You are here: HomeNews2011 06 20Article 211703

General News of Monday, 20 June 2011

Source: GNA

Small ruminant production, crucial for food security in West Africa

Accra, June 20, GNA- Mr Andy Cook, a Consultant with the West Africa Trade Hub has recommended the improvement of small ruminant production to ensure food security in the sub-region.

He said this has become necessary due to the stagnation of livestock production in the sub-region as a result of livestock numbers over the drought cycles, fattening options that occur seasonally and veterinary care difficulties amongst many other

constraints. Speaking at a two-day workshop in Accra organized by the USAID through its Agribusiness and Trade Promotion (ATP), Mr Cook explained that the current stagnation situation of livestock in the sub-region would have some implications on food security.

The situation, he noted, would affect food security in a smaller number of food- insecure households, coastal urban markets dominated by imported meat whilst small ruminant which were important for rural food security were being traded locally. The workshop organized 35 key stakeholders from Ghana, Benin, Togo, Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Cote d'Ivoire and the United States will present and discuss the potential implications of and USAID's perspective on continued support for the livestock/meat value chain. It will also cover creating livestock export opportunities as well as new

opportunities for transporters and traders, the role of livestock breeding in

promoting regional food security and the relationship between livestock breading,

natural resources and ecosystems within the context of changing climate condition. Mr Cook explained that meat was an important component of daily meals in West

Africa and because of its high demand, particularly in the region's coast= al countries, most coastal markets get flooded with meat imported from outside the region= .. "While trade in live animals still dominates, there is the also an opportunity for the Sahel to supply good quality meat to coastal countries to compete with the large quantity of imported chilled and frozen meat, once barriers of trade are removed

and issues of quality and competitiveness are addressed'. He said the issues of electricity cuts, poorly maintained cold rooms, unreliable

sanitary control, reliance on public-sector support and unworthy refrigerated trucks

with limited backhaul possibilities should be addressed with all seriousnes= s to

enhance high quality meat delivery; just-in-time deliveries of perishable commodity

and sales in upmarket outlets to demanding clients. Mr Cook called for a joint venture between Sahelian and coastal capita= l to ensure

that business men with standing high capitalization, and create incentive i= n both countries to make bilateral trade work.

Mr Ismael Ouedraogo of the USAID ATP said the workshop was a regional initiative aimed at increasing the value and volume of intra-regional agricultural trade and food security in three value chains which were livestock/meat, maize/cereals and onion/shallot covering seven West African countries. He said the workshop will have the findings and recommendations of a recent USAID West Africa Trade Hub study on transport and market logistics along key livestock trade corridors especially the Fada N'Gourma, Burkina Faso-Parakou, Benin route and the priorities of the regional livestock organization COFENABVI and those of USAID bilateral missions.