Pastoralists are here to stay and therefore their livelihood should be supported if real development in the Horn of Africa is to be realized.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Livestock and Maritime Resources of the Republic of Djibouti, Hon. Mohamed Awaleh Ahmed made this statement today when opening a regional workshop on livestock development and drought preparedness.
“These nomadic communities and their livestock dwell in the arid and semi arid lands that occupy more 60 percent of the region,” stated the Minister. He further added that development initiatives in these areas should incorporate the vast experiences of pastoralists and their coping mechanisms in the programming, if meaningful progress is to be attained.
As the host of the two-day workshop, the Minister shared some practical examples that Djibouti had adapted over the years to address various challenges of pastoralists. These include breed improvement and pasture development. Through laboratory and field research, the country that hosts the regional livestock export quarantine centre has been able to develop a vibrant livestock production. He urged the participants to tap on solutions from other parts of the world, such as propagation of drought-resistant grasses, trees and shrubs.
Similarly, Hon. Awaleh also appealed for the support of farming and fishing communities in their respective livelihoods. He raised concern against programmes that try to change the traditional ways of life of local communities in the name of development.
The Minister further pointed out that his country and the entire region has a huge dates production potential that remains largely untapped. He praised IGAD and AfDB for the initiative to support livestock development and drought preparedness in the region.
Participants are expected to make recommendations on the way forward and later visit the livestock quarantine centre tomorrow.
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