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Inaugural session - Under the distinguished patronage of H.E. the Minister of Production of Mali

Under the distinguished Patronage of His Excellency the Minister of Production of Mali.


Opening speech by the minister of production of the republic of Mali
Speech of welcome by Dr. R.E. Hodgson
Opening speech of Dr. J.R. Pagot

Opening speech by the minister of production of the republic of Mali

Honorable Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen:

In performing today the pleasant task of presiding over the Opening Session of the International Seminar on the Evaluation and Mapping of Tropical African Rangeland, I must first, on behalf of the Military Committee for National Liberation and on my own behalf, welcome and wish a pleasant stay in Mali to the Eminent Chairman of the Board to the Director of the International Livestock Centre for Africa, to the Honorable Representatives of International Organizations, and to the professors and eminent experts who for the most part came from far away to bring their very valuable help to this international meeting.

The choice of our capital as the meeting place for this seminar is an honor for us, and I thank the organizers very much for it. I can assure you of the cordial and sincere hospitality that the people of Mali extend to you in compliance with their traditions of friendship and solidarity among peoples.

Inter-tropical Africa, as you will study it in the course of your work, is a vast area of 18,000,000 square kilometres. Agriculture is the dominant economic activity there, with a sub-sector of cattle breeding that is more or less important depending on the country and ecological zone. If you consider cattle breeding in most of the African countries, you are struck on the one hand by the impressive actual number of livestock, about 130 million cattle, and on the other by the low level of production. In fact, while an adult cow fed in countries with improved cattle breeding conditions can produce 80 kilograms of meat per year, you can hardly obtain 15 kilograms per adult cow for the same period under the conditions of our livestock breeding practices. If the causes for such weak productivity are numerous and you can name them - for example, severe pathology, high mortality of young cattle, lack of natural food resources and their poor distribution from one season to the next it is also necessary to note with satisfaction the efforts that have been undertaken over the years to better control the factors of production. Some very important results have been obtained in the area of tracking down epizootic diseases, in the production of vaccines, and in the organization of disease prevention. It has resulted most often in the increase in actual numbers; but the situation of cattle breeding in vast areas of Africa remains disquieting. The warnings that one of the pioneers of cattle breeding in Africa, Doctor Doutresouille, gave in 1952, are still valid and deserve to be remembered. I quote:

"Whatever the future will be our sanitary action will only limit our losses. But in the morbidity and general death rate of our herds, those due to undernourishment, to parasites, and to varied deficiencies account for 50 percent. All the improvements in species and even those in grazing methods will be in vain or of little significance as long as the setting in which the herds evolve is not better suited to receive them. "

In the area of nourishment, numerous studies and the mapping of several million hectares of tropical pastureland have been carried out. Knowledge of the fodder plants of our natural grasslands has improved. A hydraulic grazing policy was conducted, destined especially to increase the number of watering points and to open vast pasturelands that had remained unexplored due to lack of watering points. This was the case of Ferlo in eastern Senegal and of Gourma in Mali. It is unfortunate, however, that the management of fodder plant resources has not been sufficiently taken into consideration. In the course of the last few years, research has facilitated techniques of intensive beef production which, thanks to the availability of agro-industrial by-products, would very noticeably increase the volume of beef in the cattle breeding regions of tropical Africa.

In spite of appreciable results, much effort must be given to lifting the principal constraints on the development of cattle breeding. The prospect of a world-wide lack of meat demands the preparation of a far-reaching policy with a view to increasing the productivity of livestock in the developing countries which, with 70 percent of the cattle and wild bovines in the world, only produce 30 percent of the world's meat.

The world economic crisis is characterized by a general inflation; and a constant deterioration in terms of livestock breeding darkens the picture even more. Numerous countries of Sudano-Sahelian Africa have known eight years of drought of which the most catastrophic, those of 1972 and 1973, called to our attention in a dramatic way the fragility of our pastoral livestock breeding, which is based on an unstable equilibrium between the animal and its ecological setting. Sahelization and desertification are awaiting vast territories of the Sudanese zone. It is admitted today that the unequal balance between fodder plant resources and actual numbers of livestock has aggravated the degradation of the ecological setting. Nowhere in the Sahel did the specialists in pastureland, livestock breeding, and water works find themselves at such a loss to organize the exploitation of the grasslands and better their productivity. It is necessary therefore to be glad that man has consciously acknowledged the necessity for adopting a new approach to the development of the Sahelian zones with an agro-pastoral potential.

