ENTEBBE-UGANDA, 7 April, 2017 - A two day consultative meeting held in Entebbe, Uganda funded by the European Union’s Enhancing Somali Livestock Trade (ESOLT) project resolved to back efforts to encourage a lifting of the export ban imposed by Saudi Arabia on Somali livestock. The project, implemented by the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), will assist in coordinating and supervising these efforts in a bid to relieve the impact of the ban which is exacerbated by the current drought in the sub-region.
Livestock is the main Somali export earner and Saudi Arabia is the largest market for Somali livestock. Communities in Somalia have suffered since the Gulf country imposed the ban on Somali livestock in December 2016.
A total of 36 Somali representatives from various livestock institutions from Somaliland, Puntland, South West State of Somalia, Jubaland, Galmudug and the Federal Government of Somalia were joined by others stakeholders in the deliberations. They recommended strict and independent quality control and more consistent livestock certification and quarantine operations procedures and standards to avoid further bans and trade restrictions. The meeting also resolved to give full support and provide all information to a technical mission to appraise Saudi officials.
“The EU will continue to support efforts to improve Somali livestock because we know it is the main economic lifeline for Somalis. Through these projects, the EU provides technical and good animal husbandry support to livestock herders in Somalia to improve quality of their products with the hope of passing the stringent export quality assurance test needed to allow Somali to export livestock and its by-products. Such a lift will help ease suffering from the people at this time of severe droughts which has decimated many livestock,” EU Ambassador to Somalia Veronique Lorenzo said.
The European Union is currently supporting two livestock projects in Somalia, Reinforcing Animal Health Services (RAHS)) and Enhancing Somali Livestock Trade (ESOLT) implemented by AU-IBAR, for a total of € 7 million.