21- 23 February 2024

Introduction

In recent years, the Eritrean Government has focused its agriculture strategy on the livestock sector and, in particular, on seeking to address the factors constraining the dairy sector from achieving its potential. The strategy aims to transform traditional production systems using modern climate smart technologies, and to strengthen the overall dairy value chain to increase the availability and consumption of reasonably priced processed milk and other value added dairy products.

Despite these interventions, dairy production has declined in Eritrea in recent years due to factors such as climate change, an over-reliance on traditional farming practices, an increasingly fragile natural resource base, and high production costs. Moreover, the overall dairy value chain remains underdeveloped due to deficiencies in input supply (feed, seed, fertilizer, knowledge, equipment, and finance) and lack of a reliable market access (price information, aggregation, transport, value addition, fasting season, trading finance, etc.). Underlying all of the foregoing is the fundamental failure of research and innovation systems to develop and disseminate the knowledge, technologies and skills needed by actors at all stages of the value chain.

It was precisely to address these types of challenges in the wider context of Africa, Asia and Latin America that the European Union launched the Development Smart Innovation through Research in Agriculture initiative (DeSIRA) in 2018. The objective of the initiative is to contribute to the climate-relevant, productive, and sustainable transformation of agriculture and food systems in low and middle-incomes countries, particularly through supporting research and innovation projects and strengthening research capacities and research governance at national, regional, continental and global levels.

In response to the DeSIRA call in 2018, a joint Eritrean/international team led by Teagasc-the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority, submitted a proposal- Climate Smart Agriculture Research and Innovation Support for Dairy Value Chains in Eritrea (CSARIDE) – and was awarded a grant of €4,000,000 to implement the project over a 52-month period.  The CSARIDE project aims to transform Eritrea’s dairy sector by promoting climate smart agriculture and innovative production approaches along the value chain. It also seeks to introduce innovative and transformative measures to assist the sector to deal with current and projected constraints in technology, markets, R&D and other production and social constraints.

It is in this context that the Ministry of Agriculture is planning to organize a two-day conference in Asmara over the period February 21-22, 2024, with associated field visits going ahead on February 23.

Conference objectives

The underlying conference objective is to bring together the principal Eritrean dairy value chain actors from the private and public sectors, along with invited international experts, to:

  • Enable Eritrean dairy value chain actors to access new knowledge and  technologies from a wide range of international research, innovation, policy, processors and other dairy value chain actors
  • Strengthen collaboration between Eritrean research and innovation organizations and their counterparts from other countries
  • Strengthen communication and interaction between the various stakeholders in the Eritrean dairy value chain
  • Contribute to the broader objectives of the DeSIRA initiative.
  1. Expected outcomes
  • Development and refinement of climate smart approaches to dairy development through the joint involvement of local and international experts
  • Creation of  networking and business linkages that are vital for the growth of the Eritrean dairy industry
  • Development of sustainable international research and innovation collaborations for Eritrean organizations
  1. Conference organization

The conference is a national/MoA initiative to enable the sharing of experiences and lessons on key aspects of dairy value chain development. The Public Relations Division (PRD) of the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) will take overall responsibility for organizing the conference with the support of an organizing team comprising national and international project team members. The event will bring together key dairy value chain actors including  farmers, farmers’ associations, processors, packaging and dairy equipment suppliers, government actors, development partners, and local/international research and policy experts.

The event will consist of two days of extensive learning, presentations, dairy product displays by producers, and a one-day field visit to dairy production and processing sites (value chain niches) within the country; that is the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) and farmers/processors located around the NARI.

The following are the main details:

  • The conference will be conducted from February 21 to 22, 2024, and will involve a one-day field visit on February 23.
  • The organizing team will agree the final programme by the end of October 2023.
  • The conference is a national initiative, but the organizing team will also invite reputable international experts, who will share experiences and knowledge of dairy development from elsewhere in Africa and the world.
  • The team will issue invitations to presenters and invited participants by early-November 2023
  • Selected Eritrean dairy farmers, processors and other stakeholders will exhibit their products and services and will be awarded certificates of recognition. The most outstanding producers of dairy products will be identified and assisted to participate in the 2024 Africa Dairy Production Summit and Expo[1] or the African Dairy Conference and Exhibition organized by ESADA[2]
  • MSc and PhD students being funded by the CSARIDE project will present posters on their research
  • Participants will make field visits to local dairy producers/processors (farmers, MCCs, processors, etc) and the private producers will have the opportunity to receive feedback from their peers on how to improve their value chains
  • It is expected that a total of about 150 – 175 people from within Eritrea and about 20 international experts will attend.

LINK TO PROGRAMME HERE

Published On: 04/01/2024 /