The creation of the International Livestock Centre for Africa is going to make a positive contribution to solving these problems by completing and reinforcing the actions already undertaken at the level of different African countries in livestock breeding research. In this regard, cooperation with Malian research begins auspiciously with a joint project on the stratification of animal production systems in the Sahelian and Sudanese regions of West Africa. The results of this research, of which the scope far surpasses the limits of Mali itself, will certainly benefit the development of meat production in those regions that are reliably expected to suffer a deficit in this commodity on the order of 400,000 tons around 1980.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the countries and member bodies of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research which, after the success gained by the specialized institutes in plant production, took the initiative in putting this new institution on its feet in the vital area of animal production.

Honorable Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen:

In the next four days, during which you are going to approach some important questions relative to the evaluation of pasturelands, the dynamics of grasslands under the influence of exploitation, and other diverse factors of climate, setting, and soil, as well as to the methods of mapping studies and the ecological setting and the man called to live there down to the fundamental problem of the gestation of natural fodder-plant resources with regard to the ecological setting an the man called to live there with this livestock, you will, therefore, in the capacity of specialists, have the formidable task of looking for answers to the many questions that herdsmen desiring to secure a constant food supply for their cattle, specialists in livestock breeding anxious to increase the yield of cattle and to control the evolution of natural fodder-plant stock, foresters preoccupied with the protection and conservation of our natural wealth, and finally, responsible politicians and economists who reason in terms of increase in production and the betterment of the level of living may ask one another.

I have no doubt that in the course of your debates, you will remember the necessity of making the fruits of your thoughts accessible to the men of the land, the non-specialists. It seems particularly timely in this framework to insist on the connection between theoretical studies and the application of these theories to the programs of pastoral development conceived of in most of our countries under the perspective of an integrated development centered around man in his socio-economic situation. The field visits that you will participate in will give you concrete examples and will permit you to appreciate the efforts of the Malian government for the betterment of the management of pasturelands - without a doubt still modest, but expressing our will to deal in future with the exploitation of natural pasturelands from a much more global point of view and with multi-disciplinary teams.

Ending this brief introduction in the hope that your discussions will yield more enlightening views for the betterment of livestock productivity in the tropical regions and for better management of our pastoral resources, and wishing you complete success in your work, I declare the Seminar on the Evaluation and Mapping of Tropical African Rangeland open.

I thank you.

Speech of welcome by Dr. R.E. Hodgson

Chairman of the Board of Trustees of I.L.C.A.

Your Excellency, the Minister of Production, Representatives from other Governments serving their countries here in Bamako, members of the panel, ladies and gentlemen.

Welcome to this Seminar on Evaluation and Mapping of Tropical African Rangeland. The International Livestock Centre for Africa (I.L.C.A.) is most appreciative of your inviting us to hold our first seminar on this important subject in your country of Mali, which is in the heart of the great rangeland area of tropical Africa.

The International Livestock Centre for Africa was born in mid-1973 as the eighth International Agricultural Research Centre sponsored by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. We have as our objective, so charged in our charter, to carry on research, education and information programs to increase and improve livestock production in tropical Africa. Realizing that rangeland is a great resource in this region of the world and that livestock production is very greatly dependent upon the range resource, it is entirely appropriate that one of the first activities of I.L.C.A. is to address itself to the improvement of rangeland. And it is entirely appropriate also that one of our first efforts should take place here in Mali, recognizing the fine cooperation that I.L.C.A. and others have received from your government, Mr. Minister. The remarks that you have just given us will be an important guideline to the work of this conference.

I.L.C.A. has brought together for this symposium outstanding leaders in range and livestock production from around the world, and they are here dedicated to work among themselves and with your people to come up with ideas and suggestions that we all can use and particularly that I.L.C.A. can use in carrying out the objectives of our mission. So it is with deep gratitude, Mr. Minister, that I speak in thanks to you on behalf of the Board of Trustees of I.L.C.A., the I.L.C.A. staff and also the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, that we are here and working with your people. Out of this conference will come a report that will be useful if people will take the benefit of our advice and use it. Livestock production is an important industry in tropical Africa. It contributes the important nutrient protein, and other but more importantly the products of livestock production and the resources of the range translate themselves into a most valuable food that contributes the important nutrient protein, and other nutrients, to our diet. So, Mr. Minister, we look forward to a very happy and productive week here in Bamako, Mali. Thank you.

