Trade and agribusiness department
All facts and statistics regarding commodity marketing point to the existence of a huge market opportunity for small scale farmers in the region Though small scale farms produce up to 80% of the food consumed in African countries, much of which does not enter the formal market. This has led to low levels of value addition; weakly developed agriculture market system; influence of international markets and policies thereby destabilizing local value chains e.g. cheap imports of food; cartels in the agriculture sector and lack of reliable data to inform policies and investments.
EAFF, among her core functions, is to facilitate trade through promotion of regional integration and entrepreneurship thus contributing to enhancement of food security, food sovereignty and poverty alleviation. To do so, EAFF nurtures the interests of farmers on issues such as: (i) markets, (ii) productivity, (iii) capacity building and (iv) information.
Trade and agribusiness strategy
EAFF3 embarked on developing a Trade & Agribusiness strategy as a new item to strengthen EAFF and members’ capacity to focus on trade in the region by giving strategic direction on opportunities and challenges related to regional trade in agriculture commodities. The Trade & Agribusiness Strategy is an element of the new EAFF Strategic Plan (SP) 2012 – 2016. It proposes various policy and programme interventions that will facilitate the integration of small scale producers into value chains as active players and regional cross border markets. In accordance to the EAFF’s SP pillar III (Strategic Goal 3) of the SP; "Strengthening small holder farmers as active actors in value chains".
Mission: To spur the development of competitive, entrepreneurial and sustainable agribusinesses in Eastern Africa for increased economic growth and food security.
Goal: To develop sustainable agribusinesses within FOs to create benefit/services to members and to create income streams for FOs in the Eastern Africa Region.
To roll out the strategy, we developed a four-phase implementation plan as follows:
Phase 1: Developing an agribusiness tool-box to assist in decision making; Phase 2: Rolling out the use of these tools through strategic partnerships; Phase 3: Developing necessary in-house capacity (human resources and infrastructure) to implement the agribusiness plan. Phase 4: development of a proof of concept commercial paper and commercialization
So far we have achieved the following –
Phase 1: we have developed the following approaches and tools dubbed agribusiness toolbox – specialization in 5 priority commodities (Maize, Rice, Potato, Cassava and extensive livestock); prepared a 5-year weekly price trend analysis of these commodities (2010-2014); developed a directory for cross border value chain actors of our priority commodities; prepared a farmers manual on structured trade training for grains; prepared media scripts for training on structured trade (8 episodes of audio and written scripts in English, Kiswahili and Buganda); developed charts for the harmonized standards of EAC staples (mainly maize and rice) and have prepared a list of trade documents required for intra-EAC agriculture trade and lastly we put together a concept to develop a virtual aggregation platform complete with a business model and cash flow plan as EAFFs sustainability strategy.
We have thus –through partnership with a financial service provider called MODE (Mobile Decisioning), developed a virtual aggregation platform (warehouse) called the e-Granary that enables us to pull and pool data on farmers by location and commodity but also aggregates the input requirements (and projections) as well as data on harvest or harvest projections. We have also build a data-base of physical warehouses within the regions we are targeting as well as profiles of buyers both of which we are regularly updating.
For more about Trade and agribusiness, kindly find the Strategy document