Facilitating livestock exports in Ethiopia

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Facilitating livestock exports in Ethiopia

The aim of the project was to build the capacity of Ethiopia's competent authority to meet the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) requirements of potential and existing importing countries, mainly in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) for the export of sheep, goat and cattle meat; and improve co-ordination and linkages among value chain actors in the meat sector.

The project entailed working with stakeholders in various stages of the meat value chain and supporting them to implement good practices related to SPS to prevent zoonotic diseases and control food safety hazards.


According to the Ethiopian Meat and Dairy Industry Development Institute, the country can produce and export about 500,000 metric tons of meat worth about USD 1.8 billion annually. Non-compliance with SPS standards and inadequate control mechanisms have been identified by the public and private sectors as major issues that affect export capacity, market expansion and competitiveness in the sector.

Ethiopia has recognized livestock as a key driver for economic growth. Accordingly, it has formulated a Livestock Master Plan to guide the development of the sector. Increasing exports requires entering new markets with more stringent SPS requirements and enhancing the competitiveness of the beef industry. As part of this move, the SPS requirements of 28 potential importing countries have already been mapped. Building Ethiopia's SPS capacity for compliance with importing countries' requirements is critical.

This project focused on capacity building to enable compliance with the SPS requirements by:

  •       Strengthening the capacity of the competent authority to apply, inspect and monitor SPS measures along the value chain.
  •       Strengthening linkages between exporters and importers of meat in selected key meat markets in MENA and South East Asia.

This project was prepared through an STDF PPG in consultation with key project stakeholders in Ethiopia's meat value chain. 


Strengthened capacity of the competent authority to apply, inspect and monitor SPS measures along the export meat value chain

The project will explore opportunities to penetrate new markets, including exports of fresh (chilled) and processed meat to MENA, and South East Asian countries. The Ethiopian competent authority will undertake a series of bilateral negotiations during project implementation, to discuss specific SPS issues related to meat exports from Ethiopia to other potential markets.

Based on the outcomes of the OIE PVS Evaluation (2011) and subsequent Gap Analysis (2012) reports as well as recommendations made by the OIE Veterinary Legislation Support Programme (VLSP), the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries (MoLF) is finalizing a new unified policy and regulatory framework for animal health services, which complies with current scientific advances, as well as international standards and requirements of trading partners. Under the project, legislation will be finalized based on the recommendations of the OIE VLSP mission and consultative workshops involving relevant stakeholders.

The project will also build the risk analysis capacity of the MoLF. A pool of experts within the Directorate of Epidemiology and higher learning institutes will be trained on veterinary risk analysis. This training will develop capacity at national level to undertake qualitative risk analysis for the purpose of supporting export trade, developing risk-based control programmes, including risk communication.

The OIE PVS Evaluation and Gap-Analysis reports identified the lack of capacity for residue monitoring at national level. Accordingly, a national residue monitoring plan was developed in coordination with the Veterinary Drug and Feed Administration and Control Authority (VDFACA) to ensure that meat and meat products are free of adulterants and a wide range of biological and chemical contaminants. The plan establishes the frequencies and level of sampling and the substances to be controlled in meat. Chemical compounds to be considered in the plan include approved and unapproved veterinary drugs, pesticides, and environmental contaminants of concern for trading partners. 

Revise existing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and guidelines related to livestock and meat and support their implementation (disease control, meat animal handling, quarantine, meat processing, meat handling and transporting)

Out of the fourteen existing SOPs and guidelines on livestock and meat, eight were reviewed and finalized to ensure SPS compliance along the meat value chain. These are guidelines and SOPs developed by the (then) Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) in collaboration with the Ethiopian Sanitary and Phytosanitary and Livestock and Meat Marketing (SPS-LMM) Programme. The guidelines and SoPs define minimum requirements that livestock producers, meat processors, traders, transporters and others must satisfy in order to participate in the export trade. A total of 300 persons from export abattoirs, feedlots, markets operators, and Bole airport will be trained on the use and implementation of the SOPs.

Support accreditation of the residue testing lab of Veterinary Drug and Feed Quality Control and Administration Authority (VDFACA, Kality Lab)

Assistance is being provided to VDFACA's quality control laboratory "Kality Lab" to complete its preparations to become an operational and official laboratory. Personnel of Kality Lab will be trained to conduct high quality residue analysis that would be accepted by international standard setting bodies, such as Codex, or by other national governments for the establishment of MRLs. Capacity will be developed in areas of standard operating procedures, quality assurance systems, and methodology development in order to perform high-quality, reliable, residue testing. The laboratory will also be supported to acquire third party accreditation for selected and prioritized tests and residues. 

Introduce a Lab Information Management System (LIMS) and Laboratory Quality Management System (QMS) in regional labs along the meat export value chain 

The four regional laboratories involved in the meat export value chain ( in Yabello, JiJiga, Semera and Mekelle) will be strengthened to build basic export testing capacity. A QMS involving proficiency testing will be introduced. A Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) has been installed in VDFACA and its staff trained to track samples and to facilitate the linkage between diagnostic results and response to the field, through a shift from paper-based to a computerized system. 

Increased coordination and linkages among the sector value chain actors including with destination markets 

The project will improve public and private cooperation, networking and market linkages along the meat value chain and with national, regional and international trading partners. The project will also support the establishment of a coordination forum to enhance collaboration between the federal and three regional veterinary services.

The project will develop a fully functional website dedicated to SPS and related issues. This website will provide timely and regular information to exporters and will contain publications related to official control procedures and minimum export standards.

The project will also support the competent authority in developing an effective communications strategy to support regular information dissemination to various actors involved in the meat value chain. The project will help to operationalize the national SPS Committee. In general, these national SPS coordination mechanism appear to be at an early stage of development and the Committee members have not started meeting on a regular basis. The National SPS Committee will be equipped to serve as a national forum for dialogue and coherence on SPS matters and for resolving SPS issues affecting regional and/or international trade.

Strengthen linkages between exporters and importers of meat in selected key meat markets in MENA and South East Asia

At least two business networking events will be organized to bring the trained and coached processors/exporters to meet prospective buyers. The project together with the sector association will contact and mobilize processors/exporters and buyers prior to the event. Advisory support will be provided to the selected participating companies to prepare them before the business networking event and to follow-up on the business contacts established after the event. 
Reference Number 
Project Value (US$) 
STDF Contribution (US$)  
Implementing Entities 
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries (MoLF), Ethiopia