Kenya banks on inter-regional trade to meet food deficit

Kenya is banking on inter-regional agro-based trade to meet the outstanding 2 million metric tons of wheat, 600,000 metric tons of rice and up to 500,000 metric ton of maize deficit.

According to the Principal Secretary, East African Community and Regional Development, Dr Margaret Mwakima, Uganda and Tanzania, are producing the agricultural produce in surplus and it will be prudent if Kenya will import from them annually to bridge the gap of food security by the year 2022.

Grain production within the East African region increased by 50 per cent in the period between 2007 and 2016.

Uganda and Tanzania registered notable amounts of the region’s staple food commodities measured in surplus.

On the contrary, Kenya has continued to record a considerable deficit in staple food production for a range of reasons such as climate change and pesticides.

According to Dr Mwakima, inter-regional trade in agricultural commodities will be the ultimate solution to cover the deficit whilst boosting the food security agenda of the government in the next three years.

The PS says that for Kenya to compete with its neighbours in green business the government has instituted a business environment program that will ensure policies are streamlined.

Speaking during Regional Grain Stakeholder Forum, AGM, the Chairman of the East Africa Grain Council said, the council has formulated strategies that are geared towards improving green business investment for the member stated so as to eliminate the burden of overdependence among member states.

The agricultural sector contributes approximately 30 per cent of the country’s GDP annually and creates jobs for the populations at the rate of 65-85 per cent.

In June 2014, the African Union Summit adopted the MALABO declaration which gave renewed legitimacy and mandate to Comprehensive Africa Development program that was adopted by the member states.

Under the policy framework, the parties committed to enhance investment finance in agriculture to 10 % and to boost inter African trade in agricultural commodities and service.



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