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May 10 - 16, 2013


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African small holders need greater
government support - F.A.O.

African countries are yet to implement the 10 percent budgetary allocation on agriculture as agreed back in 2003

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Friday called on African governments to implement policies that will help the continent’s small livestock producers to tap the growing demand for animal proteins.

FAO Livestock Economist Uga Pica-Ciamarra told journalists in Nairobi that due to a number of constraints the region is now a net importer of livestock products.

“The small scale farmers holders should therefore be positioned to benefit from the huge market for milk, meat and eggs that will come out of Africa in the next decades,” Pica-Ciamarra said.

He called on governments to develop a private sector model for the small industry players that is sustainable enough in order to avoid the heavy reliance on livestock imports which is a reflection of surging demand.

This comes even as African countries are yet to implement the 10 percent budgetary allocation on agriculture as agreed back in 2003. Uga Pica-Ciamarra noted up to 60 percent of rural households in Africa keep livestock.

FAO said that while the U.S. capita consumption of meat is estimated at 100 kg, Africa’s is slightly above 10 kg. Pica- Ciamarra added that a strong protein diet will also help reduce the high levels of malnutrition present in the region.

“Livestock products are known to contain vital micro-nutrients that are not found in grains,” he said.

FAO’s Global Market Analysis of 2012 indicated that most of the global meat production expansion in the future will come from the developing countries.

Livestock Economist noted that Africa’s economy is growing very fast and with this comes growing purchasing power. “The continent will have to be innovative as it requires 8 kg of grains to produce one kg of beef,” he said.

African Union’s Inter-African Bureau of Animal Resources Information System Manager Ibrahim Ahmed said the continental body is concerned about the industry’s under performance despite the continent’s huge potential.

“This is as a result of issues related to low productivity as well as difficulty in complying with international sanitary standards,” he said. Ahmed noted that southern African nations especially Botswana have managed to establish a well developed livestock sector.

FAO Agricultural Economist Nancy Morgan said that it is difficult to invest in Africa’s poultry sector due to underlying constraints.

“The complex land tenure system does not provide an incentive for livestock producers to invest in their land in order to achieve higher productivity equal to their counterparts in the developed world,” she said.

The economist noted that by 2050, 70 percent of Africa’s population is expected to live in urban areas.

“This will present a huge challenge in feeding Africa’s cities which will require improved protein diets as more and more women move away from farms and work in urban areas,” she said.

Morgan noted that a study of Kenya’s 2010 drought showed that the livestock deaths reduced the country’s gross domestic product by 0.5 percent.

Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture Data management Officer Joseph Sserugga said that his country’s animal resource play a vital social economic role.

“Lack of a viable social safety net has forced most of the population to keep livestock as savings which are converted to cash during emergencies,” he said.

Longin Nsiima, head of the Statistics Unit of Tanzania’s Ministry of Livestock, said his country has the third largest stock of livestock in Africa after Ethiopia and Sudan.

“Unfortunately, the sector faces numerous challenges due to the high cost of inputs while most breeds have low productivity,” he said.

The FAO, World Bank and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) are currently implementing a three year, 2.5 million U.S. dollars pilot project in Tanzania, Uganda and Niger dubbed the Livestock Data Innovation in Africa in order to improve statics collection in order to better manage the sector.


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