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Hub works to boost agriculture and agribusiness in eastern Africa

Published on August 17, 2017

The Hub works to substantially increase intra-regional and global trade of agricultural commodities directly contributing to the region’s economic growth. This will consequently lead to the attainment of Feed the Future outcomes of increasing the access, availability and utilization of African-grown staple foods in regionally integrated markets. In particular, the Hub’s Agriculture and Agribusiness component aims at doubling the value of intra-regional trade in staple foods by the end of the project. To date, the Hub has supported an increase of 40 percent in value ($187 million) and of staple foods traded within the EAC. The Hub’s strategic grain trade intervention and business-to-business (B2B) activities in financial year 2017 have yielded over 200 market linkages that generated over $1million metric tons in cross-border staples grain trade. 

At the policy level, the Hub has supported the EAC Partner States to expedite the ratification of the EAC sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) Protocol, which Kenya ratified in June 2016 while Burundi ratified in June 2017.  The Hub has also supported the EAC Partner States to draft revised EAC standards for select staple foods, and the EAC SPS bill, for EAC’s adoption and enactment.

Technology identification, promotion and investment are key areas of focus with the Hub supporting the East Africa PostHarvest Technology Competition 2017 (EAPTC). Three innovators were selected from a group of 25 semi-finalists during the three-day EAPTC Fair that included training sessions, networking sessions and a final competition. The innovators showcased and pitched their innovations to development partners, donors, governments, investors, and farmer and trader associations.

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Capacity building of officials responsible for SPS measures enforcement including seed certification has been strengthened to support the implementation of harmonized Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) seed regulations and to facilitate safe trade that prevents the entry and spread of exotic pests and diseases. Cross-border training workshops have been conducted across East Africa to help reduce cross-border transaction costs and increase formal trade at the border. This is done by working with informal cross-border traders to identify interventions needed to address key constraints facing them.

The Hub also works to foster food security and nutrition, by supporting development of EAC Food Security Action Plan 2017-2021 and the EAC Food Security and Nutrition Policy which serves as an instrument for guide programming in the food security sector. All these policy interventions are aimed at increasing regional trade and the competitiveness of regional commodity value chains.