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Agriculture & Food Security

EAC and FAO take further step to scale-up support for youth in agribusiness

30 August 2018, Dar es Salaam - The East African Community (EAC) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have reaffirmed their commitment in creating more job opportunities for East African youth in the agriculture sector.

Speaking at a workshop to validate and institutionalize agribusiness best practices in the EAC Partner States, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo, EAC Deputy Secretary General for Productive and Social Sectors, noted that the youth in the region had the potential to boost productivity and strengthen economic growth.

“Engaging the youth in agriculture is increasingly seen as a potential solution to youth unemployment, food insecurity, rural poverty and distress migration, by unlocking the multi-layered prospects around farming, including processing, packaging, transportation, distribution, marketing and financial services,” said Hon. Bazivamo.

It is recalled that the International Youth Conference, held from 20 to 21 August 2018 in Kigali Rwanda, urged the youth in Africa to reverse the often-negative perceptions associated with agriculture and take pride in being farmers. The Conference further encouraged the youth to change the image and conversation around agriculture - "think beyond farm jobs," and to explore employment opportunities across the agri-food chain.

Solutions must be youth-led, youth-focused

Mohamed Aw-Dahir, Senior Programme and Partnership Officer at FAO Subregional Office for Eastern Africa said that investing in young people living in rural areas is key to enhancing agricultural productivity, boosting rural economies and ensuring food security.

He further stressed on the need for developing solutions tailored for the youth. “FAO and EAC are seeking innovative business models and appropriate technologies to engage the largely untapped reservoir of youth in agriculture to accelerate innovative ideas around youth-led and youth-focused entrepreneurship and employment,” said Aw-Dahir.

Over the past 12 months, EAC and FAO have been implementing a catalytic project, which aims at reducing rural poverty and to boost economic growth through supporting the creation of better opportunities for youth in the agricultural sector. One of the key results of the project has been the documentation of successful agribusiness models for youth employment in the agricultural sector and creating platforms for sharing of these “best practices” between various youth groups.

Background:

Youth represent about 45 percent (48 million) of the total population of the East African Community’s (EAC) Partner States. In the next 20 years, this number is expected to grow to about 82 million. If properly harnessed, the youth have the potential to boost productivity, and strengthen inclusive economic growth. Therefore, engaging the youth across the agri-food chain is increasingly seen as a potential solution to youth unemployment, food insecurity, rural poverty and distress migration for EAC.

To this effect, EAC Secretariat and FAO Subregional Office for Eastern Africa have identified and documented best practices and youth agribusiness models across EAC partners States, which were presented and validated at the regional partnership and resource mobilization workshop.

The workshop, held on 28 and 29 August 2018, brought together model agribusiness entrepreneurs and experts from the line Ministries of the EAC Partner States, namely Burundi, Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda and the media. The meeting presented opportunities to forge new partnerships and mobilize resources to scale up youth employment opportunities across the agri-food chain. The outcome of the workshop would inform potential programme design at national and regional levels as well as policies on how best youth unemployment can be addressed through job creation in agriculture and agribusiness, in order to promote decent rural employment in the agriculture sector in the EAC Partner States.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION

Mr. Othieno Richard Owora
Head, Corporate Communication and Public Affairs
Tel: +255 (0)27 216 2100, Ext. 22100
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Edward Ogolla
Communication Consultant (Specialist Advisor)
FAO Subregional Office for Eastern Africa
Tel: +251 (0)116478888, Ext. 116
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mr. Abebe Demissie Banjaw
Communication and Media Consultant
FAO Subregional Office for Eastern Africa
Tel: +251 (0)116478888, Ext. 214
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

EAC Policy Briefs on Aflatoxin Prevention and Control launched in Nairobi

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, 17th August, 2018: A two day Regional Forum to launch the East African Community (EAC) Policy Briefs on Aflatoxin Prevention and Control came to a close on Thursday in Nairobi, Kenya.

The workshop, which was geared towards enhancing levels of awareness on Aflatoxin control and prevention in the EAC region, was organized by EAC in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA). To officiate the launch and representing the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation was Prof. Hamadi Boga, the Principal Secretary (PS) in the State Department of Agriculture Research, Ministry of Agriculture, Kenya.

