At the end of April, Hub partner the Agricultural Market Development Trust (AGMARK) conducted its first capacity-building training session for 78 cross-border traders along the Busia and Malaba borders of Kenya. The training covered topics on enterprise management, structured trading systems, East African Community grades and standards, cross-border trade regulations, access to information, finance, and potential markets for increased participation in formal cross-border trade.
The most engaged training participants were rural women and youth cross-border small-scale grain traders. They were delighted to learn how to deal with market fluctuations and how to price their grains when faced with unpredictability. They also learned about how grain trade affects food security in the region.
“I learnt the benefit of joining trading groups and associations as this makes access to finance easier. We were also sensitized on structured trading as it helps one to easily access customers and grain products. For example, if a client needs products in bulk and you don’t have enough stock you can visit a fellow member of a grain association to assist in sustaining the order,”Natimba Halima, cross-border grain trader in Busia, Uganda.
“We are happy that One Stop Border Posts have been established. However, more women should be sensitized about their rights. This will reduce harassment by border officials,”Florence Atieno, Chairlady, National Cross-Border Women Traders Association.
Like many cross-border traders, Kenyan and Ugandan traders face various challenges, including 1) Lack of storage facilities, 2) Lack of market for their products, 3) Poor management skills, 4) Poor transport and infrastructure facilities and 5) Insecurity. With a Busia County official present, participants were assured that their issues would be addressed. “The department of trade in Busia County will give you maximum support in your activities,”Vincent Asikoye, Director of Trade in Busia County.
This training workshop is the first activity under a Hub grant with AGMARK. Through this grant, the Hub will support the reduction of transaction costs for cross-border trade in staple foods by building the capacity of rural cross-border traders in the EAC and facilitating linkages to both the financial services and market opportunities they need for greater participation in the formal sector.