Livestock Development: Key in ensuring food and Nutritional Security and Enhancing Export Earnings in Ethiopia: The 33rd Annual Conference of The Ethiopian Veterinary Association
For more than three decades, The Ethiopian Veterinary Association has been organizing annual conferences on current and critical themes related to animal health and livestock development. The platform has been networking and creating good opportunity for knowledge and experience sharing among academicians, researchers, veterinary clinicians, private sectors, developmental organizations and others. Furthermore, conference outputs have been documented and shared with pertinent partners as an input for livestock policy and development.
On September 18th and 19th 2019, The Ethiopian Veterinary Association, convened its yearly awaited conference for the 33rd times on a theme “Livestock Development: Key in ensuring food and Nutritional Security and Enhancing Export Earnings in Ethiopia ". The conference was honored by the presence of H.E. Mrs. Aynalem Nigussie and H.E. Dr. G/Egziabher G/Yohannes, State Ministers, Ministry of Agriculture, and delegates from House of Representatives. More than 550 participants – including invited honorable guests, EVA members, pertinent government institutions and private sector partners - had attended the conference held at United Nation – Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA).
The 33rd Annual Conference was organized with the aim:
- To strengthen the Ethiopian Veterinary Association by maintaining the conference platform to exchange ideas and views on livestock development.
- To initiate policy debate on the role of livestock development in Ethiopia and, influence policy makers on implications of institutional arrangement on food and nutrition security and livestock and products export trade
- To create a common understanding for knowledge sharing on recent livestock development efforts and policy issues among veterinary professionals and other stakeholders operating in and out of the country.
- To bring on focus any emerging animal diseases and issues along the animal health service.
- To produce, collect, collate and disseminate knowledge materials in electronic and print forms to boost up public awareness on the role of livestock development in Ethiopia.
- To document good practices and share experiences among veterinary professionals and concerned stakeholders.
Key events of the conference (Conference Itinerary)
Following registration of members, the conference began with a-minute of silence for professionals and members of the association, who passed away during the year 2019. Professionals promoted to full professorship were also recognized during the event. The event was led by Dr. Bojia Endebu - The Donkey Sanctuary - Ethiopia and Dr. Fitsum Alemayehu - Biotech PLC.
Following the brief introduction of the conference, Dr. Edmealem Shitaye – President of EVA – took the stage and officially welcomed the conference participants.
In his speech he indicated the significant role of the livestock sector in economic growth, food security and livelihoods, and the concerning challenges of the sector impeding its growth. He also noted that, the livestock sector remains untapped despite the rapid growth in demand for food of animal origin.
He further emphasized the need to capitalize on the understanding, the role of the sub-sector in ensuring food and nutrition security, its contribution to export trade, and consideration of the implications of institutional arrangement as a current necessity. Last in his speech, Dr. Edmealem provided a preview of the year’s annual conference, and wished participants a pleasant stay.
Following his speech, Dr. Edmealem invited the day’s Guest of Honor, H.E. Mrs. Aynalem Nigussie – State Minister, Ministry of Agriculture to officially open the conference.
H.E. Mrs. Aynalem Nigussie after acknowledging the contributions of EVA to the development of the livestock sector in Ethiopia, she officiated the conference by delivering a brief speech. In her speech Mr. Aynalem note that,
The conference would enable participants and policy makers to understand emerging issues that affect livestock producers in the quest to transform the livestock sector in Ethiopia and Africa at large. Her excellency also hoped the conference recognizes government expectation to come up with practical solution to better the livelihood of pastoralists and agro-pastoralists.
Mrs Aynalem also indicated her sincere belief that the forum provides an excellent platform to align priorities for comprehensive sectoral engagement in fighting droughts, malnutrition and poverty while encouraging income and export growth for key value chain actors in the sector.
She has also stressed the need for collaboration with institutions like EVA and its counter parts to look for balanced approach to resolve key bottlenecks that impede livestock breed, health and feed to increase production and productivity and create a conducive environment for a disease-free livestock sector. EVA alongside the Ministry of Agriculture is expected to work hand in hand to facilitate growth in the sector and provide all the tools necessary for involved parties to succeed; the association is expected to support the Ministry in providing policy advice, in upholding member’s highest ethical standards when they conduct their business and provide insight and innovative approach to expand the livestock export trade.
