The EAC Partner States' ministries responsible for Animal Resources and National Statistics have been called upon to strengthen their collaboration in order to enhance data management in the region.
The call was made over the week end in Arusha during the conclusion of a meeting of Experts on Animal Data and Animal Resources Information System (ARIS 2).
Experts from the EAC Partner States Ministries responsible for Animal Health and Production, Fisheries Development, Trade and EAC Affairs who attended the five-day meeting recommended to the EAC Sectorial Council on Agriculture and Food Security to urge all the five Partner States to immediately initiate the use of ARIS 2.
A Technical Working Group on animal resources data should also be established at National and Regional levels and the draft Terms of Reference adopted, they advised.
The meeting urged the Fisheries sector to review and update its ARIS 2 modules and for the Livestock Data Innovation Project in Africa to expand its coverage to all the remaining EAC Partner States of Burundi, Kenya and Rwanda to support improvement of livestock data collection in the 2nd phase of the Project.
At the meeting, the Deputy Secretary General of the East African Community in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, Jesca Eriyo emphasized the importance of data in investment decisions and noted that investing in data collection, collation and analysis of the Livestock sector was a good idea that would improve management and planning of the sector.
She noted that Animals (livestock and fisheries) play a critical role in contributing to food security, and income generation amongst other key economic and cultural roles.
Currently, the demand for livestock and livestock products has increased and it is projected that it will increase in future with increasing population and improved income, she went on t point.
Eriyo reiterated that one of the challenges facing the region is the inadequate Animal Resources (Livestock and Fisheries) statistical data on which to base marketing, investment, or policy decisions and to assess the efficacy of the current commitments or policies in the EAC.
In this context, the Deputy Secretary General said there is inadequate data to demonstrate quantitatively the role of animal resources in the region's economies and to use such data to create broad awareness among policy-makers and investors.