The USAID Hub has signed a grant with the Agribusiness Focused Partnership Organization (AGRIFOP) to drive formal trade in the East African Community (EAC) through the empowerment of women cross-border traders in the staple foods and horticulture sectors. Informal cross-border trade is estimated to account for up to 60 percent of all intra-regional trade in the EAC and women are estimated to compose 80 percent of all informal traders. Empowering women to use formal trade channels helps them to take advantage of cross-border trade facilities and leaves them less vulnerable to actors that prey upon the disenfranchised. The new grant will improve the capacity of participating women traders through entrepreneurial skills building, market opportunity awareness, linkages to financial institutions, and business-to-business linkages. By grant completion, participating women traders will have the capacity to earn more and participate more fully in formal trade.
The USAID Hub’s grant to AGRIFOP builds on the Hub’s previous work with the Agricultural Market Development Trust (AGMARK). The AGMARK grant mainly focused on the creation of the East Africa Cross-Borders Traders Association which provides cross-border traders with a stronger voice in the East African Community and a platform to participate in the formulation of trade policies. Under that grant, AGMARK also built the capacity of cross border traders along the eastern borders of the EAC. The AGRIFOP grant will focus on building the women cross border traders along the western borders of EAC. AGRIFOP will also work closely with the East Africa Cross-Borders Traders Association in order to build more collaboration among the cross border traders.
(The Hub and AGRIFOP representatives during the grant signing at the Hub's offices.)
The first activity under the grant will be the mobilization and profiling of the women cross border trader associations and the traders themselves to create a database of the women who will be trained. AGRIFOP will then organize training workshops on cross-border trade requirements, procedures, documentation and regulations, grain quality standards, warehouse management, and opportunities in regional integration.
The Hub’s partnership with AGRIFOP will contribute to increased access, availability and utilization of African-grown staples food through regionally integrated markets.
The Agribusiness Focused Partnership Organization (AGRIFOP) is a non-government organization with a focus to develop and support agricultural input and output markets for agri-entrepreneurs, traders and smallholder farmers. AGRIFOP’s mission is to increase agricultural productivity in a sustainable manner through the development and transfer of effective and environmentally friendly business approaches to secure agricultural marketing expertise.
AGRIFOP has vast experience in the continent. The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) selected AGRIFOP to implement it the Rwanda Agro-Dealers Development Project (RADD II).The project was designed to complement the Rwandan Government efforts in agriculture development by contributing towards increasing smallholder farmers’ agricultural productivity and incomes through strengthened agro-dealer networks.