- 09 October, 2017:
Initiatives aiming at increasing food security, resilience to climate change and improving livelihood should be encouraged and supported.
It is important for Mauritius in particular to support Africa’s initiative to strengthen and boost livestock development in the region since it is a net food importer relying heavily on exporting countries.
The Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun, made this statement this morning, at the opening ceremony of the 4th General Assembly on Animal Genetic Resources in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region and the Steering Committee of the Sub Regional Focal Point on Animal Genetic Countries to Conservation and Sustainable Utilisation of African Animal Genetic Resources, held at Palms Hotel in Quatre Bornes.
Minister Seeruttun underlined the importance of advocating for a sustainable use of animal genetic resources for the development of livestock production to meet future challenges of achieving food and nutrition security. He highlighted that this project will ensure that Africa is not left behind in the global thrust to achieve sustainable utilisation and conservation of these very important genetic resources.
He also pointed out that the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease last year revealed the vulnerability of the country’s livestock sector and has highlighted the weaknesses of its biosecurity system. In this context, he said, a Biosecurity Committee has been set up to undertake a stocktaking of measures in place, identify limitations and propose recommendations and for which a consultant is being recruited.
The Minister underpinned the imperative need of formulating appropriate livestock policies, strategies and legislations to chart the way for the improvement of livestock development. He emphasised that Government endeavours to safeguard the local animal genetics and various initiatives are currently being spearheaded to this end.
Regarding policies and strategies, to boost up the livestock sector, Mr Seeruttun stated that the conservation of local genetic resources has been included in strategies of Government as spelt out in the Strategic Plan 2016-2020 wherein emphasis is being laid on conservation and utilisation of Animal Genetic Resources. The Minister added that a programme is being implemented specifically for the conservation of the local Creole cattle, a ‘National Animal Identification System’ is being set up and a Livestock Policy Hub is being established to work on a livestock breeding policy which will be integrated in the Livestock Production Bill.
4th General Assembly on Animal Genetic Resources
The 4th General Assembly on Animal Genetic Resources in the SADC Region is being held in Mauritius from 9 to 12 October 2017.
The objectives of the General Assembly are to formulate joint interventions for the conservation and sustainable utilisation of animal genetic resources in South Africa; discuss and agree on ways to fast-track the implementation of supported initiatives, especially those on transboundary breeds and to validate the report on the Regional Regulatory Framework for the Exchange, Use and Conservation of Animal Genetic Resources in Southern Africa.
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