Technical support to Animal health and livestock production in East Africa

Brief article Submitted by ICPALD /IGAD to Farmers Review Africa

IGAD member countries (Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, the Sudan and Uganda) are rich in livestock and home to 336 million ruminants (cattle, small ruminants (sheep and goats) and camels), they own 8 percent of the cattle; 10 percent of small ruminants and 51 percent of the camel population in the world. These resources are also the main livelihoods for the pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in the Arid and Semi-arid areas (ASALs) of the region.

The above figures are an indication that the IGAD region has a huge potential to export livestock and meat within the region, to other African regions and the Middle (ME) and Far East markets. The ME and Far East markets which are close and accessible to the IGAD region, have a high demand for livestock and livestock products that is growing rapidly with improving economies and growing population.  Moreover, the importing Gulf countries have a particular preference for livestock from this region. Some IGAD member states were able to export over 12 million livestock, maily sheep and goats, and some 30,000 metric tons of meat to Middle East and North African (MENA) countries in 2015. These exports represents an estimated 60% and 10% of the annual livestock and meat demand of the MENA countries. The market demand for livestock and meat is expected to rise if the projections by the IMF (2003) are anything to go by. The IMF (2003)  reported that feeding a world population of 9.1 billion people in 2050 would require raising overall food, including livestock, production by some 70 percent between 2005/07 and 2050.  The annual cereal production would have to grow by almost one billion tons, meat production by over 200 million tons to a total of 470 million tons in 2050. To optimize on the benefits from the increased demand of livestock and livestock products, the actors in the livestock sub-sector need to double their investments and adopt new production technologies and innovations.

The livestock sub-sector, however, has a number of challenges that need to be addressed to secure livelihood assets and increase incomes of the farmers and traders. The main issues faced by livestock producers and other value chain actors are, among others, Trans-boundary Animal Diseases (TADs), recurrent drought that leads to feed and water shortage and losses of animals , limited capacity to meet market compliance, inadequate and inconsistent marketable supply; limited up to date market information that reach the producers, inadequate market infrastructure and limited  market promotion and linkages.

IGAD Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD) is a regional centre of the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) established in July 2012 by IGAD council of Ministers and providing technical support to the above member states (MS) in trans-boundary Animal disease control; animal production and productivity and trade enhancement to complement the national livestock development efforts of the IGAD MS.   The center also provides technical supports on complimentary dry-land resources (non-wood forest products, artisanal minerals). As part of the above efforts; ICPALD also support the private sector including Livestock stakeholders associations.

The delegation  from IGAD member states comprising livestock and meat traders and regulatory bodies and Malaysian counterparts on exploring alternative market.

The following are the key achievements of ICPALD and contributions to improve the animal heath and production situation in the region thereby enhance the performance of the sub-sector and benefit the livestock actors:-

  1. Support to Control of Trans-boundary Animal Disease control (TADs) and Animal production
  • ICPALD with MS and partners identified nine priority animal diseases on the basis of the perceived economic impact on trade; transmissibility and zoonotic potential. It also developed and validated a harmonized Standard Methods and procedures (SMPs) that help for the control of the above priority diseases. The MS are on the process of mainstreaming the SMPs in their disease control program. SMP has also been developed for use by the livestock export quarantines in the region
  • Developed and validated with MS the regional Guidelines for Animal Identification, Traceability (LITs) and Health Certification Systems.
  • A regional coordination mechanism on disease surveillance and control is also put in place to enhance exchange of lessons and good practices and improve disease reporting between MS
  • Organized and facilitated a number of bilateral and multilateral cross border Animal Health coordination meeting between bordering MS for joint disease surveillance, vaccination, disease reporting; For instance; Ethiopia –Kenya already signed Bilateral MOUs  and implementation framework developed to operationalize the MOU. Others are on pipeline
  • The following regional strategies are developed and validated with MS:- (a) The regional Animal heath strategy, (b) The regional Animal health emergency and contingency plans, (c) regional PPR control and eradication strategy and (d) Regional Animal welfare strategy. Efforts are under way to support MS to domesticate and roll out the above strategies.
  • Conducted studies and showed increased contribution of livestock to the gross domestic product (GDP) of each MS and a policy brief produced and shared. Currently some of the MS use this evidence for proposal development and to advocate  for increased  budget for livestock development
  • Undertook assessment of the public resource allocation and private investment on livestock development in the MS and validated the findings. Soon the evidence on the status of the resource allocation and private sector investment will be shared to policy makers and private sector to be used for decision making in future budget allocation and for advocacy in the area
  • Veterinary Officers, laboratory technicians and export quarantine workers were trained on Epidemiology and Surveillance, inspection, certification, diagnostic techniques, management skills  to strengthen veterinary services and help meet market requirements
  1. Livestock trade enhancement
  • 15 live animal and meat export traders from IGAD MS participated on GULF FOOD fair in 2016 and also other 15 in 2017 ; shared their promotion materials and identified new buyers
  • Explored alternative market to South East Asia in Sept 2016 (Vietnam and Malaysia) with the participation of chief Veterinary officers/CVO/ and exporters from each MS; Ethiopia and Kenya already got permission to export offals to Vietnam and commenced exports; and other IGAD MS have also applied to be authorized to export offals and meat.
  • Established IGAD CVOs, exporters, and Importers joint committee to enhance trust and transparency in meat and livestock trade and minimize the bans on exporting MS
  • Trade counsellors of IGAD exporting member states stationed in 7 importing countries such as from Dubai, Abudabi; Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, and Egypt were gathered to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and trained on import requirements and promotion of livestock and livestock products.
  • A mission comprising of policy makers (Ministers and Parliamentarians) was conducted in Dec 2016. The mission raised awareness of the above policy makers on the application and benefit of Livestock identification and traceability (LITS) in the commercial and communal sectors. The policy makers from MS have agreed to advocate for increased resource allocation and to institutionalize LITS to strengthen its application and use at different levels
  • Regional Sanitary-Phyto Sanitary (SPS) strategy developed and validated with MS: Efforts are under way to support MS to domesticate the above strategy and implement to improve  market compliance
  1. Support to private sector – North East Africa Livestock council (NEALCO).
  • This is a regional livestock stakeholders association who has been supported by ICPALD and African Union to develop strategic plan, promote itself and establish national chapters in each of IGAD MS.
  • NEALCO members supported to learn experiences from South Africa and Botswana on improved feedlot practices and slaughter houses (exporting to Europe)
  • Training on policy, investment, communication and advocacy (PICA) was organized and provided to the 21 North East Africa Livestock council (NEALCO) regional committee members and national chapters’ leaders. A training manual for further reference for participants was also shared. This training assisted them to have capacity to deliver their strategy
  • Supported NEACLO to hold livestock expo in Kenya to enable it promote improved livestock practices and also to generate resources for the association,
  1. Publications  – resource material developed and shared to MS;
  • Various publications published and shared to the 7 IGAD MS and other stakeholders in hard copies and electronically: these are training manuals,  policy briefs, Regional Animal health bulletin, and regional guidelines and strategies


The role of media such as daily news papers, radio, bloggers, and Farmers Review Africa in linking regional bodies and livestock actors and sharing key information and in providing feedback need not be over emphasized and we are, thus, grateful to the Farmers Review Africa management for the opportunity to contribute this article. It is our hope that this marks the beginning of continued collaboration


We thank for our partners and stakeholders such as Member states, African Union, FAO, EU, USAID, Italian Government and World Bank for financial support used to deliver the above outputs

Contact address for more information

Dr Solomon Munyua; ICPALD Director:

Dr. Ameha Sebsibe; Head Livestock, ICPALD:


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