EAST AFRICA – The Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) and Trademark Africa (TMA) have jointly initiated a groundbreaking three-year project in a bid to fortify export-oriented staple grains trade in East Africa.

Titled “Strengthening Competitiveness in Export-Oriented Staple Food Value Chains in East Africa,” the project, funded by USAID’s Economic Recovery and Resilience Activities (ERRA), was officially launched on April 3rd in Nairobi.

The program will be implemented in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, with Kenya as the destination market and Tanzania and Uganda as suppliers due to their surplus production.

The project comes at a time when the food commodities trade faces significant instability and decline amid low aggregation, informal trading, and limited farmer integration into formal trade, resulting in high transactional costs.

According to the executives, the project aims to achieve several objectives, among them seeking to strengthen farmer-operated grain business hubs (G-Hubs).

This would enable them to utilize technology to enhance grain production, quality, and trade.

Additionally, the project aims to develop enterprise-level capacities and institutional mechanisms to scale up Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) standards and quality compliance, thereby increasing export-oriented grain trade.

Furthermore, it aims to establish and enhance an information hub to inform regional food balance sheets and shape national and regional food security and trade policies, fostering an enabling regulatory environment for trade.

Gerald Masila, Executive Director of EAGC, expressed his enthusiasm for the project, emphasizing its alignment with EAGC’s mission to advocate for an enabling environment and promote structured grain trade.

This project will significantly enhance production, access to agricultural financing, capacity enhancement, and mentorship in SPS and quality compliance,” Masila noted.

On his part, Joseph Kimote, Vice Chairman and Kenya Country Director of EAGC highlighted the project’s objective of fostering collaboration and innovation within staple food value chains.

“By empowering farmers and strengthening market linkages among SMEs, we aim to create a more resilient and inclusive grain sector in East Africa,” Kimote remarked.

According to him, the project’s key intervention areas include the commercialization of smallholder farmers’ activities, support for SMEs, and improvements in the grain trade policy environment.

Specifically, it aims to enhance export-oriented market access for Tanzania and Uganda with the Kenyan market, thus promoting greater regional integration and trade. Mark Priestley, Chief of the Party for the ERRA project at Trademark Africa, emphasized strategic collaboration with EAGC and USAID.

He outlined the project’s potential to bolster grain exports within the region through initiatives such as Grain Business Hubs (G-Hubs), operated by farmers utilizing technology to enhance grain quality and trade efficiency.

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