How treating colds in China impacted the donkey supply chain in Africa

An article in (September 29, 2016) available at describes a Chinese remedy, ejiao, used to treat colds and insomnia, that uses donkey gelatin. With a fall in the donkey population in China from 11 million to 6 million over the past 20 years as China shifts away from agriculture, there has been a surge in demand for donkeys imported from African countries like Niger and Burkina Faso. The surge in exports from these countries generated an inflow of foreign currency, but reduced the locally available animals, raised prices for other animals and caused a rush to slaughter that polluted water supplies. The result is now a ban on exports by Burkina Faso and Niger. Given the continued demand for donkey gelatin in China, how should African economies engage in a manner that minimizes disruption?  Given that Kenya and South Africa are scaling up their exports to meet Chinese demand, will Niger and Burkina Faso have to adapt quickly or lose access to this market? Given the projected continued demand increase in China, should global rules require the buyer to ensure environmental impact in the source country is minimized ?

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57 Responses to How treating colds in China impacted the donkey supply chain in Africa

  1. Karim Fawaz says:

    A complete ban seems irrational. There is high demand and Niger and Burkina Faso have the supply, it would be a huge opportunity lost if this ban holds. A regulated system would make more sense, where the government would force exporters to operate in an environmentally safe manner. Although, it would not be wrong to assume that bribery and corruption may render the regulation ineffective.

    • Mark Messick says:

      I agree with your assessment that regulation is needed. Because of the increased value, I think the ban may also lead to a black-market, full of corruption and bribery. If the industry operates through underground channels, there will be no accountability for the environmental damage. This being said, i think regulation over a ban is preferable for all parties.

      • Karim Fawaz says:

        How would you suggest this regulation be implemented, given the fact that corruption exists?

      • Mark Messick says:

        I think this is a great example of the World Trade Organization could make a difference.

    • Bhartula Peeyush Sharma says:

      Hi Karim, I really like your comment and the fact that you want to have a regulated system in place instead of placing a total ban. I had similar ideas to you but I only wanted to place a ban if things go to an extreme where there are severe environmental issues and a ban is the only option to prevent exports from taking place.

  2. Asmita Parashar says:

    Burkina Faso and Niger should continue to supply the demand unaffected by the surge in demand. While China has increased its imports, there the risk of identification of an alternative to donkey gelatin. This demand is not a constant and investing in increasing the population of donkeys to meet the rather “unusual” demand may lead to an oversupply for the African countries years down the line. The two countries should be conservative in meeting the demand. Tackling the issues generated by the current efforts showed a negative impact for the countries. All this comes at additional costs, sometimes even legal actions which deteriorate public image. Environmental impact must be a consideration since these impacts are mostly irreversible. As a people, we collectively share the responsibility of what we give back to the earth and polluting water bodies to satisfy demand is not a good act.

    • Bhartula Peeyush Sharma says:

      Hi Asmita, I appreciate your comment about sharing responsibility of what we give back. I just want to argue your point about not increasing the Donkey population right now. There are brokers and businesspeople that are literally stealing others’ donkeys and selling them. With the increase in population, this issue might reduce as there will be supply to match the demand. Other than this, I really like your comment on finding an alternative that can be a huge game changer for everyone.

  3. Yash Kothari says:

    Given the continued demand for donkey gelatin in China, how should African economies engage in a manner that minimizes disruption?
    A: One option can be to set aside some percentage of the total population of animals which can be exported. However, this percentage should be defined only by analyzing the effect it has on the environment.
    Other option can be raising the animals commercially (Like Fish Farming) wherein more animals (donkey) can be raised commercially without disrupting the prices of other animals.

    • Mark Messick says:

      Do you think that a single country will be willing to limit it’s export opportunity based on population if all countries do not participate? Do you think dysfunctional governments may hinder regulation attempts?

  4. Kaushal Kishore says:

    Supplier countries should take this opportunity to boost their economy, but at the same time these countrie should focus on increasing the number of this animal by using state of art breeding method such as artificial insemination and ensure rapid growth by reducing death rate due to diseases.
    These countries can control the environmental damage and pollution by regulating slaughterhouses and mandating them to use ecofriendly ways to slaughter and extract gelatine.
    Kaushal Kishore
    PUID 0030818960

  5. Devin Ewell says:

    I find it interesting that Kenya and South Africa are able to scale up their exports to meet the Chinese demand, but it appears that isn’t currently possible in Niger and Burkina Faso. My speculation is those countries may not have the resources to increase production of the livestock and there are not enough laws or protections taken by the local governments to mitigate the concerns of the pollution endured by the local farmers.
    I don’t know how there could be a global rule requiring the Chinese to ensure environment impact in the source countries are minimized. With it being such a new market, I would think the Chinese could find the donkey gelatin in other countries that don’t require legislation.

