As part of a rapid response to food insecurity in the region, the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has agreed on a strategy aimed at boosting food production in the region.
During one of their sessions held in Kampala, Uganda on Wednesday, regional lawmakers observed that resources are underutilized because of low productivity of labour, land and water.
They particularly recommended that food commodities and products be given priority by ensuring that the majority of East Africans whose main pre-occupation is food production, become the leading beneficiaries of the signed Common Market Protocol.
Since the Common Market Protocol emphasizes free movement of persons and goods, the lawmakers also find Non-tariff barriers a huge obstacle as they hinder the transfer of food from surplus food production zones to areas with deficits.
“There should not be export bans on food commodities and products intended for consumption within the EAC region,” a statement quotes them as saying.
The strategy, the legislators requested, should take into account the relationship among land use and ownership, access to capital and increased agricultural production and that necessary agrarian reform should be undertaken.
MP Safina Tsungu Kwekwe (Kenya) urged partner states not to focus only on investing heavily on highway infrastructures, but also on rural feeder roads that bear direct impact on populations.
World Food Program Country Representative in Rwanda, Abdlouye Balde, argues that unlike Rwanda which has not got an emergency treatment in terms of food aid, some other countries are still faced by hard hitting drought.
“Much as engaging in mechanized farming is important, we should look more at how our people can be educated on issues like land consolidation which is working well in Rwanda,” he said in an interview with The New Times yesterday.
The development also comes at a time when EAC Heads of State summit are planning to meet next month in Arusha, Tanzania to discuss food security and the impact of climate change in the region.
“The region is faced with serious food shortage and hence there is an urgent need by both the public and private actors to work together,” Jean Claude Nsengiyumva, the EAC Deputy Secretary General (Productive and Social Sectors) said recently.