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"Sustainable livestock production in the tropics"
Be-troplive organised on the 21sth of November 2007 a workshop on “Sustainable livestock production in the tropics” at the Egmont Palace in Brussels. The workshop aimed 1° to identify and conceptualise the new challenges of livestock production, and 2° to identify new strategic tools to make livestock production sustainable in the tropics.
The Workshop was moderated by Guy Hendricks, a veterinarian who is head of Avia-Gis, a company specialised in geographic information system applications in the field of livestock, and who has a long experience as FAO expert in Africa. The complete programme is shown in the annexes. Almost 80 experts attended the symposium. Besides the Belgian expert members of be-troplive, there were also representatives of the European Commission, of the Belgian Development Co-operation (DGDC), of the Belgian Technical Co-operation (BTC) and from African and European Universities. Students from the Master course in Tropical Animal Health (Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp) and students from the joint Master "Management of Vegetable and Animal Resources in Tropical Areas" (Gembloux Agricultural University and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Liège) were also present. In total, twenty-three nationalities were represented allowing a multidisciplinary and multinational approach.
Pierre Dorny (Chairman be-troplive) welcomed the participants. The rationale of the workshop (see annexes) was introduced by the moderator. He stressed that livestock is part of food security but that the livestock sector as well as agriculture in general are undergoing far-reaching changes. New innovative strategies are necessary but different agro-ecological systems need different strategies. The workshop was therefore organised around three areas: arid zones, humid agricultural zones, and urban areas.
The first part of the day included four keynote presentations. Patrick Simons (DGDC) gave an overview of the current strategy of the Belgian Co-operation in the livestock sector, part of a broader rural development and food security strategic plan. Sofie Van Waeyenberge (BTC) highlighted the new trends in aid to the agricultural sector showing that many things are changing. Agriculture in general is put again at the center of the development agenda. However, the focus on “production” moves to a focus on “market demand” and income generation, and from primary production to value chain. Public-private partnerships are of importance and a broader policy context (including factors of globalization) has to be considered instead of a narrow focus on agriculture. Furthermore, we should move from service delivery to strengthening institutions and different actors. Jakob Zinsstag (Swiss Tropical Institute, Basel, Switzerland) made a presentation on “Current challenges to tropical animal health: The potential of “one medicine-one health”. He highlighted the most important threats in the field of animal health, he emphasized the link with human health due to the presence of zoonoses and showed the added value of a one health approach. Due to globalization tropical animal health has also to move to a more global animal health approach. Chedli Kayouli (INAT, Tunis, Tunisia) focused on the current challenges in tropical animal production regarding not only the technical aspects (availability of land and water, competition with crops, transformation of closed to open systems, …) but also the human aspects (weak capacities, ..;) and the implications of decline in oil reserves and high oil prices.
The afternoon was devoted to groups work organised around arid zones, humid agricultural zones, and urban areas. The conclusions of each group were presented during a plenary session and a general discussion was lead by the moderator. The proceedings are available in the annexes.
Eric Thys (Secretary of be-troplive) presented the realisations and the perspectives of be-troplive after two years of activities (see annex). The results of the elections for the new Steering Committee were announced. Members leaving the Steering Committee were congratulated as they are founding members of the Platform. An important point for the future is that the link of the Platform with alumni networks will be strengthened. The crucial importance of bringing together the expertise of universities and research institutes, implementing agencies as well as private companies, was put forward as an important asset of the be-troplive initiative.
In his closing speech as Chairman, Pierre Dorny thanked all the participants and the Federal Public Service of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation for making the conference room and the facilities of the Egmont Palace available for the event. The workshop was concluded by a reception in the tapestry hall of the Palace.
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