    • Geetali Pradhan says:

      Hi make a good point about lack of resources to scale up donkey production and export. In such a scenario, they could look to supply alternate sources that could be used for gelatin production which might be cost-efficient and easier to scale up given their resources. e.g. pigs, fish or other non-animal sources.
      Having global regulations that make buyers if not 100% but partially responsible for the source of their suppliers is a good strategy to control environmental impact. This might encourage the buyers to 1) regulate the use of gelatin 2) look for alternatives to gelatin. In absence of such rules, China would just turn to another country that can meet their demand that might result in a situation similar to Niger and Burkina Faso eventually.
      On the other hand, a total ban on the export might significantly impact certain sectors in that country financially. Niger and Burkina Faso could instead come up with laws to regulate the process and control the export.

  6. Puneet Pandey says:

    1) Professional rearing which ensures that the population of donkeys is not only maintained but increased.
    2) The foreign currency earned should go towards installing proper infrastructure so that cleanliness is maintained, enough water treatment plants are installed.
    3) Niger and Burkina Faso should look to export the medicine (finished product) rather than just the raw materials. It would further create jobs.
    It seems that one or two countries wont be able to meet all the demand and other countries (South Africa and Kenya) would certainly take out their share of pie. The focus of Niger and Burkina Faso should be to keep that pie to minimum.
    China as a responsible buyer should help these countries to put the necessary infrastructure which would ensure steady supply as well as long term relationship.

  7. Mark Messick says:

    In my opinion African Countries must unite to ensure that their resources are not depleted and environment destroyed. When the dust settles, it will take a significant amount of money to hopefully repair the land and water. This case reminds me of the rhino horn. This is also used in traditional Chinese medicine. This high paying industry has driven people to kill for this potential large payday regardless of its legality. I think this supports that an outright ban on donkey gelatin exportation will not work. Also, countries must work together to ensure that they leverage their resources instead of having them exploited.
    The requirement to quickly adapt assumes that the Chinese donkey population will not continue to decrease. It also assumes that the donkey populations in Kenya and South Africa can sustainable meet the demand. It’s possible that a more deliberate approach to this market that is sustainable will result in long term wealth rather than short term gain.
    I think the rhino example is a great example for the need of global rules, but also highlights how simply banning the practice will not eliminate it. This practice creates a black-market and criminal underground has no obligation to ensure environmental impacts at the source country. So yes, I agree with the need to ensure that cash flush countries/industries do not exploit and destroy third world counties in pursuit of profit.

    • Adam McKinney says:

      Couldn’t agree more with your assessment and what you say about making sure Africa’s resources and environment are not completely decimated by China sourcing their donkey’s from these countries. You also make a good point about the possible creation of a black market if an outright ban is implemented and agree that strict regulation should be put in place. However, regulating this business should be done very carefully because these economies are still fairly young and not as sophisticated as many other countries (such as the US, China, etc.). So too much regulation could stifle a potentially profitable source of income to help the local population of these countries but no regulation at all and these young economies may not be able to handle some of the consequences of out of control prosperity such as inflation and complementary good prices soaring.

      • Mark Messick says:


        Do you believe that regulation is possible due to the lack of strong organized governments? Or is international involvement a better approach? I like your point that this could prevent growth, do you think one regulator over the other is better for the the people and environment of Africa?

      • Puneeth Shetty says:

        Mark and Adam,
        You both make excellent points here regarding African resources being depleted and the need for regulations to be implemented to safeguard these resources while maintaining trade between countries. Individual countries may find it extremely hard to implement new regulations to maintain control over such operations. Having International Laws to limit exploitation of source country’s resources would likely be the first step to counter the effects of such a trade.

    • Kaiyue Jin says:

      Hi Mark,
      From my perspective, killing rhinos and get their horns and raising donkeys are two different issue. First, killing rhinos is illegal in both African countries and China, but raising donkeys, slaughter them and export the product are legal in all these countries. So the killing of rhinos should be banned but raising donkeys should be protected as a legal business. Secondly, killing rhinos should be banned because rhinos are wild endangered animals that can’t be raised like donkeys, if the rhinos are extincted, it will be an ecological disaster. But, donkeys can be understood as kind of sustainable resource, as long as the authorities and individuals can do something to overcome the environmental problem, it will do less harm to the environment and thousands of people can benefit from this industry.

