Jun 1, 2011, 3:44 PM
The launching also coincided with the start of a three-day training session on animal resources information system, at the Ocean Bay Hotel in Cape Point, Bakau.
“The National Livestock Policy Hub aims to improve the contribution of livestock to food security, economic growth and wealth creation in Africa, through strengthening the veterinary services and stimulation of a conducive environment for public and private investment in the livestock sector,” an AU-IBAR statement said.
According to officials, the meeting was funded by AU-IBAR under the Reinforcing Veterinary Governance in Africa VET-GOV Programme.
Speaking at the launching, Dr Baboucarr Jaw, VET-GOV programme coordinator, thanked the Gambia government for playing host to the AU-IBAR meeting.
He urged the participants to share their knowledge and experience in the processes of enhancing the institutional framework and processes, for a better delivery of veterinary services both by the public sector and non-state actors.
In line with its mandate, he continued, AU-IBAR is exploring practical strategies to assist member states and regional economic communities (RECs) to sustainably manage their animal resources.
The main approach to achieve these results is the mobilization of technical and financial resources, to undertake interventions aimed at addressing the challenges facing animal resources development in Africa, he said.
He spoke of the efforts aimed at improving the capacity to formulate and implement development policies, that are increasingly focused on the need to reform public administration and to redefine its relationships with private actors, civil society and the international community.
According to Dr Jaw, the prevailing institutional environment in most African countries is not conducive to the provision of quality, affordable, accessible and sustainable animal health services.
Assan Jallow, deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, said the Gambia government in its continuous efforts to improve livestock production and productivity for food security, poverty reduction and empowerment of rural livestock farmers, was in line with AU-IBAR evidence-based advocacy for policies and legislation changes.
This, he said, would increase investment in the livestock sector and the improvement of critical competencies of veterinary services within AU member states.
According to Mr Jallow, since 1994 The Gambia had been defining and implementing poverty alleviation and reduction strategies aimed at operationalising and realising the country’s Vision 2020.
He also revealed that livestock contributes about 8.6 per cent of national GDP, and has enormous potential to make a significant contribution to employment creation, empowerment and increasing food security.
The use of accurate animal health data and information has continued to evolve, and has progressed to become an essential tool for planning, policy formulation and legislation, promotion of trade and for advocacy to attract and promote investment and resources allocation to the livestock sub-sector for development purposes, he said.
He added that the overall objective of ARIS 2 is to enhance the information and knowledge management capacity of AU member states and regional economic communities, to swiftly respond to disease emergencies and to properly plan interventions in animal production, marketing and trade, as well as attract investment into the subsector.
The need for evidence-based, high quality and timely information of the animal resources has become ever more relevant and, as such, the training session was very timely following the recent re-establishment of the department of livestock services, he said.