Livestock play key role in fostering the livelihoods of rural communities in the IGAD Region

Livestock play key role in fostering the livelihoods of rural communities in the IGAD Region

A working paper on Livestock and Livelihoods in the IGAD Region: A Policy and Institutional Analysis is published by IGAD LPI. The paper is written by Ugo Pica-Ciamarra from FAO Animal Production and Health Division, Simplice Nouala from AU-IBAR and Sunae Kim from FAO Regional Office for the Near East.

This paper presents an analysis of livestock sector policies and institutions in the IGAD region to assess if and how they support inclusive development of the sector. It first reviews the objectives of major livestock related policies in the IGAD region and the development narratives that drive them. It then compares these objectives and narratives with the livelihood strategies pursed by poor men and women livestock keepers, as identified through the IGAD Livestock Policy Initiative (IGAD LPI).

The paper recognises that policies have their effect by changing the ‘rules of the game’, often called institutions, under which people pursue varied livelihood strategies. In particular, people will only benefit from policies when the resulting institutions open up livelihoods options to which they are capable of responding. Their capacity to respond depends on their assets and skills, which are invariably more constraining for poorer groups and women, and that are often already reflected in their existing livelihoods strategies.

The review of livestock related policies at pan-African, regional and country level, together with donor priorities, reveals a dominant development paradigm emphasising increased livestock productivity and marketing. Such an emphasis, as documented by the IGAD-LPI, results in realistic livelihoods options only being made available to wealthier livestock keepers and in so doing fails to support the livestock dependent poor. Although policies for increased production and sales may be essential to develop the sector, they are not sufficient on their own to support those households who, in their efforts to secure their livelihoods, build on all the broader livelihoods services provided by livestock, which represent, inter alia, a source of food, income, manure, draught power and hauling services, savings, insurance and social capital.

The paper further finds that the majority of livestock sector policies and programmes affecting the region focus on technical fixes to the exclusion of institutional dimensions and that there is little coordination in the development and implementation of the various policies and programmes, at both regional and country levels. Yet, policies are likely to succeed in poverty reduction only when they deliver changes in institutional mandates and administrative processes, and are consistent with the system of incentives which underpin poor livestock keepers’ behaviour,   In addition, an inclusive development of the livestock sector requires that a coherent set of policies be designed and implemented, including policies within and beyond the livestock domain (e.g. trade, cropping, environmental or credit policies).

The paper recommends that first and foremost, the dominant ‘production and market access’ narrative should be enhanced by a development paradigm that also appreciates the many livelihoods services provided by livestock, including both monetary and non-monetary services. An enhanced livestock-livelihoods narrative would ensure that most future policies, programmes and projects, by adhering to the new paradigm, will build on the many livelihoods services provided by livestock, thereby supporting a pro-poor development of the sector.  It also recommends that policies, programmes and projects should be designed through an inclusive process that embraces dialogue and the use of evidence to address institutional dimensions, and that some effective coordination be established between AU-IBAR, RECs and national governments; between RECs; and between livestock related policies at national level.

The paper recognizes that AU-IBAR, RECs and national governments could contribute towards addressing the above recommendations, but notes that IGAD, in partnership with AU-IBAR, has generated encouraging experiences in this respect, through IGAD-LPI.

IGAD LPI Steering Committee Members

The 6th Steering Committee (SC), held on 14th and 15th December in Naivasha, Kenya, stressed the importance of maintaining the momentum of the Policy Hubs and the Information Nodes created by IGAD LPI across all IGAD member states, after the end of the project in February 2012. National Steering Committee Members presented their plans for national internalisation of project institutions, following discussions held within their policy hubs. Their proposals were in some cases ambitious, while others represented a fundamental re-think on their preferred  structure. In all cases, however, they re-affirmed that, building on the experience of IGAD LPI and the policy hubs, there is a strongly felt need for strong, poverty focussed national think-tanks, coupled to policy making.

IGAD further presented its plans for continuing the work of IGAD LPI after its closure in February 2012, which will in large part be taken forward by the forthcoming IGAD livestock centre. Commending the work done by IGAD LPI, Mr Maina Karaba, Acting Director of Agriculture and Environment at the IGAD Secretariat, and Chairperson of the Meeting, explained how the centre would build up on what has been achieved so far by IGAD LPI.

