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AU seeks intensive efforts at tackling Africa’s fodder shortage

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African Union (AU)
African Union (AU)

Tackling the shortage of fodder in Africa should be an urgent priority to achieve food and nutrition security in the continent, a senior African Union (AU) official said on Friday.

Josefa Sacko, the AU commissioner for agriculture, rural development, blue economy and sustainable environment, stressed the need for enhanced access to affordable and quality livestock fodder amid biting shortages linked to climatic stresses. “The structural constraints in the continent have hindered the growth of vibrant feed, fodder systems, and livestock production on the continent,” Sacko said during the launch of the AU-InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR)’s Resilient African Feed and Fodder Systems (RAFFS) project in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

Sacko observed that Africa holds about one-third of the world’s livestock population, which is a critical resource for delivering the AU Agenda 2063 on long-term transformation.She added that the livestock sector is key to stimulating growth in the manufacturing and services sectors, making it critical for achieving the desired accelerated economic growth and structural transformation.

Mithika Linturi, Kenya’s cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, said the government has identified dairy, beef, and leather as priority value chains for transformation.Linturi added that Kenya has created an enabling policy environment to facilitate sound animal breeding practices, animal feed production, bulking and access, and overall animal health services.He said such investments will create synergies with the livestock feed planning projections for the next 10 years since the country is currently facing an annual feed shortage of 60 percent of the total annual livestock feed demand of 55 million metric tons and 50 percent of post-harvest losses.

The RAFFS project is an initiative responding to climate change, global conflicts, and the COVID-19 pandemic, which have negatively impacted African feed and fodder systems. Among countries where the project has been piloted include Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and Somalia, even as it seeks to foster partnerships and knowledge sharing aimed at tackling fodder shortage in Africa.

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