COMESA, ESADA promote dairy industry
The MOU which was signed on 27th May is an outcome of rigorous consultations and preparation between the two regional trade consortiums. The signing ceremony took place at the second African Dairy Conference and Exhibition held at the Speke Resort, Munyonyo, Kampala, Uganda on the shores of Lake Victoria. The two bodies took cognisance of the fact that the abundant African resources are under-exploited. “The MOU, which is an outcome of two years of active collaborative work between COMESA and ESADA, aims at promoting the development of a vibrant dairy industry linked into the regional as well as global market,” said a COMESA statement to The Southern Times. Adding: “It comes in the wake of the recognition by both COMESA and ESADA that the challenges of agriculture and dairy development in Africa require concerted efforts to exploit the opportunities of abundant resources, technology, innovation and modern approaches, which must be implemented to improve dairy production and marketing on the African Continent.” The Dairy Conference and Exhibition brought together nearly 180 delegates from 23 countries within and outside the COMESA region from the United States, Europe, India and South Africa. The conference whose theme was “African Dairy, Rising to the Challenge” aimed at devising strategies on how to revitalise the dairy sector in the COMESA region and Africa n general. Dr. Kipkirui Arap Lang’at, Executive Director of ESADA, described the Conference as a “One-stop-shop for new investments, emerging technologies, unique services, and life-changing partnerships and ideas.” The MOU provides for, among others, joint collaboration between COMESA and ESADA on measures to: a) Improve the production, processing and marketing of high- quality milk and milk products of international standard in the regional and global market; b) Harmonize sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards so as to promote healthy and high quality dairy products; c) Create regional value chains and value addition as a way of ensuring the viability and sustainability of the industry; d) Mobilise investment and promote the use of modern but affordable technologies in the dairy industry; e) Create the necessary capacity to sustain the dairy sector through development of requisite skills; and f) Offer decent livelihoods to those involved in the dairy industry and to improve health and nutrition for the COMESA population. ESADA is an association of dairy producers, processors, marketing people and organisations in the Eastern and Southern African countries including Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania Uganda and Zambia. Other COMESA member countries are poised to join the relatively young regional organisation having been established only two years ago. The Inaugural African Dairy Conference and Exhibition was held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2005 while the 3rd African Dairy Conference and Exhibition will be held in Zambia in 2007.