African farmers have been urged to embrace Farm Animal Genetic Resources (FAnGR) technology to improve their indigenous animal breeds and biodiversity in order to boost Africa’s livestock development.
The Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Ambassador Josefa Sacko said African Union Member states have contributed to poor planning and interventions on the available resources due to lack of accuracy and data on African farm animal genetic resources.
“Some of the challenges facing Africa are, loss of indigenous breeds, lack of breeding strategies, lack of policies and legislation on animal genetic resources and lack of human and institutional capacity,” said Sacko.
Amb. Sacko made the remarks on Wednesday during the launch of the Farm Animal Genetic Resources in Africa, Coffee Table book of Cattle breeds, the Animal Genetic Resources characterization, inventory and monitoring tool and the new animal resources information system at a Nairobi hotel.
The Animal Genetic Resources which is a vital asset in the livestock sector, is geared towards healthy ecosystems, quality of life, and economic growth and also helps to protect indigenous species.
She said natural selection and humans have generated numerous genetically diverse breeds of domesticated farm animal stock, saying that it has contributed significantly to the livelihoods of millions of Africans today.
Amb. Sacko disclosed that the African Union-Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR),in collaboration with member states, regional economic communities and other key stakeholders, has developed vital data and information to enable member states make informed decisions to conserve, utilise and manage their animal genetic resources.
“The state of FAnGR in Africa provides detailed information on the status of animal genetic diversity in Africa, as well as threats posed to African genetic resources and the prevailing policy, legal and institutional environment,” said Sacko.
Speaking at the event, Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries Cabinet Secretary (CS), Mwangi Kiunjuri emphasised that the Animal Genetic Resources is a major landmark in Kenya geared towards sustainable use and conservation of diversities to boost the livestock sector and Kenya’s economy.
“This is a major landmark project geared towards promotion of management and sustainability in the livestock sector contributing 42 per cent of Agriculture’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 12 per cent of the National GDP,” Kiunjuri said.
A Representative of the European Union, Stephen Wathome assured the African Union and its citizens that EU will continue funding FAnGR projects and work closely with AU in realizing the projects.
The launch was attended by African Agriculture Ministers and various Non- governmental organizations and agricultural associations, tertiary institutions and executive secretaries of regional economic communities among others.
By Ian Munjuga/Bernadette Khaduli