“Our partnership with Agribusiness Congress East Africa, Agritech Expo Zambia and Farm-Tech Expo Kenya helps to bring together strategic players in the agribusiness sector from across Africa” says George Magai, Director Trade and Markets at the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa – Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa. COMESA-ACTESA have entered into a five-year partnership with all the agri events organised by Spintelligent, including the upcoming Agribusiness Congress East Africa in Uganda as well as the Agritech Expo Zambia and Farm-Tech Expo Kenya that are taking place in 2018.
At the Agribusiness Congress East Africa, taking place from 29-30 November at the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) in Namulonge, Mr Magai is chairing the opening session which will include the ministerial address by the Hon. Ssempijja Vincent Bamulangaki, Uganda’s Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry & Fisheries. He will also chair the roundtable session on “Creating a commodity market and the diversification of farming in the region.”
Apart from the high-level conference featuring expert speakers, the event will this year also feature more than 45 exhibitors, free training workshops and agronomy consultations, roundtable discussions as well as live demonstrations and crop trials.
COMESA’s Horticulture Innovation Lab Regional Centre
According to Mr Magai, an exciting project currently underway is the “Horticulture Innovation Lab Regional Centre initiative that is being undertaken by COMESA through its specialized agency, the Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) in collaboration with AGRISMART Africa and the Rutger University (USA) to establish the Regional Horticulture Innovation Lab Centres for Africa, located in Eastern, Western and Southern Africa.”
He explains: “the Regional Centre’s vision is to become the Horticulture Innovation Labs Regional Centres open to conduct trainings as well as introduce and demonstrate technologies which will increase organic agriculture in the region. This will be accomplished through conducting applied research from production through postharvest handling, product development to reduce poverty, improve health. Emphasis will be placed on nutrition and environmental and economic sustainability for smallholder farmers especially youth and women through profitable current horticultural methods using eco-friendly agriculture inputs which will replace hazardous chemical agents to farm friendly microbes.These eco-friendly bio-organic solutions increase an appreciable enhancement in healthy soil bacteria available for plant nutrient conversion.”
Agri in East Africa
Smallholder agriculture continues to play a key role in African agriculture says the COMESA-ACTESA Director Trade and Markets. He adds: “in East Africa, countries have agriculture-based economies, where smallholder farming accounts for about 75 percent of agricultural production and over 75 percent of employment. However, contributions of smallholder farming, and agriculture in general, have remained limited. Growth has been driven by services, in particular trade.”
His vision for the industry is “to see robust and more efficiently structured trade and marketing opportunities realised between African countries. There is a critical need to improve intra-regional trade in the COMESA region.”
Mr Magai’s message at Agribusiness Congress East Africa later this month will be that “the agriculture sector in the sub-region is undergoing a slow recovery from several decades of misplaced policies. There is a need to harmonise our policies so as to improve intra-regional trade and thereby create a better environment for trade and regional markets.”
To read the full interview with George Magai, go to http://www.agri-eastafrica.com/COMESA-interview
Industry and sector support
Other leading agricultural and economic partners of Agribusiness Congress East Africa include: Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), The Grain Council of Uganda (TGCU), Agricultural Council of Tanzania (ACT), Eastern Africa Farmers Federation, Eastern African Grain Council, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), SA Capital Equipment Export Council (SAEEC), National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) and VECO East Africa.
More than a thousand agri professionals are expected to attend Agribusiness Congress East Africa from 29-30 November – entrance to the expo is free.
As in previous years, the technology and services industry in the sector has come out in huge support of the event and with the expo this year, they have even more opportunities to showcase their offerings. Leading farming equipment suppliers John Deere and Mascor as well as Heartland Global are platinum sponsors at Agribusiness Congress East Africa while Case, Engsol, Tafe and Toyota are gold sponsors.
Agribusiness Congress East Africa is organised by Spintelligent, a well-known trade conference and expo organiser on the continent, with particular expertise and experience in energy, infrastructure development and agricultural events; including the long-running flagship shows such as Agritech Expo Zambia, Farm-Tech Expo Kenya, Future Energy East Africa, Future Energy Uganda, Kenya Mining Forum and African Utility Week in Cape Town.
Agribusiness Congress East Africa dates and venue:
Conference and expo: 29-30 November 2017
Venue: National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI), Gayaza Road Namulonge, Kampala, Uganda
Pre-event press conference:
Date: Thursday, 23 November, 10h00
Venue: NAADS (National Agricultural Advisory Services) Secretariat boardroom, Legacy Towers, Nakasero