African states have been urged to invest in market information systems to assist farmers’ access ready markets for their produce.
Delegates at the COMESA trade consultative meeting note that African countries have been spending huge amounts of money in importing food which is regionally available at a cheaper price.
COMESA global trade currently stands at 236 billion US dollars with COMESA intra trade contributing a paltry 8 billion dollars to the figure, which is only about 7 percent.
Trade stakeholders attribute the poor intra African trade to little market information and data collection on goods and services available in COMESA member states.
Agriculture constitutes a large percentage of African imports even though most of the imported food stuffs can be acquired regionally at a cheaper price.
Delegates urged African countries to come up with a uniform quality standardization model to ease the flow of goods across COMESA member states.
Concern has also been raised over tax regimes in the COMESA block where some countries are yet to fully comply with agreements that seek to minimize trade barriers.
Local farmers have been advised to form groups for easy market access.