Presenting the proposed workplan for 2011, IGAD LPI’s Chief Technical Adviser, Dr Dil Peeling, stressed that with 14 months left to run, the project was not yet ready to wind down. He proposed several areas of engagement which would be coupled to a process of lesson learning in order to inform the institutionalisation of project gains at national level, and the establishment of the centre at regional level.  

IGAD LPI SCM Recommendations

The PRSP TWG of the Sudan Policy Hub discussing project proposals

The PRSP TWG of the Sudan Policy Hub discussing project proposals

This week, the Policy Hubs in Djibouti and Uganda met to decide how they intend to institutionalise and maintain their Policy Hubs, working groups and Information Nodes. In the Sudan, the Technical Working Group convened to consolidate livestock project proposals for further action by their Policy Hub.

The Djiboutian Policy Hub, attended by IGAD LPI Chief Technical Adviser Dil Peeling, agreed on an action plan that foresees better representation of women and of senior officials and that establishes a legal status for the institutions. Dr. Otieno Mtula attended the Policy Hub in Uganda, which examined ways through which the national Policy Hub and Information Node could be institutionalised to keep advocating and supporting pro-poor policy processes in the country after IGAD LPI closes in February 2012 and established a smaller sub-group to finalise their plan. The meeting also examined concepts being developed for inclusion in the country’s development planning. Dr Abdi Jama, IGAD LPI Livestock Information Adviser, took part in a Sudanese Technical Working Group meeting on better representation of livestock in the National Development Plans. The meeting focused on consolidating the array of priority small projects identified so far into larger projects and programs to be incorporated in the Country’s Poverty Eradication Paper.  These projects will be submitted to the Policy Hub chaired by the Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries for final review, based on their poverty and gender focus. The meeting is scheduled for the end of December.

The Policy Hub discussing PRSP issues, Khartoum

The Policy Hub discussing PRSP issues, Khartoum

A working group, a subset of the Sudanese livestock Policy Hub, held a meeting on the 3th October 2010 in Khartoum, Sudan to continue to develop and refine viable livestock development projects with the aim of augmenting the profile of livestock in the Sudanese country poverty eradication strategy paper. The working group consists of representatives from government ministries, pastoralist unions, civil Society organizations, women affairs, NGOs and the private sector.

Opening the one day session, the IGAD LPI National Technical Focal Point, Dr. Ammar Sheikh underscored the need to focus on the development of project proposals and programs that have the potential to contribute on improving on livelihoods of the livestock keepers as well as to the overall alleviation on poverty and food insecurity in the Sudan,

The IGAD LPI National Technical Focal Point, Dr. Ammar Sheikh and Dr. Abdi Jama of IGAD LPI briefed the Sudanese IGAD LPI Steering Committee member, Dr. Kamal Tagelsir Elsheikh on recent developments in the project and exchanged views with regard to the sustainably of institutions set up by IGAD LPI such as Policy Hub and National Information Node.  Dr. Elsheikh expressed his confidence that these institutions will receive support from the Ministry of Animal Resource and Fisheries beyond the life of the project given their importance and contributions so far to capacity building on pro- poor livestock policy making in the Sudan.

Dr Dil Peeling meeting with STVS's Dean, Dr Abdullahi Sheikh Mohamed

Dr Dil Peeling meeting with STVS's Dean, Dr Abdullahi Sheikh Mohamed

As a service to all stakeholders to the livestock sector throughout Somalia, IGAD LPI has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Sheik Technical Veterinary School to develop an information node, through which livestock related data and information can both be accessed, and uploaded into the IGAD LPI data portal.

In turn, the school will support evidence based policy making in IGAD LPI working groups in South/Central Somalia, Puntland and Somaliland, through Information Coordinators. The fibre-optic cable which is planned for Sheik and Berbera in the near future will further allow the school to access IGAD LPI’s wealth of spatial data.

IGAD LPI will provide a training at the school for the information coordinators in the near future, in order the familiarise them with the IGAD LPI information system. In preparation, IGAD LPI’s CTA, Dil Peeling, visited the school’s Reference Centre, where he reviewed the school’s impressive IT capacity with its manager, Dr Ibrahim Osman Suleiman and the school’s Dean, Dr. Abdullahi Sheikh Mohamed.