EAGC And USAID Form Collaboration To Boost Export-Driven Staple Food Value Chain Competitiveness

Posted on :Wednesday , 31st January 2024

The US government has awarded the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) a US$2 million grant for a three-year term through Feed the Future's support of TradeMark Africa (TMA) under USAID's Economic Recovery and Reform Activity (ERRA) program. The funds will boost the profitability of export-oriented East African staple food value chains. 


Through the five-year ERRA US$75 million program, USAID and TMA are leading the way in enacting revolutionary trade and investment reforms throughout the East and Horn of Africa. The objective is to generate employment, especially for women and young people, in the textile and staple crop sectors. Increasing the ability of grain producers to export both domestically and internationally is an essential part of this.


Limited production levels, inadequate post-harvest handling, and environmental restrictions have stunted East Africa's enormous potential to grow and export food grains. These challenges lead to production shortfalls, limited cross-border commerce, low competitiveness of basic staples in local markets and post-harvest losses that jeopardize the region's food security.


Through easing tariffs and strengthening the ability of grain exporters in Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda along export value chains that include rice, sorghum, beans, millet, and maize, this facility with EAGC will directly address these challenges.


TMA's CEO, Mr.David Beer stated that the strategic alliance between USAID and EAGC will boost local grain exports. Part of this includes setting the standard for creative approaches like Grain Business Hubs, or G-Hubs. Mr. Beer claims that these are operated by farmers who will improve grain quality and trade by utilizing technology.


One major obstacle to grain trade in the region is the ability of enterprises to comply with international standards. In order to successfully comply with Standards Quality Infrastructure (SQI) standards, which control quality, health and safety systems and environmental conservation, as well as Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) regulations, which manage the wellbeing of traded plants and animals, EAGC will support more than 80 SMEs. Their ability to export is reliant upon them.


The EAGC's Executive Director, Gerald Masila, expressed satisfaction that the partnership promotes the group's goal of fostering a well-run, successful, and inclusive grain trade. He listed several advantages for the sector, including access to funding for agriculture, capacity building, and mentorship, all of which would promote an industry-wide commitment to Industry-Own Checks or Industry Self-Regulation.


The expected outcomes, according to Mr. Masila, have the power to transform people's lives and significantly strengthen the local economy. "Our focus is on practical, impactful solutions," he stated. Establishing long-term growth will need strengthening SMEs' capacities and strengthening grain business centers. Furthermore, through informed decision-making, the information center will be essential in directing policy changes that enhance trade dynamics and food security.


This resource will help alter food balance sheets at the national and regional levels with its real-time data and insights. The hub will create the ideal environment for implementing trade policies in the highest priority order. In doing so, it promotes food security and fortifies East Africa's strategic position in international trade.


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