      • Mark Messick says:


        I understand that the current population of Donkeys to rhinos are very different. But with all things, a potential exists for over-harvesting. I don’t think through history people have tried to make animals extinct. More information on the time, space, and resources needed to raise donkey’s for this purpose would need to be considered to determine if it is truly sustainable. In the US, wild buffaloes and wild horses were also not understood to be a resource that was not easily eliminated.

        Would you agree that the potential for continued modernization around the world may lead to a smaller donkey population, less resources to devote to this industry, and the need for oversight to ensure 1st world needs and wealth do not destroy 3rd world counties, regardless of the industry?

  8. Abhinav Kaushal says:

    A ban on exports by Burkina Faso and Niger will stop the inflow of foreign currency which will hamper their growth, which will be a huge opportunity lost as the demand for gelatin is ever increasing. This ban was a result of uncontrolled and unregulated exports. If the exports are controlled(causing no environmental damage and economic), are well regulated(having dedicated stock and using better reproduction/breeding techniques)and a right balance is setup between the both and if the respective governments encourages/promotes slaughterhouses(which work in sync with rules) by giving incentives or tax benefits, situation can be better for Burkina Faso and Niger.”One’s loss is another’s gain”. As major economies such as Kenya and South Africa are scaling up their facilities, Burkina Faso and Niger have to adapt fast and lookout for solutions to not let go off the opportunity at hand.

  9. Gopi Manthena says:

    Given the continuous demand for donkey gelatin in China, the African countries in order to minimize disruption should put a limit on their exports which can reduce the water pollution to a lower-than critical level. This limit can collectively be decided by analysis from both the supplier and the buyer. This may create some lost opportunity cost to the supplier countries but not a complete loss in the long run. Even China can contribute through technological improvements in breeding, raising and slaughtering donkeys in a more commercially viable way with a minimal environmental impact so as to improve the overall profit in the entire supply chain.

  10. Carlos Mario Pelaez says:

    A ban seems to extreme, as we all know this will bring the black market to rise and ilegal trading and hunting an activity that would hurt all the economies of countries involved. What China should start looking at instead of acquiring donkeys from Africa, looking into other continents like South America were an example as Colombia and Brazil were the donkey population is high enough to complement the exports with Africa.
    I agree that global rules should be stablished to control the donkey population so they don’t become scarce. Controlling the amount of exports of each country regarding the amount of animal population is something that should be looked at.

    • Karim Fawaz says:

      What kind of global rules did you have in mind? I would think it would be quite hard to implement them, and a rule is only as effective as its implementation. Would you regulate the export or the slaughter of the donkeys?

      • Carlos Mario Pelaez says:

        Karim, thats true, global rules are hard to implement but something should be done at least. The rules I had in mind are basically to protect the species, looking at the population at the place of export and regulating the amount of donkeys so they don’t go decrease to number that will put them in danger of extinction. I would regulate both, the export and slaughter.

  11. Shivam says:

    A similar concern was raised for the emission of Methane gas during the breeding of cows & buffaloes in the Global Warming debate.
    However, the ideal approach here according to me would be to create the slaughter houses away from the farmlands and major civilisation in industrialised zones and subsequently keep a check on the amount of contamination they (slaughter houses) are causing on the environment & surroundings. This would take time to implement but any country will reap the benefits of planning in such a manner.

  12. Logan Aven says:

    With every opportunity there is risk. When you are dealing with a large demand that has seemingly come out of nowhere it is important to keep the long-term view in mind when making decisions that will affect the day to day operations. I think that Niger and Burkina should put a temporary cap on the sale of Donkeys to China with the expectation that they will be lifting that restrictions in a reasonable amount of time, preferably before other countries can ramp up their own production. This will allow some time for the market to adjust to the new demand without making such a large impact on the day to day lives of its population. It is not the job of a government to regulate capitalism but when capitalism starts to impact the population negatively then governments should step in and place controls on what is happening to its people. IE what is going into the water stream.
    Logan Aven

    • Carlos Mario Pelaez says:


      Don’t you think this temporary cap will bring to the places in discussion illegal activities? As seen before, a product that has such an impact on a society always looks its way around bans, caps, prohibitions, etc. Black market for this product will rise and illegal activities will probably take place. How do you think they would enforce this temporary cap and avoid this?

