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.

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