Efficient agricultural markets enable cross-border trade in staple foods and contribute to economic growth and food security. According to COMTRADE data, the Hub has contributed to a 69% increase in volume and 18% increase in value of staple foods traded within the EAC between 2014-2017. The Hub works to align regional policies and remove trade bottlenecks by partnering with governments, strategic private sector actors and institutions to harmonize regional staple food standards, support access to finance to large, grain trade deals and build in-country knowledge of and compliance with food, plant and animal safety standards. The Hub also addresses fundamental challenges in crop production, post-harvest handling and trade information by offering capacity building trainings to traders, particularly women, and facilitating the adoption of innovative U.S. technologies.

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New initiative to fund smallholder farmers launched

Published on July 24, 2017
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP) are going to launch smallholder farmer financing programmes with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to improve food security among vulnerable people in Rwanda and Tanzania. The initiatives with KCB Bank Rwanda and CRDB Bank in Tanzania are part of the Farm to Market Alliance, a multi-stakeholder platform established in 2016, of which IFC and WFP are global members, to create agriculture value chains that secure sizeable local and international demand for produce from smallholder farmers, according to a statement from the two organisations. Read more. Source | New Times
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Duty-free window for maize extended

Published on July 24, 2017
The Treasury has extended duty waiver on imported yellow and white maize in a move aimed at increasing supply of the staple. The extension, contained in a special issue of the gazette notice signed by Treasury Cabinet secretary Henry Rotich, will see millers enjoy the duty waiver on white maize for three more months. Yellow maize window will be open for one year. The waiver on white maize was supposed to end on July 31 but it has now been extended to September 30. The exemption on yellow maize was supposed to expire on August 31 but this has been pushed to June 30, 2018. Read more. Source | Business Daily
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Pulses take center stage at EAGC Meru trade fair

Published on July 20, 2017
More than 1200 farmers and 24 exhibitors from banks, seed companies, machinery and equipment companies, agro dealers, and technology companies attended the Hub-supported Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) Annual Pulses Trade Fair in Meru, Kenya. The trade fair promoted the pulses industry and provided attendees with a range of information on varieties and types of pulses. It also outlined quality standards and provided a market outlook for pulses. The fair included a business-to-business (B2B) platform that attracted 58 participants - 45 farmers and 13 traders. The platform facilitated the exchange of contracts for 990 MT of grain (sorghum, maize, beans, green grams, millet, soya beans, pigeon peas and chick peas) valued at $53,425 and 3,051 MT of non-grain food commodities i.e. (cassava, ground nuts, sweet potatoes, avocadoes and mangoes).
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New irrigation plans to boost agriculture

Published on July 19, 2017
Tanzania is set to increase irrigation network towards sustainable industrial agriculture economy, the Minister for Water and Irrigation, Mr Gerson Lwenge, has said. He said at the just ended Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF) that irrigated land will be increased to one million hectares in two years from only 460,000 currently out of 29 million hectares suitable for irrigation. “Irrigation can speed up agriculture productivity because there is a possibility of cultivating twice a year contrary to reliance on rain-fed farming where farmers harvest once a year,” he said. Read more. Source | Daily News
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Kanimba calls on Africa to renew efforts to protect its agric sector

Published on July 19, 2017
It is high time African countries embarked on special safeguard measures (SSMs) to protect the continent’s agriculture sector, François Kanimba, the Minister for Trade, Industry and East African Community Affairs, said Monday. Put in place by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that regulates international trade, the SSM is a protection measure allowed for developing countries to take contingency restrictions against agricultural imports that hurt domestic farmers. Kanimba made the call at the opening of a week-long regional advanced trade negotiation simulation skills course for 32 English speaking African countries, in Kigali, at which participants discuss the impact of mega-regional deals on WTO processes. Read more. Source | New Times
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Cross-border women traders call for friendly operating environment

Published on July 19, 2017
Cross-border women traders have called on the government to support them and also improve the trading environment. The women traders operating between Rusizi-Bukavu and Rubavu-Goma border posts say corruption, sexual harassment and inadequate operating capital are affecting businesses. Janet Mukamunana, a member of Icyerekezo Cyiza Cooperative that sells tomatoes and onions, said these challenges have affected business growth and their earnings. As a result, we cannot compete with traders from the DR Congo who deal in similar products, she said during a recent tour of the cooperative by the Rusizi District leaders. According to their cooperatives, small-and-medium enterprise (SME) owners doing cross-border trade also face sexual harassment and lack facilities like early childhood development centres to support them while doing their businesses. Corruption and harassment are reportedly experienced while in the DRC. Read more. Source | New Times
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Increased pulse production key in avoiding food scarcity: EAGC

Published on July 18, 2017
The East Africa Grain Council is advocating for a shift to farming pulses in larger volumes as a way of mitigating against food scarcity in the country. According to the EAGC, pulses which are very high in protein, fiber and are low in fat could be the next frontier of voluminous foreign exchange earners. Read more. Source | Daily Nation
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Ethiopia, western world from donation to economic partnership

Published on July 13, 2017
Ethiopia's relation with North American and European countries that has been largely characterized by assistance has transformed to business and development over the past few years, Ethiopian Investment Commission said. Out of the total 25 billion Birr FDI came from Asian, European and North American countries between mid 2012 and mid 2017, the share of North American and European countries was close to 10 billion Birr, about 40 per cent of the total investment, according to data. Over the past 10 years Chinese and Indian investment had the lion's share in Ethiopia. Now the situation is changed and flow of North American and European investment has become nearly equivalent to those came from Asia, Mekonnen Hailu, Public Relation Director with the Investment Commission told The Ethiopian Herald. Read more. Source | Ethiopian Herald
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