Swedish project on Healthy Livestock, Safe Food in East Africa launched
Achieving improved animal health requires knowledge about the distribution of infectious animal diseases. Control of animal food products and antibiotic use and resistance are other key factors to success. National Veterinary Institute (SVA), together with the Swedish Board of Agriculture, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and the National Food Agency, will run a five-year project on healthy livestock and safe food in East Africa funded by Sida (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency).
“The aim is to strengthen the cooperation throughout the value chain, within and between the five participating countries; Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda”, says project manager Erika Chenais, SVA.
The project that started in the beginning of this year is based on a concept where the participants carry out a change project at their workplace and meet in Sweden and in participating countries for education, skills development and exchange of experiences.
“A good health situation in food-producing animals is a prerequisite for sustainable food production, and for a future where antibiotics can still be used effectively to treat serious infections in humans and animals. This approach has long been a guideline in the Swedish animal husbandry and food production and is the background to how the education program has been designed”, Erika Chenais says.
Efficient to invest in the agricultural sector
International studies show that investments in the agricultural sector are more effective than investments in other sectors in terms of economic development, thus an important area for contributing to poverty reduction.
Many animal diseases have a strong negative impact on the growth of animals and their ability to produce, and in addition, the cost is higher for sick animals due to more work, medication and feed. Improved animal health leads to increased food and nutrition security through improved productivity. Healthy animals, of course, also need no antibiotic treatment.
In order to improve animal health, detailed knowledge about distribution and extent of infectious animal diseases is required. Other important areas in the value chain, from farm to table, are control of animal food products and antimicrobial use and resistance.
Cooperation will lower the costs
“The production of animal food products spans over many policy areas and engages different actors from small businesses to cooperatives, authorities and other governmental institutions. Through cooperation, for example disease control, as well as food control, can be streamlined and improved without increasing costs”, Erika Chenais says.
The project, which addresses organizations and authorities in the food value chain, will highlight areas of animal health, food safety and antimicrobial resistance, and are based on the five countries´ own analyses of strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats in these areas.
“The majority of the population in the region lives and works in rural areas and is dependent on agriculture, including animal husbandry, for their daily living. Small-scale family farms dominate. Development of agriculture and food industry is very important for poverty alleviation and gender equality, and can be a stabilizing factor that enables national and regional economic development”, Erika Chenais concludes.
The project has received SEK 30.7 million from Sida for five years, 2018-2022.
For more information: Erika Chenais, SVA, ph. +46-(0)18-67 46 15, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonas Johansson Wensman, SLU, ph.+46-(0)18-67 14 46, email@example.com