments can); and (iii) information storage and dissemination. In this connection an EXCELEX database of livestock trade will be developed.
The project was declared operational in September 2002. Lack of security and other unforeseen setbacks, delayed the actual start up of the activities. By March 2004 the project managed to put together an excellent and stable team of national consultants and to establish properly equipped project offices in Ethiopia, and both in Puntland and Somaliland. In Ethiopia, the project has organized short-term training courses, in order to enhance capabilities of veterinarians and animal health assistants to monitor livestock for export. Training sessions for veterinary inspectors are also being organized in Puntland and Somaliland. The training will allow veterinary inspectors certify the animal health status and attribute upgraded animal health certificates, certificates which have been developed by the project and have been approved by the Ethiopian Authorities. Ear tags have also been procured for individual identification of export animals. ‘Stock control points’, locations at which veterinary inspectors can monitor livestock for export, have been identified through stakeholder workshops, held in Afar and Somali Regions in Ethiopia and Somaliland. In Puntland, locations were so far reported by project consultants and a stakeholder workshop is scheduled later in 2005.
Thanks to the above mentioned actions taken, project-trained veterinary inspectors are now working for the local authorities and are assisting with the identification, inspection and certification of export animals from Ethiopia destined for Egypt. Export to Somaliland still needs more harmonization as Somaliland Authorities do not accept Ethiopian livestock certification.
In order to enable the local and regional veterinary authorities to carry out disease investigation and diagnosis related to disease of trade, three serum banks are being established. The main equipment, consisting of freezers and generators has been procured by the project for Somaliland and the veterinary laboratory in Dire Dawa (Somali Region, Ethiopia). The establishment of the third serum bank, in Puntland, is also progressing and is expected to be completed by the end of 2005.
Significant progress has also been made concerning the establishment of the project website for a regional information network on animal health and livestock markets. To ensure activity coordination, at national and regional level, a database has been designed, as a web based system that is accessible and updatable from the member countries throughout the sub-region covered by the project.
A tripartite review of the project is foreseen for June/July 2005.