  13. Bhartula Peeyush Sharma says:

    Given that there is an increase in demand for Donkey gelatin in China, I believe Niger and Burkina Faso should continue striving to scale like Kenya and South Africa and meet the Chinese demand rather than placing a complete ban. I understand that there are environmental issues caused due to this increased demand but stricter regulations need to be put in place that limits the impact on the environment. A benefit for the African countries is their exports which are increasing which is a benefit for them in terms of balance of trade that in turn improves their economic standing. It is important for these countries to continue exporting donkeys because if they don’t, there will be a lot of continued problems where businesspeople or brokers steal other people’s donkeys to supply the slaughterhouses. A possible way for these African countries to continue to meet this demand would be to have centers of breeding donkeys only for export to China. With government’s help, these centers can be built which can also improve local employment and cater towards the issue. However, because this is such a sensitive issue for the people from these African countries, if the environmental and other issues reach an extreme, a temporary ban can be placed in order to see how it improves the situation.

  14. Amit Agarwal says:

    1)A complete ban is not the right thing to do, rather the government should try to streamline the process of export. This can ensure or regulate the population of donkeys being exported.
    2) China should try to map the other unexplored markets for donkey supply. With 44 Million donkeys left in world and such a high demand in China, on one hand this leads to environmental disruption while on other hand it provides a very good business opportunity for livestock traders. 3) Until the alternative to donkey gelatin is found, the world can together come forward to tap this business opportunity and help maintain the demand and supply.

  15. Xin Liu says:

    There should be a balance between exports and protecting the environment because we should neither sacrifice the environment we live in to increase GDP nor impede the development of economics. The government should make long-term policy and legislation about the exports of donkey gelatin to avoid irreversible environmental damage problem. On the other hand, government should invest some money to improve the technology about donkey supply chain and design the donkey supply chain in a wiser way, for example, minimizing the number of slaughtering by predicting the demand more precisely and speeding up the transition of gelatin exports. Moreover, a buyer also has the responsibility to make sure the gelatin will minimize the environment impact, and some rules must be introduced, otherwise they may just buy the most cost-efficient one.

  16. Chushi Yang says:

    1.In my opinion, there exists solutions to minimize disruption faced by Africa. Firstly, relocating slaughterhouses to somewhere far away from water source or farmland can alleviate environmental problems. In other words, slaughtering should be executing in a more environmental friendly way. What’s more, centralized slaughter centers, which have higher slaughter capability, can be set to reduce slaughter costs as well as lower pollution. Secondly, governments should take responsibilities to solve the inflation problem caused by the rising value of donkeys.
    2.It’s believed that Niger and Burkina Faso still have opportunities to return to this market. Compared with Niger or Burkina Faso, Kenya and South Africa have less experiences in trading with China. Therefore, China may prefer have trades with Niger or Burkina Faso to guarantee the quality of donkeys. What’s more, the donkeys’ demand is still increasing, which means several countries in Africa may not meet the needs completely.
    3. I think buyers shouldn’t be required to ensure minimized environmental impact because that may promote buyers to squeeze down price. If buyers are demanded to minimize the environment, buyers may invest more to protect the environment and they will manage to transfer costs to donkeys suppliers. Suppliers have lower bargaining ability compared with buyers, which may lead to lowering the price of donkeys and squeezing profits of African countries. I believe that African countries should collaborate to improve their ability of bargaining, instead of competing with each other.

  17. chenxi wang says:

    I think a sudden ban on exports by Burkina Faso and Niger will aggravate the problem, because China and Niger or Burkina Faso has long time trading partnership already, it’s hard for them to find new partner in a short time, which will lead to illegal and underground trading activities. Instead of a sudden ban, a long term regulation would be a better choice for all countries. Also, all African countries should cooperate together to satisfy China’s demand on donkey gelatin. In this way, the donkey quantities in each country will be reduced and the environmental damage and pollution will be alleviated. Meanwhile, I think for a long term trading benefit, China should consider the environmental impact in the source country is minimized.

  18. yingrui wang says:

    I think relative regulation are definitely required instead of absolute ban. THe exports of donkeys should not be banned beacause it will not stop the damand from china but transfer the source. There also should be regulations or help for this kind of transaction so that the quantity of exports can be adjusted in the balance point at which the enviroment impact, prices of other animals and demand from chinese market are coordinated.