Opening speech of Dr. J.R. Pagot

Director of I.L.C.A.

Mr. Minister,
Members of the Government,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Representatives of International Organizations,
Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

I will begin first by expressing to you, Mr. Minister, our thanks for the help you have rendered in the organization of this seminar.

Will you please thank the Members of the Government, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of the Interior, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the help they have given by easing the application of border regulations for the researchers who came into your country to work.

I am asking you to assure your Chief of State of our high esteem; and we venture to believe that the results of this seminar will confirm the hopes that he has placed in it.

It is reassuring for the Head of ILCA/CIPEA to see so many personalities, so many distinguished leaders, so many researchers and so many colleagues who have come here at our invitation to deal with a subject which to those not in the know might appear esoteric.

But why did ILCA put out this invitation ?

While drafting the text of this talk, I encountered a moral issue. In the Charter of our organization, it is said that we must serve as a bridge between the two African worlds that the hazards of history have caused to use different languages. Shall I speak in English; shall I speak in French ? It seemed to me that in a French-speaking country I had to speak in French, especially to make myself understood by the many Malians who are here, and knowing perhaps that the English-speaking people who are in this room are much more familiar with the concept of establishment and international organization than those who are less in contact with them.

Do not think that I wanted to cause a separation; but I am bringing a notion perhaps not francophone or European - I am trying to be this bridge between two worlds.

ILCA, as we have noted, is the latest in a series of eight international institutes; it is already a large family, and it appears that there will be other little brothers. These international institutes are handling different agricultural products: the IRRI in Los Baños in the Philippines is handling rice, the CIMMYT, in Mexico, corn and wheat (it is in this institute that Dr. Borlaug works, whose discoveries at the outset of the green revolution won him the Nobel Prize); the ITTA in Ibadan, Nigeria, is handling systems of vegetal production in the humid zones; the ICRISAT in Hyderabad, India, is doing the same for the dry zones; in South America, the CIAT is interested most particularly in the cultures of the region - cassava and beans - and in livestock on the high plateaus; the CIP specializes m research on the potato; and the ADRAO, or WARDA, an association for the development of rice-growing in West Africa, well known in this region, is also a member of the family of international institutes.

The last two institutes created deal with livestock in Africa: ILCA, and ILRAD in Kenya, which is interested in cattle diseases and more particularly in trypanosomiasis and " East Coast fever ".

The creation of these international institutes goes back to November 1-3, 1973, when the representatives of 29 nations, governments, and international cooperative agencies met in Washington, on the initiative of Mr. McNamara, President of the World Bank, under the Bank's patronage and that of the United Nations Development Programme and the FAO. They then formed a permanent structure, the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research, which we designate more commonly by its initials, CGIAR.

The objective of the meeting was to bring effective support to agricultural research in the developing countries through an international financial effort by utilizing as support for international scientific cooperation the institutes that already existed in certain countries and whose initiatives for creation came from the Ford, Rockefeller, and Kellogg Foundations, and from certain governments.

The concept of the international institute fortunately proved pleasing to a certain number of nations, since the funds collected, which rose to 23 million dollars in 1973, had exceeded 45 million dollars by 1975; and the five-year plan requested by the institutes is considering a figure which is nearly double that for 1979-1980.

But what is the concept of our international institute ? First it must deserve the name international, even if its installations are located in one country.

It is administered by an administrative council: in English, a "Board of Trustees ", personalities chosen by reason of their qualifications on an international basis. Thus we have in actual fact twelve nationalities represented in our council of twelve members.

The researchers are recruited on a world-wide scale, from among the most competent in the area of their specialties and without regard to nationality. I must say that in the initial stage of recruitment of researchers for ILCA, we were happy to note that among fourteen members of staff, there were representatives of nine nationalities.

Next, what is the function of centres such as this ?

