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EAC and Agriculture & Food Security

Agriculture is one of East Africa’s most important sectors with about 80% of the region’s population living in rural areas and depending on agriculture for their livelihood. The agricultural sector is dominated by smallholder mixed farming of livestock, food crops, cash crops, fishing and aquaculture. It includes people working together across all agricultural levels, from cross-border traders and SMEs to government policy makers and international exporters. EAC-GIZ’s support to EAC integration in this sector focuses on enhancing agricultural development through promoting inclusive and integrated agro-processing value chains with a special focus on private sector involvement and improved framework conditions, including quality infrastructure, standards and customs procedures. Projects target key sectors like coffee and tea for a range of trainings and mentoring, aiming at higher quality, better marketing and higher incomes from a growing agro-processing sector.

EAC-GIZ SUPPORT

Coffee, Tea, Cocoa, Spices, Avocado and other Horticultural Products


A significant proportion of intra-and extra-EAC trade is in agricultural commodities, with tea, coffee, cocoa and horticultural products being of special importance. The agriculture sector can provide an avenue for product and market diversification, attraction of investment and upgrading of technology. It is also labour intensive, generating much needed employment especially among women and young people. One way to unlock the potential of trade with these commodities to drive industrial growth, diversification and inclusive development is by increasing intra-regional trade and exports of agro-based products to the European Union and other international markets.

Projects:

Objective: Increase exports of agribusiness and horticultural products and promote regional integration and access to regional markets in East Africa and the European market.

Approach: MARKUP assists SMEs in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda to improve the quality of their products by aligning them with international standards and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures. This allows EAC agribusinesses to benefit from increased business opportunities in both East African and European markets and to meet the growing demand in the EU for products produced in the EAC. MARKUP is targeting specific agricultural commodities such as avocado, cocoa, coffee, spices and tea. 

Interventions focus on: 

  • The identification and elimination of barriers to trade.
  • Improving competitiveness.
  • Strengthening of value addition for selected priority sectors.
  • Ensuring compliance with international regulations.
  • Providing access to trade finance.
  • Supporting the identification of opportunities for trade and Foreign Direct Investment.

Women and youth account for a large proportion of the labour force but are often not the primary beneficiaries of the economic opportunities provided by increased trade. Therefore, MARKUP specifically targets women and youth in its activities.

Find more information on MARKUP as part of the SEAMPEC programme here.

Fruits and Vegetables


The EAC region produces a wide range of fruits and vegetables for domestic consumption and export to regional and international markets. The volume of EAC trade in the global F&V market is estimated at around 1.28 million tons per year. While the proportion of fresh exports is 87%, the processed exports account for 13%. The sub-sector has a huge transformation potential and provides promising economic opportunities for reducing rural poverty and contributing to food security. However, the F&V production base across the EAC is fragmented, smallholder dominated and with low yield per acre as well as low productivity stemming from a lack of access to markets, credit and technology. This is exacerbated by volatile food and energy prices. There are significant pre- and post-harvest loses with the later at times reaching 35% to 60%. The sub-sector is also characterised by the existence of a relatively small formal marketing channel compared to a large informal one. To change this and build on the potential of the F&V sub-sector, the EAC has developed and is now implementing the EAC Fruit & Vegetable Strategy and Action Plan.

Projects:

Objective: Strengthening regional industrial value addition in the fruits & vegetables sub-sector.

Approach: RIVA supports improved framework conditions through:

  • The development and implementation of the EAC Fruit & Vegetable Strategy and Action Plan (F&VSAP 2020-2030).
  • Support to national implementation of priority harmonised F&V product standards.
  • Facilitation of national implementation of harmonised customs procedures.
  • Support to private sector value addition and trade initiatives for deepening inclusivity and partnerships.

Find more information on RIVA as part of the SEAMPEC programme here.

Objective: Innovative EAC integration stories are showcased demonstrating citizens the benefits of integration.

Approach: IIDEA and IRTF incubate and support small-scale regional integration projects which are proposed and implemented by civil society, private sector and other interest groups from the EAC. IIDEA and IRTF provide funds to farmers for projects that make use of the opportunities which the EAC Common Market opens for cross-border trade and cooperation in vegetable growing and processing. 

Examples of supported projects:

  • 2,500 young farmers at Babati in the North of Tanzania gained employment and improved their livelihood through Green Beans for Youth (GB4Y), a contract farming model involving farmers from Tanzania and an agri-processing company from Kenya.
  • KilimoMart App carried out by the Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers' Forum (ESAFF) Uganda, gives small-scale farmers in Kenya and Uganda access to markets, agriculture services, farming practices and techniques, weather information, laws and policies including EAC updates and provides an interactive forum for the exchange of knowledge and experience. 
  • The Youth EAC Agribusiness App, developed by Nyakitonto Youth for Development Tanzania (NYDT) is connecting more than 170,000 farmers from Tanzania and Burundi with customers who can order their fresh produce through the phone and pick it up at their local destination.