  19. Jiangxu Chen says:

    African economies should look for alternatives quickly, or increase local animal growth technically to cope with the rapid growth of Chinese demand. On the other hand, the African Community should negotiate with China to seek trade cooperation. China invests in Africa to develop new technologies in increasing animal production, and can help them solve water supply problems and increase exports, while the African Community is responsible for meeting China’s needs. It is even possible to use a cooperative approach similar to a wholesale price contract or a revenue-sharing contract.
    Niger and Burkina Faso do not need to adapt quickly or can not enter this market. The scale of trade between individual countries and China is limited, and the bargaining chips are limited. Niger and Burkina Faso should cooperate with other countries to trade with China and maximize benefits. Therefore, they can make corresponding efforts in political diplomacy and other aspects.
    In order to achieve sustainable development, the buyer should take steps to ensure that the environmental impact of the source country is minimized. Sustainable development is the theme of common development in the world today. Every economy should propose measures to protect the environment and minimize the impact of economic development on the environment.

  20. NAICONG NING says:

    It is always hard to balance the business and ethics. For Africa, fully ban is not the best solution just like escape from problem but not fix it. When there is chance to get money, It is easy for people to forget limit especially when there is a not a good educational status and mature social standard. The game regulation are made not only by one side of business, but by all members. So the player China should be responsible to the source or supply. Also for the suppliers, they should build sustainable conscious and standard regulation. Although the problem is always happen when a country is fast developing, but the market will be healthier when the big players can have high responsibility.

  21. Jananee Parthasarathy says:

    Usually, in fast-developing markets, it is hard to ask the supplier or the customer to think of environmental impacts as they are focused mainly on monopolizing the market. In this case, China would rather seek other markets which can satisfy their quick demands now, rather than set up an environmentally friendly unit in Niger or Burkina Faso. So, monopolizing the market and reaping the benefits of this demand-supply gap has to be done by the governments rationally, rather than an abrupt ban on exports. This supply of donkeys, if continued, will improve the relations with Chinese counterparts, thus setting up a profitable industry in the coming years for Niger and Burkin Faso.

  22. Anesh Krishna J N says:

    An abrupt ban by Niger and Burkina Faso governments would mean, the country could lose out on the inflow of foreign currency, lose the existing market to another country, increase in the black market for donkey hides. Thus, instead of imposing abrupt bans on the export of Donkeys, they could lay down regulations that would bolster the economy at a lesser cost. To counter the drastic decrease in the population of donkeys, they could limit the number of donkeys exported every year. Also, they could have the slaughter-houses set-up in places that are far away from the livelihood and use improved technologies that will ensure waste from slaughter-houses don’t spoil water supplies.
    With respect to the global rules, China or any buyer for that matter, wouldn’t think about environmental impacts as long as this issue is not brought up in IUCN. Given that, in the better interests of nature, it would be great if there are global rules that would require the buyer to ensure environmental impacts in the source country is minimized.

  23. wojiushiwoYY119 says:

    First, it is important for the African economies to catch the opportunity. As the demand for donkey gelatin in China is increasing, the market size can be huge and full of value. However, they should take the lesson from what the Kenya and South Africa experienced and make sure that the regulation and legal issues get ready before the decision made. My suggestion is to figure out chain structure of exporting the donkey gelatin and which parts are involved with this process. In this way, the ownership and responsibility can be clearly defined. Then, it is important to make some research about the capacity of the donkey gelatin in Africa because only in this way the max amount of export can be forecasted, which will help reduce the disruption in the future. What’s more, coordination is another consideration. The exporting department needs to negotiate with China to share the risks on locally economy damage.
    Second, as for the environmental impact, it is necessary for the global institutions to make the rule and make sure that both the buyer and seller should make some effort to protect the environment instead of only focusing on the medical need.

  24. Derek Curtis says:

    African countries should not implement a full ban on exports of donkeys. They should instead implement a regulated system, which would minimize the black market presence in these countries.
    Also, I do not believe that Niger and Burkina Faso will have to adapt quickly to Kenya and South Africa’s actions or will lose access to this market. However, since there are now more competitors in the market, Niger and Burkina Faso will have to settle for a smaller income generated from this market. I believe that these four countries need to collaborate with each other in order to establish the appropriate regulations which will present the best opportunity for both maximizing income and maintaining a healthy environment across the four countries.
    In addition, the buyers should have to ensure that the environmental impact in the source country is minimized. I believe that it is a global responsibility to resolve environmental issues, so China should be taking the initiative to communicate with these African countries and regulate their own trading practices appropriately.

    • Swathi veeradhi says:

      Hi Derek,
      I agree with your point about laying emphasis on the regulation of the exports rather than imposing a complete ban as this will lead to lost economic growth opportunities. The presence of black markets drives some of these countries towards drastic reactions that have both environmental and economic impacts. Further, in any economic transaction, the buyer and seller are equally responsible for the consequences. This means that China should not only express the demand to all the players in the market but also assist the African countries to regulate the trade. If we look at this from a different perspective, it works in China’s favor to trade with multiple countries because the diversification will help them cope with any disruption in supply should there be any event that causes depleted donkey population in any of the countries.

