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On 4th April, the Second Steering Committee of Enhancing Somali Livestock Trade (ESOLT) Project implemented through a partnership of AU-IBAR and FAO Somalia and funded by the European Union met in Entebbe, Uganda. The meeting was attended by the European Commission, (EC), Somali veterinary authorities from Ministry of Livestock, Somaliland, Ministry of Livestock and Animal Husbandry Puntland, The Ministry of Livestock, Forestry and Range, Federal Government of Somalia and representatives of the respective chambers of Commerce and Industry for Somaliland and Puntland. AU-IBAR co-chaired the Committee and reported to the European Commission and the Steering Committee, progress made to date including the signature of an addendum to the beneficiary contracts worth over €3 million for the implementation of additional project year at no additional cost.
Prof James Wabacha, representing the Director of AU-IBAR appreciated the EU’s commitment to funding several projects implemented by AU-IBAR and the region. Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, said: “The European Union continues to deliver on its commitment to provide massive support to Syrian refugees and host communities in Turkey. Most recently, contracts worth over €200 million were signed to boost education infrastructure, build and equip schools and to facilitate access to schooling for tens of thousands of refugee children. The European Union thus provides the most vulnerable refugees with the chance for a better life in Turkey.“
Rudi VavAken, the FAO representative to the meeting expressed appreciation with the political commitment demonstrated by the ministers present at the meeting. He posed that FAO is committed to move full steam ahead in facilitating concrete responses to the impending issues including standards, dialogue and management structures, and collaboration between state and the private sector.
Martino Vinci, representing the EU expressed the EU’s commitment to supporting the Somali livestock sector way into the future. He promised to pushing forward stronger commitments that address both the drought and the temporary ban in livestock from Somali regions, and since livestock has no boundaries indicated that the EU has great expectation s of the Stakeholder consultation process.
Abdillahi Dahir Mohamed, Minister of Livestock Somaliland, indicated: “that the Somali regions face two threats of the livestock ban and the on-going drought. The Somali people are one and livestock from various regions have congregated in Puntland to obtain life-saving assistance for their livelihoods.” He conveyed his appreciation to the EU representative, FAO, AU-IBAR, IGAD, and the Ministry of Livestock of Uganda for hosting the meeting. He noted the role of the technical Organisations (AU-IBAR, IGAD/ICPALD and FAO) are playing a friendly role pertinent to lifting Somali livestock trade temporary ban, that has adversely affected the Somali people. “This ban has hit us all very hard. The country has been hit hard by severe drought and exacerbated by the livestock ban which is worse than the drought“. He noted that it was time to critically reflect on the livestock trade ban, its impact, challenges, what went wrong since the Somali people cannot continue to manage under these conditions. The Minister urged the meeting to suggest concrete technical measures that will address the ban in the long term.
Solid progress in implementation
During the meeting, the AU-IBAR reported to the Facility Steering Committee on the progress achieved in the implementation of the project. Key amongst these under achievements include Improved trade decision-making through Livestock Market Information System (LMIS) that has been extended to incorparate data collection system in six (6) markets of south/central Somalia. Markets are Mogadishu, Jowhar, Baidoa, Beletweyene, Guri-el and Kismayo to be further integrated to the one in Somaliland and Puntland. The ESOLT project has further enhanced the networking and negotiation skills as well as trade linkages for 115 Somali livestock value chain actors from all areas i.e. Milan Expo (22), Kenya Breeders show (9), Dubai Safe trade (71), Malaysia (5), International Trade show “Agriculture Food, beverage and packaging solutions and technology” Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (5) and Egypt trade mission (7). The ESOLT project has strengthened the Institutional capacities by engaging Somali institutions (public and private sector) in preparatory work assessments i.e. market support, infrastructures to support operations of the formal grading system. Under Results 2: Compliance to market requirements for trade in livestock commodities improved, the EU funded project has improved capacity for compliance by training 138 Somali Veterinary Professionals (SVPs) strengthened to supervise and regulate livestock export quarantines, assure export certification and diagnose trade limiting diseases.
The participants welcomed the solid progress made to date, after the significant delays experienced in the first year. They endorsed the extension as crucial for the implementation of the very relevant project. Regarding humanitarian assistance, the Steering Committee requested the EU to expeditiously roll-out additional funds to address the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) during the drought and further support the emergency treatment and water trucking activities in the Somali regions.
The project was urged to establish an operations Project Management committee to interphase between line ministries, FAO and AU-IBAR and hold periodic meetings as appropriate.
Develop financial and institutional sustainability models for the Livestock Market information system (LMIS) to ensure it is entrenchedthrough public private partnerships and end user contributions
Involve the owners of the quarantines in discussion regarding the implementation of the SMP & SOPs in collaboration with IGAD/ICPALD, AU-IBAR & FAO.
The Enhancing Somali Livestock Trade (ESOLT) Project – FED/2014/339-986 – worth 3 million Euro project is a joint initiative of the African Union – Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and the European Union (EU). The project is implemented by AU-IBAR in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations for the benefit of the people of Somalia.
ESOLT seeks to sustainably promote trade in the export of Somali livestock and livestock products, whilst also ensuring exports of better quality and variety, to reach various regional and international markets in a reliable and consistent way and building their competitiveness. The growth and regulation of livestock trade is also expected to contribute to the resilience of livestock dependent households. The project is expected to achieve three results, namely:
R1. Competiveness of Somali livestock in international markets enhanced;
R2. Compliance to market requirements for trade in livestock commodities improved; and,
R3. Governance of Somali livestock value chains improved.