Over the last year, the USAID Hub’s agricultural component has successfully implemented trade-based solutions for food security. On January 31, USAID East Africa, USAID Hub representatives and CEO of the Eastern Africa Grain council (EAGC), shared their experiences in a webinar organized by USAID knowledge management platforms, Microlinks and Agrilinks.
The Webinar highlighted the food crisis in East and southern Africa, but also stressed that the region has the ability to feed itself if food were allowed to move freely from surplus to deficit regions. The Hub and the EAGC shared information on their trade facilitation forums that have been successful in promoting food security. In 2017, the USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub and EAGC facilitated contracts for 1.2 million MT of staple grains for cross-border trade, supporting the food security of an estimated 14.4 million people.
The Hub and EAGC also provided details of how they overcame logistics challenges, policy issues and non-tariff barriers to spur interregional trade of grains across East and southern Africa. While the focus for trade facilitation remains the private sector, the Hub and EAGC stressed the need for government engagement address policy and non-tariff barriers to the free flow of staples across the region.
The webinar was well attended, with participants from a range of countries. General feedback was positive.