  25. Kaiyue Jin says:

    From my perspective, there is no doubt that countries such as Burkina Faso and Niger should adapt to these situations quickly and get access to the market. The problem is, how can these countries earn benefit for their people while minimize the negative influence on environment. Comparing with countries like Kenya and South Africa, these two countries are less competitive in raising donkeys in large scale. So they need other approaches to join the market. My personal advice is, let the capital in. That is, attract Chinese Ejiao manufacturers investing in Niger and Burkina Faso and build plants there, the authorities in these two countries can provide low price land and other resources to Chinese investors, in exchange, Chinese investors need to hire local labors, and construct a system to prevent contamination in the whole slaughtering and Ejiao producing process. The cost of preventing pollution can be expensive and may hard for countries like Niger to handle in a large scale, so I think it is more reasonable to utilize the strength of investors. By letting Chinese investors set plant and participate in the donkey transaction, the pollution problem can be ease to some extent, locals can get enough job opportunity and donkey traders can still get the profits.

  26. Zibo Meng says:

    In my opinion, first of all, the African government should introduce relevant measures to reduce environmental pollution. Because if there is a company that has damaged other aspects for economic benefits and the government does not care about it, thousands of companies will soon be established.The environment is the foundation of human survival, and it is never possible to put interests at the level of the environment.
    Second, Niger and Burkina Faso should enter this market. As long as appropriate rules are established, such as after appropriate negotiations with China or other parties. These two countries can fully exploit the advantages of cheap labor to compete with other countries, I believe in the end everyone can achieve a win-win situation.

  27. Yun (Winnie) Lo says:

    From my perspective of view, I think in the long run, Niger and Burkina Faso should lose access to this market because this is hurting their environment. Even though both countries can gain benefits from importing donkey to China, this demands is not ongoing demands. With the advancement of technology, I think eventually, China or other countries will find a way to better produce the Chinese remedy ejiao or find similar materials to replace donkey gelatin. Therefore, I do not suggest both countries to continuing being in the market. I do suggest that each countries will be raise the awareness of the importance of the environment. In this way, this kind of needs will be reduced as well.

  28. Mayank Daga says:

    As suggested by many participants over here, I suggest establishment of African convention to cater to the huge demand for donkeys in China. Instead of viewing as competition between African nations to cater to Chinese needs, these nations should come together to regulate the export of donkeys to meet the Chinese demand. Pooling of Chinese demand between these nations would help them to protect their environment and solve their economic problems that are causing imbalance. Having said that, building consensus between nations require constructive dialogues between the leaders of the countries who can think beyond their individual self-interests. Also, curbing black market for donkeys would need strict law enforcement for countries. Individual countries may find it difficult. However, if they work together, they all can prosper by grabbing the opportunity created by Chinese demand.

  29. Charles Nwaokobia says:

    The article does not give a hint on the actual donkey gelatin demand from China, but it does state that there is a steady demand, albeit, with the possibility of an increase. The article also states that if the African countries that supply the donkey gelatin can regulate well with high standard abattoirs and train people on how to rear these animals, this market can be an important source of income, hence a blessing. Based on these information, I believe there is sufficient capacity or resources to meet the market demand, but there would be a need for some strong co-ordination between the supplier countries to ensure the sustainability and success of the donkey gelatin business in Africa.
    I suggest that the supplier countries in Africa form an organization like OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) to co-ordinate and unify the policies of the members countries and ensure an efficient, economic and regular supply of the donkey gelatin to China and other consumer countries. The organization would regulate the market price for the donkey gelatin and foster a steady income to the suppliers thereby preventing the urge to sell indiscriminately without ensuring the replenishment of the donkey population. This co-ordination would also greatly reduce the competition among the member countries.
    To curb the inevitable upsurge of the black market the Chinese government should closely monitor and put pressure on the producers of Ejiao to ensure that they practice responsible and conflict free sourcing. Intel has been a front runner in creating a responsible and conflict free supply chain, ensuring that none of the products they source are from minerals that finance violence. Ejiao producers can replicate this model to ensure they source from only reputable and registered donkey gelatin suppliers.

