May 2011


Participants of the first Regional Lesson Learning Workshop in Addis Ababa, EthiopiaIGAD LPI country teams drawn from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, the Sudan and Uganda agreed on the need for a change in development thinking among decision makers, to exploit the potential of the livestock sector in reducing poverty and food insecurity in the IGAD Region. Participants further stressed the fact that changes should change the “rules of the game” so that the policy environment should open livelihoods options on the one hand, and remove constraints to livestock related livelihoods strategies on the other. They also underscored that the institutional change to allow policies to respond to livelihoods needs can be developed through innovative practices, i.e. by doing things differently.

In his closing remarks, Dr. Dil Peeling, Chief Technical Adviser of IGAD LPI, welcomed the fact that the first lesson learning workshop had already produced clear messages to national governments and development partners to see and do things differently. The process will not end there however.

The purpose of the workshop was to prepare national teams to facilitate lesson learning workshops in the respective countries, which will produce draft recommendations for their ministers and for IGAD. The outcomes will be shared at a second regional Lesson Learning Workshop, scheduled to take place in July.

IGAD will finally host a high-level meeting in December 2011, which will convene government ministers and officials, IGAD secretariat, AU-IBAR, and other key actors from the livestock sector in the IGAD Region, to agree a common way forward on pro-poor livestock development for the region. 

Dr. Simplice Nouala, called on regional institutions to recognise the multiple services that livestock provide to livelihoods
Dr. Simplice Nouala called on regional institutions to recognise the multiple services that livestock provide to livelihoods

AU-IBAR’s Chief Animal Production Officer, Dr. Simplice Nouala, called on CAADP, AU IBAR and IGAD to recognise the multiple services that livestock provide to livelihoods, particularly those of the poor, in a recent address to the 12th Annual Meeting of the Inter-Agency Donor Group in Nairobi. He was presenting the findings of a working paper he had recently published through IGAD LPI (available here), in collaboration with FAO.

AU-IBAR’s strategic plan for the period to 2014 already recognises that “The potential of animal resources in contributing to the fight against poverty and the development of Africa is still under-exploited”, and goes on to say “Policies designed to increase production do not necessarily benefit poor livestock keepers who … prioritize survival rather than production”.

The authors built on this and on IGAD LPI case studies that have revealed how little the poor actually participate in the Horn of Africa’s lucrative livestock export markets. They looked at the many services livestock provide to the poor, such as wealth accumulation, managing vulnerability or providing transport, then contrasted these with the objectives of the IGAD region’s livestock policies. They found a policy environment that is successfully supporting those who are in a position to increase production and market their agricultural surplus, but that is failing those who are further down the livestock development ladder.

“The problem is that because the dominant development narrative looks only at production and access to market” he explained “we cannot ensure that livestock development helps the poor…Only when policies consider livestock’s other roles will livestock development become a pathway out of poverty”.

IGAD LPI’s CTA, Dil Peeling, added that one reason why markets and production have dominated policy in the livestock sector is that their benefits are clearly measurable in terms of revenue, whereas setting a value on such goods as traction or social capital requires a different approach. IGAD LPI has been attempting to redress this in IGAD member states by recalculating the contribution of livestock to national economies. Those results they have so far suggest that Dr. Nouala’s analysis also has implications at the macro level. Forthcoming results from Ethiopia, for instance, indicate that whereas the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development had assigned a value of 32 billion Ethiopian Birr to economic activity in the livestock sector in 2008-9, the economic value of the ‘other’ services that were the subject of Dr. Nouala’s presentation were worth a further 65 million birr – around twice as much.

Closing his presentation, Dr. Nouala acknowledged the advances made in the IGAD region through IGAD LPI, but stressed AU-IBAR’s pan-African mandate and the role the organisation can therefore play in advocating for a broader livestock development paradigm throughout the continent.

IGAD LPI is now in discussions with AU IBAR as to how best it can support it in that role.