News and updates on research on livestock value chains by the International Livestock Research Institute and partners

Monday, July 11, 2011

East Africa dairy experts seek harmonized standards to promote regional trade

Dairy experts in East Africa are working towards harmonization of dairy policies and standards in a bid to promote regional trade in milk and dairy products and enhance access to markets.

In line with this objective, representatives from the East African Community (EAC) Secretariat and the East Africa Dairy Regulatory Authorities Council (EADRAC) met in Arusha, Tanzania on 6-7 July 2011 to review progress made in harmonization of regional dairy policies and standards.

EADRAC is a forum that comprises chairpersons, chief executives and key technical staff of national dairy boards and regulatory authorities from five EAC member countries, namely, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

EADRAC was formed in 2006 to work towards harmonization of dairy policies and standards in the region as well as foster the sharing of lessons among countries.

The Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) have been working in partnership with EADRAC to provide the research evidence needed to inform and guide the policy actions by the dairy regulatory authorities.

The two-day meeting was organized by ASARECA, ILRI and the EAC Secretariat.

The participants discussed trends in intra-regional trade in dairy products, reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers across regional borders, and the implications of the recently revised Codex Alimentarius clause on the use of the lactoperoxidase system (LPS) in preservation of raw milk.

ILRI was represented at the meeting by two scientists from the Market Opportunities theme, veterinary epidemiologist, Dr Amos Omore and agricultural economist, Dr Ayele Gelan.

ILRI shared evidence from recent commissioned research work on the impacts of changing tariff and non-tariff barriers on regional dairy trade, and on the use of LPS in milk preservation, which the forum thought needed wider consultations including a revision of the relevant regional dairy standards before piloting of the system.

EADRAC meetings are held about annually, with the last one held in early December 2009 at ILRI's Nairobi headquarters, back-to-back with a South-South Dairy Symposium involving dairy researchers and policymakers from East Africa and Northeast India.

India is currently the world's largest milk producer and, as in East Africa, the traditional dairy sector dominates the marketing of milk.

The forum proposed a conference in June 2012 in Kampala, Uganda to bring together a wider group of regional stakeholders including, EADRAC, ASARECA, ILRI and the East Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme to review progress made and new actions required towards further harmonization of dairy policies in the region.

"EADRAC is positioning itself to be the main technical agency for addressing non-tariff barriers to trade in East Africa once it is recognized as such by the EAC Secretariat, and memorandum of understanding detailing this relationship is under consideration" said Dr Omore.

Related links 
EAC official seeks transformation of regional dairy sector (Daily Nation, 7 July 2011)

Symposium develops policy to transform traditional dairy markets in East Africa and Northeast India (Livestock Markets Digest, 15 December 2009)

CEOs of East African dairy boards endorse harmonized milk training curricula for informal traders (Livestock Markets Digest, 17 February 2006)

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