  30. Chiao-Ya Lin says:

    A complete ban on exports of donkeys is not a wise approach from an economic perspective. In my opinion, to maintain the relationship and the access to China market, and to minimize the negative impact on the environment, Kenya and South Africa need to estimate the capability of raising donkeys in Africa first and establish the regulations to avoid over-export donkeys.
    All trading activities are related to the bargaining power, making countries a worldwide strong economic entity. For a long-term purpose, Kenya and South Africa should stabilize the economy and increase job opportunities through international trading with strong nations.

  31. Chenglun Fan says:

    Environmental issues are always serious concerns for developing countries that are trying to move forward. In this case, countries like Niger and Burkina Faso sensed the disadvantages of exporting donkeys to china. They reacted and were expected to harm the economy but improve the environmental protection. With this argument going on in every countries including developed countries, the first thing we should think about other than the economy is the political structures of the country. While certain groups are concerned about the environment, there are other political entities that focus more on economy development and care little about the environment, especially in developing countries. Now, since the ban is implemented, meaning that the power of supporters for protecting the environment overwhelming those who do not. This means that they are really having issues and are taking those issues seriously. Therefore, what China will do is to increase its power on lobbying those people who are trying to pose ban on exporting donkeys and give them what they want. However, it would be better if china is assisting those countries with their environmental issues, including technologies, concepts, and methods of protecting the environment. This will create a win-win situation that both parties get what they want without environment impact.

  32. Mitesh Somani says:

    Completely banning of export will let them lose a lot on the opportunity cost. I think, governments of these countries could play a major role in this issue. They can undertake this industry as a government subsidiary and eventually enforce proper environmental and breeding regulations more strictly. I would like to take 2 examples of Indian Government policies regarding similar issues. First was Nationalization of Indian Coal Industry. Exploitation of mining resources and laborers forced the Indian Government to take this step to strictly enforce proper regulations. This will not only help these countries in not loosing on the opportunity cost but will also increase government employment for their own people. The second example is categorizing which type of donkeys to be exported and which not. The Indian government has clearly categorized that the meat of cow, oxen and calf is prohibited for exporting and only the meat of buffalo can be exported. Some state governments have also applied added regulations which lets the slaughter houses slaughter only those buffaloes which are above certain age. These type of regulations can be applied to preserve the local resources for local uses also. Hence they can be applied on Donkey as a resource for these countries. Limitation on the quantity of donkeys exported, exporting donkeys after a certain age, breeding in controlled manner, not disposing of carcasses in water bodies but rather then dumping them in a better way and strictly applying regulations and norms.

  33. Siddhanth Rajagopalan says:

    In my opinion, the Ban was imposed in Burkina Faso and Niger at a point when there were no methods to curb the depletion of natural resources which are not easily replenished considering the geography of the country. Due to the desert landscape and shortage of clean water, farming and raising animals becomes extremely difficult. But, ban was no solution to the mayhem caused. An alternative could have been formulating a unified standard rearing and breeding approach which prevents pollution and makes optimum use of the available reserves and ensure quality checks for the exports. In this way, they could have continued inflow of foreign currency and minimized pollution/depletion of natural resources.

  34. Sounak says:

    In my opinion, at the initial stage itself, Burkina Faso and Niger should have done a analysis on the number of donkeys that can be slaughter annually without impacting the environment, and they could stick to that number of slaughtering. Doing so, Burkina Faso and Niger would not face ban on export. Any activity that is done in excess will have some impact in the environment eventually.

    There is always a trade-off between development and the cost associated with it. Therefore the development and the cost associated must be carefully analyzed to make sure the two are in
    balance. Even though breeding donkeys may seem a good idea at the initial stage, it may have unseen environmental consequences, also, with the increase in supply of donkeys, the value of the donkeys will go down in near future. It may also happen, China may move to another country or continent to import donkeys, or move to artificial process of making Gelatin. Taking all these factors into consideration, the African economies can do a Cost-Benefit Analysis of different options and stick to the best option.

    Given that Kenya and South Africa are scaling up their exports to meet Chinese demand, Niger and Burkina Faso should think what is best for them. Instead of buyers, the source countries should have regulations to ensure minimal environmental impact. As a buyer, a country may not think about the environment impact on other supplier country. More often, the buyer country thinks what is best for their own country. So, supplier country need to have some regulations so that a buyer country does not exploit them.

  35. Kartik Misra says:

    The African countries, instead of a total ban, should regulate the supply of donkeys and limit the number in the trade. This will create a sustainable supply chain and a higher demand price.
    The government of the Niger and Burkina Faso should also invest in studies of Donkey breeding. Such studies may help in uncovering faster-breeding processes and higher gelatin production in donkeys. The governments should also market African Donkeys as a primary source of premium quality source of medicinal gelatin.
    Furthermore, the governments should further regulate the industries in order to ensure strict norms are followed (this will help in pollution and population control) and should form an exclusive trade agreement with China to ensure a healthy supply chain.

