EAC worried about food security

The Observer. March 11, 2012

cArusha: Increased dependency on the unpredictable world market, adverse impacts of climate change and inadequate food supply chains have been cited as barriers to the East African Community's (EACs) potential to produce enough food to meet the region's demand.

The EAC Secretary General, Dr Richard Sezibera, says the commodity price volatility has further impacted on small-scale farmers, consumers, and investors, leaving them with no immediate solutions.

"The EAC is going out of its way through multi-sectoral approaches to increase knowledge and devise holistic policies on climate change, food security and trade linkages to enhance capacity," Dr Sezibera said in his opening address to a CUTS International meeting at Snow Crest hotel in Arusha, Tanzania late February.

Jean Claude Nsengiyumva, EAC Deputy Secretary General, delivered his keynote address. CUTS International, a research-based NGO working on trade, agriculture, competition and other development-related issues, organised a two-day meeting to launch its new project titled 'Promoting Agriculture-Climate-Trade Linkages in the EAC (PACT EAC).

The project is being funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). Director CUTS International Geneva, Ramamurti Badrinath,outlined the importance of agriculture, which provides livelihoods to 80% of the EAC population.

Yet, about 40% of East Africans are malnourished, according to different reports, a situation that can get worse due to climate change. Badrinath said the PACT EAC project strives to meet this challenge by raising awareness through research, training and multi-stakeholder capacity building.

The Kenyan Minister for the EAC, Musa Sirma, urged the PACT EAC project to generate recommendations for realistic and effective policies as well as build the capacity of stakeholders to implement the policies.

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