The EAC is currently embarking on developing its new Private Sector Development Strategy (PSDS), which would aim to create a conducive business environment that facilitates private sector competitiveness for increased investment, productivity and trade.
The purpose of the NRG (National reference Group) members held at Lemigo Hotel on 27th June 2019 was to anticipate this upcoming process, and prepare a comprehensive position paper for advocacy, which embraces most of the concerns and challenges to be addressed for the further growth, expansion and competitiveness of our private sector within East African Community and beyond.
The stakeholders’ position paper is submitted to MINAFFET (in charge of EAC Affairs) and aims to inform the development of the EAC PSDS 2018-2022, by recommending the inclusion of relevant provisions and priority actions on issues related to agro-processing development.
The position paper provides recommendations on general provisions and specific ones related to Climate, trade and food security enhancing agroprocessing.
Recommended general provisions
1. Ensuring specific interventions in agroprocessing: This should include formulating and implementing specific policies, strategies, programs and initiatives on agro-processing.
2. Promoting value addition in primary products: This should include the formulation of relevant policies and specific strategies to encourage value addition. Again the region should consider developing incentives for value addition.
3. Promotion of national and regional agro-processors platforms through the promotion of synergies among the agro-processors in the respective Partner States within the EAC region.
4. Supporting relevant SMEs engaged in agroprocessing by improving incentives, infrastructure and technology to emerging SMEs in agro processing.
5. Strengthening value and supply chains for agroprocessing units by including specific measures that will build and improve supply chains of local raw materials as well as imported ones for agro-processing units.
6. Promoting incentives for made in EAC products by providing relevant incentives, including the encouragement of local consumption through the “Buy East Africa Build East Africa – BEABEA”.
7. Ensuring specific initiatives and incentives for the consumption of EAC products through initiatives that reduce the production costs of locally agro-processed products that can be accessible to the majority of the poor population with a low purchasing power.
8. Setting time frames for specific interventions in agro processing, ensuring that some of the specific interventions are given timeframes for focused follow up in the implementation process.
9. Including clear Mechanisms for mobilization of resources for the implementation of the EAC PSDS
10. Access to finance (funds): There is a need to develop funding facilities for small scale farmers and to promote linkages between them and the financial institutions covered by a specific insurance allowing the sharing of risks in agriculture and agro processing.
11. Education: Too many young people graduating from more and more institutes and universities in EAC, but most of them don’t meet the requirements of the agro processing development work force. There is a need to review the existing curricula and adapt them to the need of the private sector in terms of skills and qualified work force development
11. Set up a national and regional structure of coordination and Monitoring for the follow-up of the PSDS elaboration and implementation.
Recommended Climate-related provisions/ Priority Actions
1. Expediting implementation of relevant policies, strategies and initiatives addressing climate change issues
2. Building relevant synergies between climate change, trade, food security and agro-processing
3. Consideration of climate related aspects among crosscutting issues for private sector operations.
4. Enhancing efforts to combat industrial pollution and find affordable ways of meeting waste treatment obligations and continued promotion of cleaner production
5. Promotion of environmental friendly agricultural inputs by promoting substitution of environmentally – degrading agricultural inputs and practices with more sustainable methods.
6. Promoting the use of environmental friendly fertilizers to reduce Synthetic Fertilizers and Pesticides by Scaling Up Agro-ecology.
7. Enhanced inclusion of the Private Sector in Climate change mitigation and adaptation programs, with regular assessment of the potential effect of climate change on their activities
8. Strengthening Public Private Partnerships (PPP) by encouraging Public Private Partnerships (PPP) that integrate low carbon development in their project activities and prioritise green investment by the private sector in the promotion and production of clean and renewable energy
Recommended Trade-related provisions/ Priority Actions
1. Expediting the removal of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs)
2. Harmonization of regional Standards and strengthening the performance of exports through the implementation of the EAC Export Promotion Strategy.
3. Ensuring environmental friendly packaging and Eco friendly packaging in cross border trade transactions.
4. Embracing regional certification: To facilitate Certification and standards of made in EAC products.
5. Ensuring incentives for regional agro-processors: To help the national /regional agro-processing units grow most especially due to the fact that many are SMEs.
6. Promoting the use of modern technologies: To develop capacities of national and regional firms in e-commerce and digital agro business.
7. Ensuring security of business transactions and investments: Need of specific provisions addressing security concerns and hindrance of the free movement of people, goods and services. Also, there is a need for specific measures to monitor the respect of signed treaties about the free movement of people, goods and services.
Recommended Food Security-related provisions/ Priority Actions
1. Promoting value addition on food commodities through Reduction of post-harvest losses; Enhancing incomes and creation of employment along the food chain from production to marketing; and Improving the quality and safety of foods through appropriate certification, traceability systems and harmonization of standards, thus improving access to markets.
2. Ensuring supply of raw materials: Relevant interventions and initiatives should focus on both quantity and quality. This should be about ensuring availability and affordability of quality seeds, good supply of fertilizers, proper irrigation and appropriate post-harvest handling and storage to reduce losses.
3. Linking farmers to markets: Boosting agricultural production through linking farmers to value addition units and big consumers.
4. Enhance research and development (R&D) in the area of agriculture: There is a need to enhance research and development (R&D) in the area of agriculture because this will make it possible to integrate agro-ecological practices and biodiversity protection into commercial agriculture.
5. Improving post handling facilities: This is very important because, increasing the post-harvest facilities in rural areas helps in the efforts to reduce the post-harvest losses.
6. Consideration of regional stockholdings: This is very important because the Regional Strategic stock holdings will help much in building in a sustainable manner, the main regional value chains.