In its May/June issue of the Aspen Journal of Ideas, the Aspen Institute published a piece On Food Security, Who Leads? http://aspen.us/journal/editions/mayjune-2015/food-security-who-leads
“Like many of the greatest challenges facing world leaders today, achieving food security — defined as when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to stay healthy and active — over the long term requires tight coordination and progress across all sectors. Governments, NGOs, international organizations, and corporations all have a role to play. But who will lead? And where can we focus our resources to make the greatest impact?”
Similar to the authors of the piece, the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub also believes in the power of the private sector and the massive and immediate impact that global trade can have on food security.
Again, the Aspen Institute, “According to the FAO, global trade in agriculture exceeds $1 trillion each year, or more than 200 times the annual operating budget of the World Food Programme, the world’s largest food aid organization. To put that in perspective, a 1 percent per year gain in the efficiency of global agriculture markets would alone free up enough money to cover all global food aid costs many times over.”
How do we make that happen in East Africa?
Regional projects funded by USAID and DFID met today, May 14, 2015, in Nairobi to discuss key agricultural trade issues, such as, trade finance, warehouse management and certification, smallholder linkages, food standards and crossing borders.
One example of the initiatives discussed, G-Soko – proposed launch date, July 2015.
The G-Soko project aims to build a new system that links smallholder farmers to grain buyers across East Africa through a structured market mechanism. This system will use innovative technology to provide information on market opportunities, to track goods, enhance transparency and connect buyers and sellers. The model is based on tested market structures such as automated aggregation centres and certified warehouses which bulk goods, ensure quality, and provide storage and credit facilities. This will also help farmers to access finance and to source higher quality inputs at more affordable prices. It will improve market access, enhance productivity and ultimately help farmers to increase production, employment and income.