M a r k e t N e w s

East Africa: EAC Governments Urged to Support Intra-Regional Trade in Staple Foods

Posted on : Wednesday, 27th July 2016

The East African Community governments have been urged to support intra-regional trade in staple foods of which grain trade makes part. This is to help rise the citizens 'standards of living in the region.

This has been said in a meeting by Directors of Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) on Friday last week to deliberate on the challenges hampering cross border trade in staple foods within the Eastern Africa Region.
"By supporting intra-regional trade in staple foods, it will help to achieve food security to feed the East Africans and the region," the statement read.
The Directors underscored the critical role that trade plays in facilitating movement of food commodities from surplus production areas to deficit areas that offer markets for the producers.
Governments were also recommended to embrace integration and free movement of goods in the region while promoting structured trading systems and should also institute a consultative process with the private sector on policy decision.
Another recommendation was that Non Tariff Measures should not be used as Non Tariff barriers.
"The Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) measures are always put in place by government for the purposes of safeguarding the safety and security of the people, plants and animals. However, these measures are often used to block trade. Therefore there is need for a clear monitoring process to ensure they do not shift and become non-tariff barriers which hamper trade".
The Council noted that despite the existence of the online NTB monitoring mechanism, NTB are still prevalent and is seems not to have achieved the expected results; "There is need to review the initiative with a view of coming up with an effective system".
Directors understood that some regional governments have been taking short term measures to block trade and thereby undoing all efforts made towards long-term solutions.
They cited cases where export permits were cancelled without notice.
"Some of the effects include trucks being impounded and stopped at border points, resulting into very heavy financial losses in transport waiting charges, loss of time, inability to meet contractual obligations and high expenses," the statement revealed.
The council acknowledged that each of the regional countries had different agro-ecological zones and that at any time within the year; crops were being harvested in one country. When one country was harvesting, another was not and therefore there is reason for continuous trade in grains throughout the year.
The Council noted that the East Africa Community recently reported that the intra-regional trade in EAC had grown by 49 per cent in the last five years with an increased interest to liberalize and promote cross-border trade among the member states of the EAC regional bloc; Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda.

Source : allafrica.com
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