In her speech, H.E. Mrs Aynalem further shared the five key engagements the Ministry is involved in to fast track transformation in the livestock sector. These include:
- Boundless commitment of the government to grow the livestock sector
- Dryland development in pastoralists and Agro-pastoralists regions.
- Execution of the Livestock Master Plan.
- Policy reforms in a Public and Private Partnership (PPP)
- Private sector engagement in investment
The Ministry of Agriculture is working on the ground to support the livestock sector: from research to extension, from input provision to supporting exporters in acquiring foreign currencies, from building quarantine to fighting illegal trade, from promoting livestock sector to investors to branding Ethiopia’ product; but more is expected to change the trajectory of our pastoralists and agro-pastoralist.
Following the opening session, participants together with the Guest of Honors posed for a group photograph, and later visited exhibitions prepared by 16 sponsoring organizations (livestock production and veterinary inputs importers, producers, whole sellers and distributors).
Presentation and plenary sessions
This session was the highlight of the conference. Seven presentations - classified under three sub themes – were delivered by guest speakers representing different institutions.
Core areas addressed include, Livestock development in Ethiopian context and its contribution to food and nutritional security, live animal and animal products export trade and SPS quality requirements, and implications of institutional arrangement on food and nutrition security and livestock export trade. Discussions were held on each of the presentations led by chair persons and minutes were recorded by rapporteurs.
Presented articles and respective guest speakers of the 33rd annual conference
Contribution of Livestock to Food Security: Challenges and Opportunities’
Dr. Ricarda Mondry, (FAO - Sub- Regional Office for Eastern Africa (SFE)
Livestock and Nutritional Security: Experience, Trends and Interventions
Dr. Feyesa Regassa, Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI)
Status of Under Nutrition and Interventions in Ethiopia
Dr. Zewdie Aderaw, Debre Markos University
Milk Matters: Impact of goat feeding and animal health care on child milk access in Ethiopia
Dr. Gezu Bekele, TRE-Consultancy
Opportunities and challenges for live animal and meat export trade
Dr. Gedion Yilma, Ministry of Agriculture (MoA)
SPS and other quality requirements for live-animals and red-meat export and interventions to improve these requirements.
Dr. Asayehegn Bekele, Ministry of Agriculture (MoA)
Implications of institutional arrangement on livestock-based food and nutrition security and export earnings
Dr. Yismashewa Wogayehu, Ministry of Agriculture (MoA)
Key points taken from presentations and plenary sessions:
- Livestock play critical role in food and nutrition security, and in export earnings from live animal and animal products; in Ethiopia the sector is still untapped.
- The livestock sector needs to be encouraged and supported through better policy. The institutional arrangements made should promote the development of the sector;
- The private sector needs to be engaged more in the livestock development arena – encouraging the public-private partnership.
- Finalizing and endorsing various draft proclamations and legislations would support in the development of the livestock sector. Among which, establishment of the Veterinary Statutory body is an urgent matter in regulating the Animal health service in the country
- Strengthening the national SPS committee should be considered as a priority
- The government needs to invest more on the livestock resources to get the best out of it.
- Media use would further enable to enrich ideas of livestock development and at the same time reach policy makers.
Two additional presentations were delivered: Dr. Erik Mijten (Veterinary Affairs Manager, Zoetis ALPHA Initiative) – Introduced Zoetis ALPHA initiative and Dr. Solomon (ILRI – HEARD Project Coordinator) – announced award on: Public-Private Partnership (PPP) for improving Veterinary Service.
EVA Business session
During the business session, the Ethiopian Veterinary Journal - Editorial Board Report, EVA - Secretariat Office 2011 E.C accomplishments and 2012 E.C work plans, and external audit reports were presented and discussed by the general assembly.
Executive board members fulfilling election was also carried out. Four candidates were nominated by the general assembly, Dr. Fitsum Alemayehu (from Biotech PLC) was elected as the new executive board member.
Resolution of the 33rd Annual EVA Conference (Amharic Version)
As the event came to its conclusion, the conference resolution (click to download the PDF version), was presented by the resolution committee to the General Assembly and got approved.
During the closing session, sponsoring organizations were given a podium recognition for their significant support in making the conference a success. Dr. Meresa Keno - Senior Veterinarian and distinguished member of EVA – gave the awards and certificates to representatives of sponsoring organizations.
Finally, Dr. Bayisa Tesfaye, a senior vet and distinguished member of EVA – officially closed the 33rd annual EVA conference.