The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) are working together to establish and strengthen the National Animal Feed Security Systems (NAFSS) in Eastern African countries. #WhisperEyeNews
The initiative, originates from the East Africa Animal Feed Action Plan (EAAFAP) and is centered on three early warning tools project pillars: a) Feed Inventory and Feed Balance, b) Feed Security Assessment and c) Predictive Livestock Early Warning System (PLEWS).
In Uganda, FAO in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, and AgriTechTalk Africa training selected National, Zonal, and District Local Government officers /Task Forces on Feed Security Assessment using Pictorial Evaluation Tools (PET) methodology. The activity is being piloted in two Zonal Agriculture Research and Development Institutes (ZARDIs) of Mbarara and Nabiun targeting 11 sampled districts; five in Western Uganda, and six in Eastern Uganda. The districts include Lyantonde, Sembabule, Kiruhura, Ntungamo and Mbarara under MBAZARDI and Kumi, Moroto, Kotido, Abim, Nabilatuk and Nakapiripirit, under Nabuin ZARDI.
The training aims to build the capacities of select MAAIF task force teams at the national, zonal, and district levels to assess livestock body conditions and pasture availability, especially during prolonged dry periods/drought situations using PET methodology. PET is a rapid assessment tool that compares observation with photo indicators to assess crops, forages, and livestock body conditions. This is essential in monitoring changes in livestock body conditions over time and provides quick analysis to inform programming decisions.
According to FAO’s Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD), Team Leader, Dr. Willington Bessong, FAO is prioritizing its work with MAAIF and other partners to provide capacity-building training to National, Zonal, and District Task Force members on the 3 early warning tools. “Successful institutionalization of the tools will provide early information to help in better planning and early actions for drought emergencies.
This in effect will reduce the risk of extreme weather and climate events on livestock,” he said, noting that; “Early interventions can strengthen the resilience of at-risk populations, mitigate the impacts of disasters, and prepare communities and global actors to plan and mitigate rather than respond.”
Dr. Alex Mukasa – Principal Veterinary Officer – MAAIF while speaking on behalf of the Director of Animal Resources during the training in Moroto district said that MAAIF is committed to institutionalizing the tools for better management of feed resources across the country.
“Given the severe impacts of poor access to animal feed and water to; food security, livelihoods, and local economies, actions that enhance animal feed and water productivity while strengthening early warning, forecasting, and response mechanisms to ensure sustainable and competitive supply of quality animals, animal products and by-products should be prioritized.
This, accordingly, will lead to a reliable, resilient, and profitable livestock industry. Dr. Mukasa applauded the FAO, and IGAD, for their efforts to work with the Government of Uganda to establish and strengthen the National Feed Security Systems (NAFSS).
Dr. Arionga, DVO of Nakapiripirt who spoke on behalf of the participants noted that the training will help to bridge the gap in assessing and reporting on livestock body conditions and forage availability to inform actions by policymakers at the districts and national level.
A total of 53 hands-on task force members were trained for Mbarara ZARDI and Nabiun ZARDI, including National Task force members from MAAIF, MbaZARDI, Nabuin, and the 11 pilot districts, and two FAO field staff in Moroto among others trained.