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Comesa establishes regional livestock hub

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THE Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) has established a regional livestock hub, which will operate as a network of stakeholders interested in and committed to improving the institutional environment at regional level in order to have effective and efficient animal health, welfare, livestock trade and production services.

BY TARISAI MANDIZHA

This development comes at a time Zimbabwe is set to introduce command livestock programme which is set to boost the national herd.

According to the Comesa quarterly report, the regional hub was launched last month in Mauritius after a livestock forum.

During the two-day meeting, the delegates critically reflected on potential responsibilities and contributions of the hub in the development of the livestock sector in Comesa and an action plan.

Comesa said the action plan included the steps to formalise the hub as a tool for livestock development within the 19-member Comesa region including Zimbabwe.

The Minister of Agro-Industry of Mauritius Mahen Kumar Seeruttun, who officially opened the forum, emphasised the need for the region to have systems which will help develop the livestock sector.

“We do recognise the important role of livestock production in poverty alleviation and providing meaningful livelihoods to a large number of our citizens. We assure you of our support to the Livestock Policy Hub to enable it fulfil its role in the drafting of livestock policies that are meaningful for our farmers,” Seeruttun said.

African Union Inter-African Bureau of Animal Resources director Ahmed El-Sawalhy said his organisation was committed to ensuring sustainable use of animal resources and guarantee maximum contribution to socio-economic development of the continent.

According to the report, Comesa secretary-general Sindiso Ngwenya described the livestock hub as crucial as it would help improve investment, intra and inter-regional trade in livestock and livestock products.

“The regional hub will strengthen our regional integration for better control of trans-boundary diseases and improve production and productivity of livestock agriculture for the benefit of Comesa citizens,” Ngwenya said.

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