The livestock sub-sector has a central role in building the economies and livelihoods of East African citizens as evidenced by the high and increasing demand for livestock and livestock products. However, the sub-sector is faced with many challenges.
Existing policies and regulatory frameworks are often restrictive and act as barriers to market participation of producers and traders. In order to spur sustainable development of the livestock sub-sector a number of key instruments have been developed and adopted by EAC Policy Organs.
Key achievements under the Livestock development programme include the following;
EAC Livestock Policy
The Council of Ministers adopted the EAC Livestock Policy in 2016. It focuses on coherent set of strategic decisions and actions for enhancing growth in livestock productivity and competitiveness.
The policy envisions a “vibrant livestock industry contributing significantly to improved living standards of EAC citizens, economic growth and sustainable natural resources management by 2025.”
Harmonization of Registration of Veterinary Vaccines
In an effort to ease access to and use of safe and quality vaccines for control of animal diseases, the EAC Council of Ministers adopted a Mutual Recognition Procedure (MRP) for registration of vaccines for the management of animal diseases in 2014. The MRP harmonised registration system allows licenses or market authorizations (MAs) issued in one partner state to be recognized by other partner states, hence reducing the time and cost of processing multiple licenses (market authorizations) within the Community. This will also reduce duplication of dossier assessments and allowing the rapid introduction of good quality immunological products into more markets at less cost.
A Technical Working Groups (TWG) and Coordination Group for Mutual Recognition (CGMR) developed a number of documentations to facilitate Marketing Authorisations of immunological veterinary products using the mutual recognition procedures. The documents which are regularly updated by the Technical Working Groups can be accessed on here: Mutual Recognition Procedure (MRP) for registration of vaccines for the management of animal diseases.
A total of 7 products have been registered under the EAC MRP mechanism and additional 10 at various stages of evaluation and registration. The Global Alliance for Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed) has supported the MRP initiative since inception.
Mutual Recognition Agreement among Veterinary Professionals
Mutual Recognition Agreement among Veterinary Professionals in the EAC has been adopted by the Council of Ministers.
The Agreement will promote increased availability of veterinary services across the region; spread best practice in regulation and raise standards of qualification, which would help to support the development of the livestock sub sector.
The EAC Veterinary Governance in Africa (VETGOV)
The project has been implemented with financial and technical support from the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR). It has been dedicated to strengthening regional institutions to play their roles of coordination, harmonization, and integration with the aim to stimulate a more conducive environment for public and private investments in the livestock sector.
Under this project, National Livestock Policy hubs have been formed in all the EAC Partner States to stimulate a more conducive policy and institutional environment for public and private investments in the livestock sector.
The Action for Enhancing Resilience of Pastoralists in the EAC
The socio-economic importance of pastoralism in East Africa cannot be overstated. Over 90% of cattle pastoral and agro-pastoral communities’ own sheep and goats in East Africa.
Pastoralism creates employment, generates revenue and contributes significantly to the high and increasing demand for livestock and livestock products in the national and international markets. However, the contribution of pastoralism to economic development is underestimated and often missed in national and regional accounting systems. A Plan of Action for Enhancing Resilience of Pastoralists in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands in the EAC was adopted by the 31st Council of Ministers.
Memorandum of Understanding on Joint Cross-Border Cooperation in the Prevention and Control of transboundary animal diseases (TADs) and zoonoses
The East African Community (EAC) Region experiences a high prevalence of TADs and zoonoses many of which are endemic to the region and constitute a major constraint to livestock production and productivity. The diseases adversely impact animal health, public health, food and nutrition security, wildlife conservation as well as tourism and trade in livestock and livestock products.
Effective prevention and control of transboundary animal diseases and zoonoses requires cooperation/ collaboration of the EAC Partner States in tackling the common biosecurity threats along the shared borders.
The Kenya-Tanzania border is very rich in transboundary biodiversity and natural resources including abundant wildlife populations, which are a major tourist attraction. Seasonal cross-border migration of wild animals plays a significant role in the epidemiology of many TADs in the two Partner States. Cross-border movement of people, livestock and livestock products and the open wildlife ecosystem constitutes a major biosecurity threat.
With financial assistance from USAID Kenya and East Africa, the EAC Secretariat facilitated development and signing of a joint MOU between the Republic of Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania (URT) on Joint Cross-Border Cooperation in the Prevention and Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases and Zoonoses. The MOU was signed in December 2021. An Action Plan has been developed to facilitate implementation of joint interventions agreed upon.