Improving the breeds of farm animals is one important way of resolving food problems to ensure food security for the sustainable development of humanity. This was said by Chan-Woo Kim, the ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Kenya, on July 22 at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Nairobi. He was speaking during the launch of the Country Domestic Animal Genetic Resources Information System (C-DAGRIS).
Chan noted that “Africa has a lot of unexplored and unidentified animal genetic resources which have remained underutilized being seemingly of low economic value, but I believe they have a high potential value for humanity to resolve food problems in the future.” He regretted that such animal genetic resources are becoming extinct due to negligence.
He commended the DAGRIS project for attempting to identify any animal genetic resources in the participating countries and to scientifically prove that these breeds are useful and should be preserved.
The DAGRIS project is a 3 year project in the 17 member countries of the Korea-Africa Food & Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (KAFACI). It is supported by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Korea’s Rural Development Administration (RDA) and funded by the Republic of Korea.
ILRI’s director general, Jimmy Smith committed his organization more than ever before to the conservation and sustainable utilization of African livestock genetic resources. He stressed that ILRI is very pleased with the long standing collaboration with Koreas RDA.
ILRI’s project leader, Tadelle Dessie said the DAGRIS seeks to facilitate the enhanced sustainable utilization, improvement and conservation of indigenous livestock for the benefit of local farming communities. This will be done through the development and delivery of a systematic breed-level characterization information system at country level.
Tadelle observed that accurate information on the genetic and phenotypic characteristics, diversity and population trends of Africa’s unique indigenous Farm Animal Genetic Resources (FAnGRs), are generally lacking or at best incomplete. This information is critical and would enable informed design and implementation of their sustainable use, for example through improvement and conservation programs.
Over the next three years, the 17 countries under the umbrella of KAFACI will collect, compile, verify and enter farm animal data at country level and build the requisite human and infrastructural capacity to ensure that the countries systematically and continuously capture and compile comprehensive and reliable information on genetic characteristics, productivity and utilization of African livestock.
The seventeen countries are Algeria , Angola , Cameroun, Comoros , Cote d’Ivoire , DR Congo , Ethiopia , Gabon , Ghana , Kenya, Malawi , Morocco , Nigeria, Senegal , Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
During launch workshop in Nairobi, a road map for the project and schedule of activities was agreed upon. KAFACI was represented by its secretary general, Cho Gyoung-Rae. Others present were Chang Won Kyong, the Director General of the National Institute of Animal Science (NIAS), Kim Dong Hun, Director of Korea AnGR Animal Genetic Resources Station of National Institute of Animal Science and Kim Jae Hwan Animal Genetic Resources Station of National Institute of Animal Science . The African Union will coordinate among member countries and was represented by Edward Nengomasha, the Animal Poduction Expert at the AU-IBAR in Nairobi.
ILRIs work on DAGRIS has been ongoing and previous information may be found here.