COMESA wants harmonisation of livestock laws to unlock trade

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has called for the harmonisation of veterinary legislation to unlock international livestock trade among member states. This as the World Health Organisation (WHO) said harmonisation of the laws will help curb disease.

According to COMESA, the process can be expedited by taking advantage of a €31 million fund disbursed by the European Union (EU) for the alignment of veterinary legislation in the region.

“Having different pieces of legislation has been a major obstacle in facilitating international trade of livestock among member states,” said Joseph Mamo, COMESA Livestock Programme Coordinator.

Mamo said a review of related law in member countries showed wide disparity, with some countries having laws dating back to 1929.

“Making use of the five-year EU fund can help us to quickly close the gap in legislation and open up trade in livestock in the region,” he said.

Mamo commended Zambia for taking strides in the review of animal health legislation and breeding policy.

Meanwhile, the WHO’s Animal Health (OIE) representative, Moetapele Letshwenyo, cited the differences in animal laws as a major impediment for the prevention and control of diseases in the COMESA region.

“Harmonisation of livestock legislation will be a major lever in fighting animal diseases in the region and the globe,” said Letshwenyo.

The OIE is an inter-governmental organisation which must coordinate, support and promote animal disease control among 181 WHO member states.

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