After 15 months investigating the importance of agricultural trade for food security and poverty reduction in five countries of Eastern and Southern Africa, this research underscores limitations faced in boosting agricultural productivity and ensuring food security, due to physical, legal, economic, social and cultural factors, and outlines how the promotion of regional trade and effective trade facilitation policies can provide effective solutions.
The current publication by CUTS is the outcome of the research conducted during the second phase of Fostering Equity and Accountability in the Trading System (FEATS) Project. The present research flows from the research conducted during the first phase and employs similar methodological approach by actively involving national stakeholders in the project countries: Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia through the respective FEATS National Reference Groups (NRGs). The final publication is the culmination of desktop and field research conducted over a period of 15 months, which were extensively reviewed by the CUTS team and FEATS Project Advisory Committee. The emerging research drafts were also presented at two meetings of the NRGs.
The research focus is broadly on the positive inter-linkages between trade and agricultural development in the five project countries by developing the capacities of the governments to focus on the importance and promotion of the agricultural sector, while providing recommendations tailored to the unique circumstances of each project country.
The research provides an analysis of the importance of the agricultural sector in the economies of the five countries, and demonstrates how trade policies, if directed well, can positively contribute towards agricultural productivity, and increased food security, which are vital for rural livelihoods and poverty reduction.
The research indicates that in spite of flawed macroeconomic and trade policies in the agricultural sector adopted in the past, the governments are now cognisant of the issue and eager to formulate more holistic policies with the participation of a broader group of stakeholders. It also underscores broad limitations that the countries face in boosting agricultural productivity and ensuring food security, due to physical, legal, economic, social and cultural factors, and outlines how the promotion of regional trade and effective trade facilitation policies can provide effective solutions.