COMESA introduces live animal grading, value addition to grow regional livestock trade
Regional trade in live animals, meat and meat products are set to rise following a raft of new measures being put in place by COMESA and livestock exporting and importing countries.
These measures include: regional live animal grading standard, linking enterprises in exporting and importing countries and sharing experiences on livestock value addition and export capacities.
The first meeting to discuss the modalities of implementing these measures was conducted in Ethiopia last week. It brought together key players in livestock trade in public institutions, academia and private sector from livestock producing countries including Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda and Zambia and importing countries; the D R Congo, Egypt and Seychelles.
Ethiopia’s State Minister in charge of inputs and products marketing, in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, HE Mrs Ayinalem Nigusie and Secretary General of COMESA Chileshe Kapwepwe addressed the delegates.
In a statement presented by Chief of Strategic Planning at COMESA Secretariat, Mr Simal Amor, the SG said the development of a harmonized grading and classification system for livestock in the COMESA region will guide and catalyze the marketing of beef animals and sheep and goats across the region.
“A uniform regional grading system will create opportunities for importers to make orders based on the common specification of grades and, for exporters to aggregate and supply the orders based on similar specifications,” she said: “This will enhance confidence among traders, provide value for money for both producers and buyers, and other actors, stimulate improved animal husbandry and overall growth of the sector.”
She noted that the current dynamics in the world economy, increasing investments in the livestock sector, high and rising demand, and consumer preferences for animal source foods provide opportunities for increased trade in livestock and livestock products among others.
Stakeholders in livestock trade have often cited the lack of market information and linkages among enterprises in importing and exporting countries as a major hindrance to trade. Thus, the project interventions present an opportunity to establish a regional market information system and catalogue of enterprises that can inform trade decision making even at a distance.
Among the issues that also featured in the workshop deliberations was livestock production and the challenges impacting trade.
Speakers observed that the region has many similarities in almost all areas of animal production and trade, hence member states need to develop pragmatic terms of trade in line with the specifications of the regional context rather than embracing unrealistic measures that may not add value to their collective well-being.
SG encouraged member states to review, adopt and institutionalize the proposed harmonized grading and classification system and other measures to open up trade among themselves, and with the rest of the world.
Participants who also included representatives from the International Livestock Research Institute Addis Ababa and Nairobi campuses, later visited Allana foods; an ultra-modern abattoir and meat processing complex located in Ethiopia’s livestock rich Adami Tulu district in Oromia State.