Small-scale women traders signed commitments worth $1,565,212 for 5,269 metric tons (MT) of staple food commodities during USAID Hub-facilitated business-to-business (B2B) trade forums. The USAID Hub, in partnership with the Agribusiness Focused Partnership Organization (AGRIFOP), organized forums at the Rusumo, Nemba/Bugesera and Kagitumba/Mirama Hills borders to build trade ties and spur new business relationships among women traders from Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. These deals demonstrate the traders’ potential contributions to regional food commodities trade when business connections are fostered.
“We are thankful for such an engaging platform and an opportunity to meet traders from Rwanda. We hope these linkages will last and enable us to find new markets for our food commodities,” said Ms. Caritas, Chairlady of the Women Cross-border Traders Association from Kirundo, Burundi.
Over the last few months, the Hub ran a training program with AGRIFOP that built 112 women’s knowledge of enterprise management, structured trade, East African Community (EAC) grain standards, cross-border trade regulations, access to market information and financing. The business linkages made during the B2B forums reinforced these lessons. The women interacted with financial institutions who provided more information on accessing financing for trade and will use their training to execute the deals made during the B2Bs.
“We would like to encourage you to take action on the commitments you have signed in non-binding contracts so that they lead to real contracts,” said Lilian Maina, Sector Specialist for Agribusiness at the Hub.
The Hub will also work closely with AGRIFOP to link the cross-border traders to the East Africa Cross Border Traders Association (EACBTA), which was formed under the Hub's grant to Agricultural Market Development Trust (AGMARK). The EACBTA gives cross-border traders a stronger voice in the EAC and a platform to participate in trade policy formulation.
By improving traders' capacities and creating business linkages, the traders are better equipped to embrace formal trade mechanisms. Formal trade channels reduce transaction costs and support more effective agricultural markets. These activities will continue to support regional staple food trade even after the Hub’s intervention and will contribute to economic growth and the attainment of the U.S. government's Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative, Feed the Future, objectives.