The Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC), a regional not-for-profit company for the grain value chain spanning 10 Countries across the continent, is making moves to help farmers increase their output in spite of climate and logistical-related challenges.
The Council recently held a high profile meeting to address a number of issues facing East Africa’s grain sector. The event had a particular focus on crops such as sorghum and cowpeas, some of the region’s relatively-underutilized crops.
The event, known as the Grain Hub Business-to-Business (B2B) forum, was held in Nairobi, Kenya. The affair served as a one-stop shop for grain-related services supported by CTA, a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU).
CTA is at the forefront of the fight against poverty and strives for sustainable food security in the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States.
Through Grain Hubs, farmers can access right inputs, get relevant market information, store grains, linked to markets, access finance among others services.
Speaking at the event, East African Community Principal Secretary (PS) Margaret Mwakima presented a Keynote Address on ‘Improving the Business Environment in Eastern Africa for More and Better Trade.’
The EAGC members’ luncheon featured a number of high profile attendees, including Janet Kalulu Ngombalu, Regional Manager- Marketing Information Systems & Communications in charge of EAGC Market Information Services, and Samwel Rutto, Structured Grain Trade Specialist at the Eastern Africa Grain Council, among others.
PS Mwakima said grain production in the region encounters a lot of challenges including climate change, lack of financial support from national governments and diseases and pests, which suppress the output.
At the EACG luncheon, PS Mwakima noted that in order to address challenges within the sector, Kenya’s government has initiated interventions by instituting a Business Environment Programme (BEP) that spearheads government efforts to ensure that policies and institutions are streamlined for optimal service delivery and support business growth in all sectors.
As part of its initiative, the EAGC is already working with Kenya’s Turkana County on structuring the region’s sorghum-cowpeas inter-crop value chain.
The council is optimistic that its efforts, coupled with those of industry stakeholders, will help elevate East Africa’s grain sector.