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Bolstering East African livestock value chains to benefit women and youth

For immediate release - Wageningen, 27 August 2015

August 27, 2015

Efficient livestock value chains can play a critical role in helping East African women and young people improve their livelihoods. A two-day workshop, jointly organised by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture and the Ethiopian Society for Animal Production, shared lessons on inclusive livestock value chains, identified current constraints hampering women and youth from engaging in them and discussed proven strategies for addressing the challenges identified. Some 70 people attended the Youth and Women Engagement with Livestock Value Chains: Insights and Lessons from the IGAD Region workshop, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from August 25 to 26. 

As part of a targeted regional approach to development, CTA has highlighted facilitating inclusive and sustainable livestock value chains as a priority intervention area for the six countries of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) region – Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda. The region is home to about 240 million people, 75 per cent of whom depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Rapid urbanisation is driving increased demand for livestock products, and the sector offers significant opportunities for further development, especially if an inclusive approach is adopted, the workshop heard.  

Value chain development has been identified as holding the best prospects for integrating small-scale producers into modern markets, ensuring them a steady income stream, through links with processors, retailers and others players in the sector.  

With a particular focus on the benefits of involvement in livestock value chains for women and youth, workshop presentations drew on success stories from Ethiopia, Kenya, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda. Although both women and young people are closely involved in the livestock sector of the IGAD region, several studies have indicated that smallholder livestock keepers in general, and the youth and women in particular, have not benefitted from existing livestock value chain initiatives.  

Solutions explored at the workshop included making youth and women explicit target groups in livestock policies, strategies and programmes, addressing key constraints facing these groups – such as access to land, markets, capital and skills  – and adapting existing training and extension services to cater to their specific needs. Other promising avenues include creating an enabling environment for the development of youth-focused small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the livestock sector and harnessing ICTs to attract young people to the sector.

“The livestock sector currently accounts for around 11 per cent of GDP in IGAD member states and is a major source of foreign exchange and industrial raw materials, but there is scope for developing it further to benefit smallholder farmers,” said Yihenew Zewdie,  Senior Technical Advisor for Policies and Markets at CTA. “This workshop has proved valuable in facilitating experience sharing and lessons learning in the promotion of inclusive livestock value chains in the IGAD region, with a particular focus on the benefits accruing to women and youth across the value chain.”  

“It was a pleasure seeing diverse attendance, with representatives from different IGAD countries, researchers, academia, development practitioners, and experienced and prominent personalities,” said Dr Gebreegziabher Gebreyohannes, State Minister, Livestock Sector Development at the Ministry of Agriculture of Ethiopia. “There was a lot of fruitful discussion and learning from the diverse experiences, which has enriched our experiences, paving the way for a better realisation of effective participation of youth and women in livestock value chains.”  

Committed to building on insights gained from the workshop, CTA and partners will be making the major outcomes from the sessions available to a wider audience. An upcoming meeting with some of the organisations represented at the event will lay the foundations for a regional development and research programme to drive more inclusive livestock value chain initiatives in the IGAD region.  

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For more information on CTA, please contact:

Stéphane Gambier

Email: gambier@cta.int

Tel.: +31 (0)317 46 71 79