FoodTrade East and Southern Africa (ESA) has partnered with the Joseph Initiative, Victoria Seeds Limited and ACTESA (Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa) - a specialized regional agricultural agency of COMESA - to launch three new collaborative activities to support trade in staple foods.
With investment from FoodTrade ESA, the Joseph Initiative, a Uganda-based agricultural commodity trading company, will work to improve the integration of smallholder maize and legume farmers into regional markets through the Rural Injini Project.
A second investment in Victoria Seeds Limited (VSL), a Uganda-based seed distributor, will help expand the production of high quality, commercially viable, certified seeds of major staple foods - rice, maize, millet and soybean - in Rwanda and Uganda.
Finally, FoodTrade ESA has provided a grant to assist ACTESA's work in streamlining national seed trade regulations through the harmonization of national standards across East and Southern Africa.
These three FoodTrade ESA investments are transformative for regional markets but especially for more than 850,000 smallholder farmers whose livelihoods will be improved by the removal of key obstacles to growth. By removing impediments in seed and input trade, bringing processing services closer to the farmer and automating the systems, more farmers will obtain a higher-than-farm gate price and a higher volume of grain will be traded benefiting producers, traders and consumers.
FoodTrade ESA is a 5-year trade enhancement and promotion program with a focus on staple food crops. It is funded by the UK Government.