The Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock Resources and the Donkey Sanctuary will hold a meeting on Thursday, November 29, 2018, in Addis Ababa to discuss the emerging idea of donkey farming in the country. The government of Ethiopia is re-evaluating its policies on donkey farming in the wake of an emerging global trade that could open business opportunities for Africa's fastest growing economy.
The forum will seek to address key issues including the socio-economic opportunities and challenges presented by humane and sustainable farming of donkeys. The discussions will analyse the political, economic, social, cultural and environmental impacts of the economic activity on Ethiopia.
Donkeys are resourceful assets that are crucial in offering transport services more so in the rural regions either carrying water or goods. They are a symbol of wealth in the rural community and one of the most esteemed domestic animals in households.
There is a growing demand for donkey skins and meat particularly in China, with its wide market presenting a business opportunity for the Horn of Africa country. However, there will be deliberate considerations before Ethiopia can jump for the opportunity. Ethiopia possesses over 8.3 million donkeys.
In 2016, China had 6 million donkeys, with Ethiopia topping it with 7 million. Last year, Ethiopia's first donkey slaughterhouse, Shandong Dong was banned from operating by the government following public outcry.
Simon Pope campaigns manager at The Donkey Sanctuary said, "We want to see the donkey skin trade halted until such time as it is shown to be humane and sustainable. This applies to every country currently engaged in the trade. Here in Ethiopia, we've been assured by the Government that trade will not impact on Ethiopia's national donkey herd and that supply will only come from donkeys bred and farmed within the country for that sole purpose."
"As the global experts in donkey welfare, we always seek to share our expertise and knowledge about the complexities and challenges of farming donkeys as we have done regarding the donkey dairy industry. This does not mean that we condone or promote or support donkey farming - simply that when the opportunity arises to inform a debate or discussion, then we will actively engage," he added.