On March 13, the Hub signed a grant with the Agricultural Market Development Trust (AGMARK) to support the reduction of transaction costs for cross-border trade in staple foods. Cross-border trade in East Africa is characterized by inefficiencies, high transaction costs and low competitiveness. Studies have shown that cross-border traders lack business management skills and knowledge on the requirements to trade across borders. Traders also confront high storage costs and handling loses through spillage, pest damage and contamination, which lower the quality and quantity of grains and diminish profits. Through the Hub grant, AGMARK will build the capacity of cross-border traders on enterprise management, structured marketing systems and efficient staple foods cross-border trade. AGMARK will also facilitate the formation of an East African Cross Border Traders Association.
“This grant is important because it will bring a positive change in the cross-border trade of grains. We’re excited to see the sequence of activities that will follow this signing,” said Hub Chief of Party Juan Estrada-Valle.
The first activity under the grant will be a training of traders on financial literacy for enterprise development, with a focus on managing working capital, basic record keeping, pricing, and marketing. AGMARK will also introduce traders to structured trading systems, including the harmonized East African Food Staples Standards.
The Hub’s partnership with AGMARK will contribute to increased access, availability and utilization of African-grown staples food through regionally integrated markets.
The Agricultural Market Development Trust (AGMARK) is a regional non-profit organization that promotes rural agribusiness entrepreneurs to increase agricultural productivity by improving access to inputs and farming technologies and linkages to markets for surplus produce. It was established in Kenya in 2004 and has expanded its operations to eastern, western and southern Africa. A key area of its intervention is the promotion of agri-enterprises by building their business skills and technical capacities and linking them to key stakeholders, including financial institutions and output markets. AGMARK is also involved in supporting the development of agricultural-based associations as a way of bringing professionalism and improving efficiency in the industry.
AGMARK has vast experience in the region. The Government of Kenya and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) selected AGMARK as the training partners for its ongoing Kenya Cereal Enhancement Program (KCEP).