The inaugural General Assembly (GA) of the Tuli Cattle Society of Southern Africa (TCSSA) will from 16-19 November 2021 welcome over 30 representatives from some SADC countries for an assembly of national Tuli Cattle Societies. Tuli Cattle Society members from Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe will hold discussions to mark the setting up of the first council to drive the society for its first term.
The four-day event will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa to achieve several outputs; notably to: (i) provide an opportunity for stakeholders in the region to get empirical evidence on the importance and contribution of Tuli cattle genetics in the region and beyond; (ii) discuss and validate the draft constitution of the TCSSA; (iii) officially launch the TCSSA and its website; (iv) conduct election of the council members; and (v) undertake an experience sharing a tour of a select Tuli Stud farm.
The national societies of the Tuli cattle breed of Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe were supported under the AU-IBAR project “Strengthening the capacity of African countries to conservation and sustainable utilization of African Animal Genetic Resources” (Genetics Project) to initiate the establishment of a regional breed association, namely the Tuli Cattle Society of Southern Africa.
This was in consideration of the importance and distribution of this transboundary cattle breed. The initial meeting was held in Gaborone, Botswana in June 2019. An interim committee was established at that meeting and this committee has since been operationalizing the setting up of this regional body. The interim committee has worked closely with AU-IBAR, in a series of virtual meetings and to date has achieved the following:
• Drafting of a regional society constitution, based on existing national society constitutions. The process was guided by a lawyer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Zimbabwe.
• Development of a questionnaire for Tuli cattle breeders in the different countries to get their perceptions and contributions on the setting up of the society, with technical assistance from AU-IBAR
• Administration of the questionnaire to breeders in the member countries. The results indicated buy-in from breeders on the formation of the regional society.
• Facilitation of the development of the Tuli Cattle Society of Southern Africa website. The process involved drafting the TORs and selecting the website developer. A consultant has since developed a prototype of the website which was subjected to comments and suggestions from stakeholders.
Tuli cattle to the region is important because it is highly adaptable to the environmental and climatic conditions of the region. For the past 2 years, the interim committee ensured the vision of establishing a regional Tuli Society. Having ensured that the fundamentals of the regional body are in place, the next step is to launch the TCSSA to allow for its full operation.