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Sunday, 27 May, 2001, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
Ethiopia concerns over animal smuggling
Ethiopia cattle
The country is the largest producer of livestock in Africa
By Nita Bhalla in Addis Ababa

Smuggling of live animals, hides and skins from Ethiopia into neighbouring countries is costing the country's treasury an estimated $100m each year.

According to Ethiopia's Livestock Marketing Authority the animals are taken to Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea and Djibouti on a daily basis.

Ethiopia's livestock
35m cattle
18.4m goats

24m sheep
53m poultry

Although Ethiopia is the biggest producer of livestock in Africa, official figures from the Ethiopian Customs Authority say that in the five years to 1999, it exported only 31,068 sheep, 2,359 goats and a mere 959 cows.

Neighbouring Somalia on the other hand exported 1.25 million sheep and 850,000 goats in one year alone, making a fortune for the country, it claimed.

Experts say the comparatively low export figures from Ethiopia, which ranks as the world's 25th largest producer, point to the fact that some two-thirds of Somalia's livestock export originates from Ethiopia.

Poor facilities

The lack of the proper infrastrututue to enable the pastoralist to deal their animals legally has greatly assisted in this activity.

But Belachew Hurisa, of the Livestock Marketing Authority says that something is now being done.

Ethiopia cattle
The country's is the 25th producer in the world

He says the alarming rise in the number of smuggled animals has given rise to the setting up of an animal centre in Moyale town on the border with Kenya.

Mr Belachew hopes it would provides economic incentives and better facilities that would entice pastoralist back into trading their flock through the recognised channels.

Livestock is the country's second biggest foreign currency earner, second to coffee.

See also:

22 Mar 01 | Africa
Mengistu to stay in Zimbabwe
08 Dec 99 | Africa
Mengistu skips South Africa
11 Nov 99 | Africa
Fall of the Wall echoes in Africa
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