Agricultural Market Development Trust (AGMARK), in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) East Africa Trade and Investment Hub, supported the launch of a regional East African Cross-Border Traders Association on December 7 in Nairobi. The new regional association will provide cross-border traders with a stronger voice in the East African Community and a platform to participate in the formulation of trade policies.
“The association will take a lead role in advocating for a conducive trading environment for it members in the East African Community. It is well aligned with the common market protocols. Through the association, small-scale cross-border grain traders throughout the region will have a voice of their own,” said James Mutonyi, Managing Director, AGMARK.
The association will expand and grow business in the region through partnerships and networks that build market linkages and create efficiencies among regional traders.
“The efficiency of cross-border grain trade in the region will depend on the existence of the association and its effectiveness in addressing issues around non-tariff barriers and building networks for enhanced food insecurity in the region,” said Allan Mukisira, project manager, AGMARK.
The association constitutes membership from cross-border traders of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan. The association’s interim chairperson, Miria Akankwasa noted, “We, as small-scale cross-border grain traders, see the association as an opportunity for us to network with grain buyers from areas of deficit and traders from areas of surplus.”
The formation of the association is an accomplishment of the Regional Traders Association Development Project, which AGMARK implemented with the support of the USAID East Africa and Investment Hub.
Over the past few months, the project linked cross-border traders to financial institutions and markets; built the capacity of cross-border traders by training them on enterprise management and structured marketing systems; and laid the groundwork for the trader’s association. USAID’s support to cross-border trade efficiency contributes to economic growth and the attainment of the U.S. government's Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative objectives.
In East Africa, cross-border trade 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.
About the partners
USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub:
The USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub (the Hub) boosts trade and investment with and within East Africa. It does this by deepening regional integration, increasing the competitiveness of select regional agricultural value chains, promoting two-way trade with the United States (U.S.) under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and facilitating investment and technology to drive trade growth intra-regionally and to global markets. The Hub is a proud component of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative.
The U.S. Government's Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative, Feed the Future, strives to increase agricultural production and the incomes of both men and women in rural areas who rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. Investments in inclusive agricultural-led growth encompass improving agricultural productivity, expanding markets and trade, and increasing the economic resilience of vulnerable rural communities.
AGMARK: 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 agri-entrepreneurs 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.
For further information get in touch with Allan Mukisira on + 254 720 384724 or email firstname.lastname@example.org