They must carry out research of international interest in their installations and at their central laboratories. Obviously all of them, and particularly ILCA, must develop a sound network of cooperation with national, international, and regional bodies that now exist and are dealing with the same areas.

They must serve both as documentation and information and educational centres for the researchers. I must say that the information and documentation centre at ILCA will be no showcase of books; but we do already have a network of cooperation with the principal centres in the developed countries; and in the last few months we have established agreements with some African governments so that small groups of documentalists and technicians can help them go through their archives and bring out works that have perhaps remained ignored because they were published as stencils.

In fulfilling the above tasks ILCA will, as I have said, serve as a bridge between French-speaking and English-speaking Africa.

It is necessary to note that today we are having a meeting of people of different languages who, through simultaneous translation, will be able to understand one another; at this point I must thank the FAO for their generosity in supplying the translation services and equipment we will be using during this seminar.

The decision to create ILCA was made by the advisory group in 1973; twelve nations accepted the task of financing the Centre in the future. In addition, three new nations have recently agreed to put funds at ILCA's disposal.

I would not dike to play the role of the "nouveau riche ", but I believe that the programs which have been prepared by two " task forces " one presided over by Dr. Beck, and the other by Professor Tribe, have given a direction and credibility to ILCA that is underscored by your presence here today.

Our President has just indicated to you the principal directions of our program. I would like to emphasize one point especially: that our research will be conducted on a multidisciplinary basis, and that all the factors of production will be considered those peculiar to the animal, to the physical setting, and to the biological setting in which man must work to obtain a rational improvement in his herd while under economic constraints that are at times intolerable.

Livestock breeding, you know, is applied ecology: and therefore it is unthinkable that we restrict our work to the central headquarters in Ethiopia. Therefore we have made contact with those African governments that have already expressed the desire to cooperate with us. The first to send an invitation was Mali. Three others did the same. In alphabetical order, they are: the Cameroons, Kenya and Nigeria. Discussions have been promoted, and programs of cooperation will be submitted to the next Program Committee meeting and to the Board. We already have some assurance of being granted the means to pursue our policy.

The Ethiopian government has given ILCA the status of a United Nations agency, with full rights to diplomatic freedom and work accommodations.

I will spare you the procedures that we intend to follow for cooperating with the governments, except to say that in the first type of program, the actions will be defined by ILCA, and we will ask permission to work with our means and our resources; and in the second type, called "associated programs " (in English " cooperative programs "), each country will bring its own financial as well as personal means to the carrying out of defined work.

Finally, in the prearranged programs, each of the participating countries will conduct its program with its own means. ILCA will serve as the meeting place to permit the project heads to discuss their problems and plan their research actions.

In any case, ILCA does not wish to become primarily a body for coordination. As a former director of UNESCO has said, " When you are young, you do research and you work; when you are a little older, you give orders, and when you are really old and no longer acquainted with things, you coordinate". Well, ILCA, being a young body, doesn't wish to coordinate. It wishes to permit people to work together and to coordinate them selves.

To conclude, I will talk to you of our ideas for education. ILCA has no ambition to replace universities; we hope to participate in the education of young people who have left the universities with their diplomas. Through contact with our research teams, we will try to teach them to value their knowledge.

There will also be another type of education, permitting some researchers and directors who have been out of the universities for seven to ten years to take advantage of what in America is called a " sabbatical ". I know very well that a Minister of Agriculture will never authorize his head of livestock breeding services to take a year's vacation; but he will grant three weeks, and during the three weeks, the livestock expert can meet at ILCA with other heads of service to study the possibilities for the solution of like problems. The techniques of group vitality permit considerable progress in knowledge and communication; we shall try to apply them.

Another type of education consists in what we are doing here this week: bringing people together who seldom have the opportunity to meet, not to listen to reports from the chair, but to discuss between themselves the questions on the agenda. We have seen to it that every morning until 10 o'clock you will have the opportunity to relax with a cup of coffee and talk among yourselves about the problems affecting you. Every morning those who had a turn to speak the day before will put together their ideas, their projects, and their hopes. We trust that when you leave on the field trip Friday, your heads will be full of projects. To be sure that you will not forget them, when you leave tomorrow the conclusions that you drafted will be returned to you.

I could leave on vacation now and let you work, because these conclusions will be the fruit of your work and your work only.

Thank you, Mr. President.


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