Efforts are underway to develop a regional food action plan, a senior official of the East African Community (EAC) has said.
Speaking at an agriculture and food security meeting in Arusha on Wednesday, the EAC Deputy Secretary General (Productive sectors), Jean Claude Nsengiyumva, said that the move is aimed at controlling global financial challenges facing the region.
Agriculture minister Agnes Kalibata, who was one of the delegates at the meeting, said that once developed, the action plan will improve and facilitate trade among EAC partner states as well as increasing access to food among those countries.
“This will enhance sharing of resources among all countries in the region. This means a partner state with more food will now be able to share it with her neighbors,” Kalibata said in an interview yesterday.
Officials at the meeting who included Agriculture ministers from EAC partner states unanimously observed that the implementation of the recently signed Common Market protocol will not be achieved if the people of the region “are hungry and not able to feed themselves”.
“Let’s be reminded that the freedoms of the Common Market, be it movement of persons, capital, labour, and all services, will only be achieved if the major contributor of the economies of the EAC partner states is achieved that is agriculture and food security,” said Stephen Wasira, Tanzania’s Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives.
The ministers urged partner states to increase their budget allocation to the agriculture sector to the level proposed under CAADP (Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme) Maputo Declaration (of at least 10% of the national budget) as part of the overall implementation of EAC’s agriculture and rural development policy and strategy.
They further agreed to a draft action plan for the implementation of an EAC Summit directive to hold a special Food Security and Climate Change summit.
The summit is expected to take place next year.