THE East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has passed a motion tabled by its member, Dr Woda Odok, with regard to The Livestock Bill 2020 that seeks to provide for the transboundary movement of livestock and control of animal diseases within the East African Community (EAC).
The bill will grant coordinated identification, characterisation, mapping and enumeration of livestock.
It also seeks to strengthen the detection, prevention and control of transboundary animal diseases, and provides for a regulatory framework to monitor pastoral ecosystems.
Dr Odok from South Sudan was of the view that the bill would boost the national efforts made by partner states to mitigate and address challenges faced by pastoralists and their livestock within their territories.
She said that outbreaks of trans-boundary animal diseases cause devastating economic losses to pastoralists and livestock farmers and efforts by the EAC to collectively prevent and control such diseases were vital.
“Such diseases, among other things, cause negative impact on livestock, agriculture, trade and food security,” the legislator explained, adding that numerous challenges adversely affect livelihoods of pastoralists in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) within the Community, including diminishing access to forage and water resources, pests and diseases,” she explained.
“The result is the deteriorating impact of natural disaster related to droughts, flooding and increasing levels of destitution. In addition, invasive alien species threaten the drylands, conflicts and rustling, lead to economic and political marginalisation.” She said it was necessary for the EAC to collectively stepup measures to harmonise and standardise systems for identification and characterisation of livestock.
She said that measures as well as surveillance of livestock and wildlife in order to detect, prevent and control transboundary diseases, zoonotic diseases are vital to establish and enhance early warning systems to ensure rapid detection and control of disease outbreaks.
The Livestock Bill further anticipates the establishment of a Livestock Fund whose assets are to be utilised to facilitate regional and national institutions conducting livestock, wildlife and primate research and vaccine development as well as facilitate detection, prevention and control of trans-boundary animal diseases and zoonotic diseases.
Ms Josephine Lemoyan from Tanzania was keen and committed to ensure food security, saying that the bill was clearly aligned to a number of protocols for which the community is implementing.
“With implementation of protocols (Customs Union and Common Market), we have increased movement of people and goods. We need harmonisation of issues around livestock sector. It will promote issues on enhancement of livelihoods which therefore will enhance impact of socio-economic livelihoods on the citizens,” she said.
Mr Mathias Kasamba from Uganda noted that livestock accounted for close to 40 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product of the EAC partner states and that if well-coordinated, integrated investment of the industry could create enhanced livelihood.
He called on partner states to amplify the issue of livestock movement across borders and said the aspect of exchange of cross border products be handled within aspects of free movement of persons and goods as well as under the harmonised aspects of preventing diseases.
Ms Muhia Wanjiku from Kenya said that the livestock sector was a key contributor to employment and economic development of the region.
She urged the EAC Council of Ministers to support the bill, saying consensus was necessary to ensure its eventual assent.
Ambassador Fatuma Ndangiza from Rwanda said the bill touched on agriculture and food security that was a fundamental tenet of the treaty for the establishment of the EAC but the sector is stricken by poverty