Ethiopian Boran cattle (photo credit: ILRI/Camille Hanotte).
Jimmy Smith, director general of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), is in New York City this week to attend the High-Level Policy Forum on Sustainable Development at the UN Headquarters.
Smith is a panel member in a special session occurring today (10 Jul 2017, 1:15–2:30pm, Conference Room A) organized by the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture—Sustainable livestock and the UN 2030 Agenda for sustainable development: From science-based evidence to action through multi-stakeholder partnerships. In this session, Smith provides a concrete example of livestock advancing Agenda 2030 in the form of an Ethiopian ‘livestock master plan’ developed by the Ethiopian Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries with ILRI’s technical support and project funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as in-kind resources invested by the Ethiopian Government and ILRI.
Recognizing the livestock sector as one of the drivers of Ethiopia’s economy, the government has made a huge investment to develop the livestock sector as well as to create a conducive investment environment for the private sector.
The government has established four integrated agro-industry parks to provide the private sector with incentives to invest in ago-processing, thereby speeding transformation of the country’s livestock sector.
—Gebregziabher Gebreyohannes, Ethiopian State Minister for Livestock and Fishery
How science and policy on sustainable livestock affect action on the ground in Ethiopia
Although the Ethiopian government had prioritized development of agriculture as part of its Growth and Transformation Plan (GTPII 2015–2020), until recently priorities for the country’s livestock sector were lacking. Addressing this led to development of Ethiopia’s livestock master plan.
A technical advisory committee provided oversight of the project. This committee brought together the skills and perspectives of directors of key departments and institutes in the Livestock State Ministry and Ministry of Agriculture as well as representatives from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) and the presidents of relevant professional associations of livestock experts, including the Ethiopian Society of Animal Production (ESAP) and the Ethiopian Veterinary Association (EVA).
More than 50 stakeholders across the country were consulted to provide the parameters for, and data inputs to, the assessment. These experts subsequently validated, refined and strengthened the results generated by quantitative analyses made using the tool.
Development of the plan was made possible by many previous years of work that led to development and use of a livestock sector analysis tool, known as the ‘Livestock Sector Investment and Policy Toolkit’, by ALive (African Partnership for Livestock Development) of AU-IBAR (African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources), as well as the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) and the World Bank, with the latter providing support to implement the toolkit and to train livestock specialists in its use. The livestock sector analysis implemented using this tool then formed the basis for developing targets for GTPII and the livestock master plan.
Sustainable development goals
Assessing the livestock sector analysis against the GTPII objectives and indicators required the assessment to go well beyond plans for producing more meat, milk and eggs; it had to consider the wider implications of livestock development for poverty reduction, food security, economic growth, livestock exports (foreign exchange) and climate change.
The plan articulates priorities for small- to large-scale livestock value chains for poultry, red meat, milk and cross-bred dairy cows. The plan estimates that such investments will significantly reduce poverty, improve food security, increase exports and raise national incomes.
Multi-stakeholder engagement will continue to be critical to implementing the livestock master plan. It’s foreseen, for example, that such partnerships will be needed:
- to apply science-based technical solutions to cattle breeding interventions, genetic selection, vaccination and parasite control, and feed interventions
- to build conducive policy environments for public and private veterinary service provision, regulatory and quality controls for veterinary and feed inputs, private-sector agribusiness development, livestock traceability systems, and livestock disease surveillance.
- to build new public-private partnerships for importing and disseminating poultry breeds and livestock vaccines.
Financial Times article on Ethiopia’s livestock master plan
Published today (10 July 2017) in the Financial Times of the UK is an opinion piece about the value of this livestock master plan. It is written by Barry Shapiro, senior livestock development advisor who helped develop the plan.
What follows are some of Shapiro’s key messages in his opinion piece.
Often dubbed an ‘African tiger’ after a decade of economic growth averaging 10 per cent a year between 2004 and 2014, Ethiopia is in a state of transformation.
‘In an ambitious bid to achieve the status of a middle-income country by 2025, the government has developed an extensive blueprint for progress—its Growth and Transformation Plan 2015–2020—which has prioritised the development of agriculture.
‘More specifically, the plan identifies the role of the livestock sector in helping to achieve some of the most critical sustainable development goals: reducing poverty by almost 20 per cent, raising national incomes, increasing exports and greatly improving the food and nutritional security of rural and urban people.
‘Sounds too good to be true? When carefully researched and mapped out in a do-able plan, the many benefits of the country’s growing livestock sector promise just such a revolution. . . .
‘Last year, ILRI scientists began working with Tanzanian and Rwandan scientists and government officials to develop livestock master plans in those countries. It is our hope that successful implementation of Ethiopia’s plan will lead to a “chain reaction” across the continent. . . .’
The Ethiopia livestock master plan makes the case for targeted investments in livestock both clear and compelling.
What remains is to find the best ways for the plan to be realised to help give this African tiger its roar.
Read the whole opinion piece by ILRI’s Barry Shapiro in the Financial Times: Ethiopia livestock plan offers route to middle-income, 10 Jul 2017.
More about the Ethiopia livestock master plan:
Institutions and policies to implement the Ethiopia livestock master plan, ILRI, Aug 2015
Key findings, ILRI, Jul 2015
Breeding, ILRI, Aug 2015
Health, ILRI, Aug 2015
Main report, ILRI, Aug 2015