  36. Li Zhao says:

    The government should make some policy or regulate the industry. To prevent rushing to slaught government can require how long the farmer should keep the livestock and what weight standard the livestock should hit. They can also have some industry integration to make modern farm with scale effect. It would increase the export capacity and also convenient to follow the rules.

  37. Keshav S Nair says:

    Considering the enormous demand and supply mismatch, it looks highly unlikely that any country on the supply side would be willing to ban the exports. Considering the environmental impact and the effects on prices of other commodities, I would say it’s in the best interest of all countries to work together and set up a regulatory framework voluntarily. Though South Africa and Kenya are ready to take on other countries by investing more in this trade, most likely the issues that hit Niger and Burkina Faso will come back to haunt them as well. Having legislations around the age of the donkey at the time of slaughter (eg: Not less than 5 years) could help balance the usage of donkeys in the respective countries and exports thereafter. Tough environmental laws have to be passed to ensure ethical killing and ensure proper disposal of organic waste so as to not pollute water sources. China also has to take responsibility for their suppliers and how the sourcing is done. Building a sustainable supply chain that creates value for everyone is the need of the hour.

  38. African countries may engage in donkey trade with China with the consideration to benefit from donkey trading, however they should be aware of the following:
    1) Economic-wise: as the growth of donkey business has been noticed by African countries, traders should be aware that quick emerging of supply shall not result in an unhealthy price competition.
    2) Environmental-wise: government or a valid organization should do studies on the growth rate in their country and current donkey population to cap on the maximum number of donkey could be traded each timeframe to ensure the trading frequency does not outgrown the donkey’s growth rate to ensure the species’ population collapse in each African country.

  39. African countries can sure join the donkey trade and become a sourcing supplier for China’s demand for donkey. Yet, there are 2 main perspective of concern to be aware of:
    1) Economic-wise : Quick emerging of countries to join to become the sourcing country may lead to unhealthy competition, wherein regulations should be in place to control on that.
    2) Environmental-wise: Government or other trust-worthy organization should conduct study and set regulation in order to set a maximum donkey trade population to ensure the trading rate won’t outgrown donkey growth rate, to avoid the population collapse of donkey in each countries.

  40. gokulsidd says:

    Burkina Faso and Niger should ban the donkey business. Both are very poor, landlocked countries whose economy depends on subsistence farming. The UN ranked Niger as the second least developed country in the world in 2016 due to multiple factors such as food insecurity, lack of industry, a weak educational sector, and others. Given this situation, how can you expect Niger and Burkina Faso to have a regulated industry?. Banning donkey exports will have a positive ripple effect in their economies. Since these countries lack good road infrastructure, donkeys are a cheap and efficient way to move goods around. There are many people whose livelihood depends on owning a donkey. Just because they had a sudden demand for donkeys doesn’t mean that these countries should get into the donkey business. They’ve got other matters to look into. Exporting donkeys is not going to solve their economic problems.
    However, I’m not proposing for these countries to ban the export soon, but evaluate to what extent its donkey population can be sacrificed. For this to happen, the government needs to step in and take control of the donkey slaughter industry. In this way, there’s just a one-stop-shop for Chinese buyers. The government can then, as a result, reinvest this money into its economy by building better infrastructure, good schools, etc.

  41. gokulsidd says:

    Burkina Faso and Niger should ban the donkey business. Both are very poor, landlocked countries whose economy depends on subsistence farming. The UN ranked Niger as the second least developed country in the world in 2016 due to multiple factors such as food insecurity, lack of industry, a weak educational sector, and others. Given this situation, how can you expect Niger and Burkina Faso to have a regulated industry?. Banning donkey exports will have a positive ripple effect in their economies. Since these countries lack good road infrastructure, donkeys are a cheap and efficient way to move goods around. There are many people whose livelihood depends on owning a donkey. Just because they had a sudden demand for donkeys doesn’t mean that these countries should get into the donkey business. They’ve got other matters to look into. Exporting donkeys is not going to solve their economic problems.
    However, I’m not proposing for these countries to ban the export soon, but evaluate to what extent its donkey population can be sacrificed. For this to happen, the government needs to step in and take control of the donkey slaughter industry. In this way, there’s just a one-stop-shop for Chinese buyers. The government can then, as a result, reinvest this money into its economy by building better infrastructure, good schools, etc.

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