Find more information on IIDEA and IRTF as part of the SEAMPEC programme here.

Potatoes


In the EAC, potatoes are key to food security and to reviving local economies. It has been ranked as one of the Top 10 strategic staple crops for food and income security in the region. However, production of certified seed potatoes is still in its infancy in all EAC Partner States. Average yields are less than ten tons per hectare, although there is production potential of up to 30 tons. The low yields are mainly due to the use of poor-quality farm saved seed potatoes and inappropriate cultivation practices. To date, only small quantities of seed potatoes are traded within the EAC, mainly on an informal basis. There is a lack of regional coordination and standards across the countries and a need to develop and implement strategies and instruments for regional trade in seed potatoes. This is why a strategy development process is now pushed forward by the EAC in order to improve the regional trade with seed potatoes in the region.

Projects:

Objective: A basis for the development of trade in seed potatoes in the EAC is provided.

Approach: Increasing the quantity of available certified seed potatoes per country by strengthening national processes and actors as well as facilitating a regional exchange to foster harmonisation of standardisation processes. The project efforts include:

  • Support of EAC-wide and country-level strategy development for seed potato trade.
  • Support for improved testing infrastructure and audit methods.
  • Capacity development for inspectors at borders (national plant protection organisations, customs, standard bureaus) of EAC Partner States for implementing more efficient and quicker seed potato inspection to increase the supply of seed potatoes in regional markets.

Find more information on FABI here.

Leather


The EAC region accounts for 3% of the world's total cattle herd, 2% of the sheep herd and 5% of the goat herd. This resource base for the production of hides and skins lays a strong fundament for the development of the leather industry. Additionally, the demand for meat in the EAC is steadily on the rise which is another growth indicator for the leather industry. However, so far, the economic importance of the leather industry has been modest and even on the decline. From a paltry regional average of 0.6% (share of agriculture’s GDP) in 2013, to 0.28% in 2017. Key factors for this decline include a weak policy environment which discourages investment in value added products such as footwear and leather products, continued export of critical raw materials and weak institutional arrangements to enforce quality and standards in the value chain. In order to turn this development around and foster the growth opportunities of the leather industry, the EAC is implementing a regional Strategy and Implementation Roadmap for Leather, Leather Products and Footwear.

Projects:

Objective: Strengthening regional industrial value addition in the leather sub-sector.

Approach: RIVA supports priority regional framework conditions for value addition to improve the leather industry’s competitiveness through multiple efforts, including:

  • Coordination and steering of the EAC Strategy and Implementation Roadmap for Leather, Leather Products and Footwear.
  • Identification, training and implementation on Good Manufacturing Practices. 
  • Identifying and supporting the implementation of harmonised leather product standards and harmonised customs procedures.
  • Support to inclusive private sector networking and advocacy to promote trade integration for sustainable and equitable industrial development.

Find more information on RIVA as part of the SEAMPEC programme here.

Objective: Innovative EAC integration stories are showcased demonstrating citizens the benefits of integration. 

Approach: IIDEA and IRTF incubate and support small-scale regional integration projects which are proposed and implemented by civil society, private sector and other interest groups from the EAC. Trade in leather products has so far been of minor importance in intra-regional trade in the EAC. Therefore, IIDEA and IRTF support small-scale projects in the leather sector to improve the standards of hides, starting at the level of the cattle keepers. Better quality hides can then be further processed and traded in other EAC Partner States. 

Examples of supported projects:

  • Agrilink Tanzania (ALT) has so far trained almost 1,100 cattle breeders in Northern Tanzania, most of them women, to improve the quality of produced cow hides for export to the Kenyan market.
  • The Leather Industry Networking Platform Project (LINP) has started setting up a digital regional leather network platform that will foster exchange, networking, and joint regional interest representation of leather associations and companies for improved market access and intra-EAC trade.

Find more information on IIDEA and IRTF as part of the SEAMPEC programme here.

RESULTS OF AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY

A newly developed regional strategy on fruits & vegetables lays the groundwork for the future development of the sector which is projected to offer employment for 65 million people by 2027
15 regional SMEs engaged in the export of avocado and other fresh products generating business leads worth 20 million USD
2,500 young farmers in Babati, Northern Tanzania, gained employment and improved their livelihood through Green Beans for Youth, a contract farming model involving farmers from Tanzania and a Kenyan agro-processing company
The Youth EAC Agribusiness App, developed by IIDEA partner Nyakitonto Youth for Development Tanzania is connecting more than 170,000 farmers from Tanzania and Burundi with customers who can order their fresh produce through the phone and pick it up at their local destination

SECTORS