Agricultural Markets Food Security Trade Policy at Work

Climate, Food, Trade: Where is the Policy Nexus? – Lessons from the East African Community

This synthesis study compiles the findings of five national research studies in East Africa that aimed at outlining a more coherent policy framework at the interface of climate change, food security and trade.

The East African Community has experienced climate change through the increasing intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, altering agricultural and trade patterns that play a crucial role in ensuring food security for millions of East Africans. This trend shows the complex interrelationship existing between trade, climate change and food security; a three-dimensional relationship that seems to lack coordinated and holistic representation in the various policies addressing these issues. Yet, in the absence of such important policy linkages, coherence and coordination might cause additional large-scale hunger in the region. Harnessing the potential of trade and putting in place appropriate policies to ensure affordable food for millions of people in the face of climate change has therefore become the need of the hour.

This monograph is a synthesis of five country research studies, undertaken by a multi-disciplinary team of experts in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. The studies aimed at filling the current knowledge gaps on this three-dimensional relationship and to provide recommendations for more holistic policy responses to the challenge of climate-related – food insecurity, including through trade. To do so, the authors reviewed existing literature and relevant policies in place that address the three issues before embarking on examination of existing and missing links between food security, trade and climate change, this was complimented with field research carried out through interviews of relevant stakeholders at the grassroots level.

The research studies were undertaken as part of CUTS International, Geneva’s “Promoting Agriculture-Climate-Trade Linkages in the East African Community” (PACT EAC) project. Regular multi-stakeholder meetings with insights from government, farmer, academia, media and civil society representatives in each Member State anchored the project to the ground realities. The studies inform CUTS networking, training and advocacy activities for a holistic approach on the three issues in the region.