IGAD Vet School Gets Grant From Italian Government
The Italian government through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (IADC) has given the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) a Ksh285 million (Euros 2.5 million) grant that will go towards supporting the IGAD Sheikh Technical Veterinary School in Somaliland.
The contribution by the Italian government is a continuation of a long-standing corporation between them and IGAD as the Italian agency supported the establishment of veterinary school in 2002.
“Our main aim for this support is to contribute to the formation of professionals in the field of veterinary medicine, agriculture and environmental management. The institution has an important impact on the socio-economic condition of the local communities, fostering economic growth in the region, while contributing to the environmental sustainability of the fragile ecosystem,” said His Excellency Dr. Carlo Campanile, Ambassador of Italy to the Federal Republic of Somalia during the signing ceremony.
The only one of its kind in the Horn of Africa region, the IGAD Sheikh Technical Veterinary School is considered an excellence in the region in the field of veterinary medicine, agriculture and environmental management of arid and semi-arid lands. The tertiary institution, acclaimed for training qualified human resource to service pastoral and agro-pastoral areas, has built a strong institutional academic links with peer institutions of higher learning in the region and globally including Makerere University in Uganda and the University of Nairobi in Kenya.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, IGAD Executive Secretary Ambassador (Eng.) Mahboub Maalim thanked the Italian government not only for the grant but also the long time partnership and support noting that the Italians have chaired the IGAD partnership forum for the past 20 years and have contributed immensely in the IGAD policy organs.
“The institution is also very significant to the region because it neighbours the Port of Berbera, which is the biggest livestock market in the region exporting approximately 3.5 million live livestock annually. The institution is therefore supplying professionals to also serve this rich export market whose livestock comes from as far as Ethiopia, Djibouti and even Northern Kenya,” added Amb. (Eng) Mahboub Maalim.
The Arid and semi arid areas of the Horn of Africa region are endowed with untapped resources: pastoral, agro-pastoral, rain-fed agriculture and livestock production systems are the primary livelihood and economic enterprises. Livestock is the means of survival of million poor people in the Somali eco-system with the livestock industry employing some 65% of the population and contributing about 55% of its GDP. Livestock trade contributes to regional integration by connecting livestock producing areas to regional markets and economies. However the impact of climate change in recent years has led to more frequent droughts that are eroding the livelihood of local communities with devastating effects on poverty levels.
Providing suitable skills and supporting the adoption of appropriate technologies by the IGAD veterinary school enables rural communities to effectively engage in climate-resilient and nutritive-sensitive agriculture through the use of good practices to maintain soil fertility, the adoption of drought tolerant crop species and crop diversification together with the implementation of technologies maximizing the efficient use of water such as drip irrigation. This significantly contributes to enhance food and nutrition security.