Prof. Boga hailed the EAC Secretariat for prioritizing aflatoxin prevention and control as one of its flagship projects in the region. He disclosed that that Africa loses up to US$ 670 million annually from lost exports due to aflatoxin contamination.

The PS further said that approximately 40% of food commodities in local markets exceed allowable levels of aflatoxins in foods.

The PS officially launched the 9 sets of policy briefs on Aflatoxin and underscored that they contain key recommendations on strategic policy action and interventions required to mitigate impacts and effects of aflatoxin along the food and feed value chains.

Aflatoxin contamination poses a serious threat to human and animal health, and to the economies of the EAC Partner States. Existing efforts to mitigate aflatoxin at national level have remained fragmented and not adequately supported, technically and financially. The 36th Meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers directed Partner States to mainstream EAC Aflatoxin Prevention and Control Strategy priorities in their national budgets and national agriculture investment plans.

In her remarks, the USAID/Kenya and East Africa Feed the Future Regional Coordinator, Ms. Kathryn Begeal, commended stakeholders for the efforts towards aflatoxin prevention and control.

Ms. Begeal further called on EAC Partner States to make real progress in implementing solutions to aflatoxin contamination such as disseminating information to communities, promoting farmer use of Alfasafe in extension and input packages, and scaling up improved post-harvest handling practices.

Pursuant to the directive of the Council, the EAC regional project on aflatoxin abatement was launched in 2014 with the aim of preventing and controlling adverse impacts of Aflatoxin along the food and feed value chains. The overall goal of this project is to contribute to Food Security and Safety in the EAC and Protect Human, Animal and Plant Health.

A Regional Forum was then established to create awareness and sensitize high level policy makers and other key stakeholders on the necessary policy action and interventions to mitigate impacts and effects of aflatoxin.

Speaking at the meeting, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo, noted that Aflatoxin prevention and control is one of the flagship programmes implemented by the EAC Secretariat.

Hon. Bazivamo said that the overall goal of the programme is to contribute to food and nutrition security as well as to protect human, animal and plant health in EAC from the adverse impacts of aflatoxin along the food and feed value chains.

Participants at the event included government officers from the line Ministries of Agriculture and Livestock in the EAC Partner States as well as academicians, researchers, animal health, food safety and nutrition experts who shared presentations on observations, lessons learned, new technologies, challenges and recommendations with regard to aflatoxin mitigation efforts.

Addressing the closing session of the event on Thursday, Hon. Mathias Kasamba, the Chairperson of the East African Legislative Assembly Committee on Agriculture, Tourism and Natural Resources commended USAID Kenya and East Africa for funding the EAC Aflatoxin Prevention and Control project, the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa, the US Centers for Disease Control, the private sector and other development partners engaged in dealing with the scourge of aflatoxin on the continent.

DOWNLOAD BRIEFS HERE:  https://www.eac.int/documents/category/aflatoxin-prevention-and-control

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For more information, please contact:

Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: +255 784 835021
Email: OOthieno [at] eachq.org

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. 

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001:2008 Certified

Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security directs on Rift Valley Fever outbreak

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 21st June 2018: The 11th meeting of the Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security (SCAFS) that concluded on 15th June 2018 in Arusha, Tanzania, has directed the Secretariat to urgently convene a meeting of the Technical Working Group on Transboundary Animal and Zoonotic Diseases (TADs) to address the issue of Rift Valley Fever outbreak, which has been reported in the region.

The 11th meeting of the Sectoral Council, which was attended by, among others, Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, Uganda’s Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries and Hon. Eng. Dr. Charles John Tizeba, United Republic of Tanzania’s Minister of Agriculture, also directed the Secretariat to include emerging and re-emerging diseases as a permanent agenda item in the subsequent meetings of the Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security.

At least 26 people in two north-eastern counties in Kenya are suspected of having contracted Rift Valley Fever (RVF). By 16 June 2018 seven of these cases were confirmed and six of the people had died according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The outbreak was reported to WHO and OIE, the International Organization for Animal Health. In Rwanda, the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources confirmed cases of RVF among cattle after samples were tested at the Rwanda Agriculture Board Laboratory. South Sudan reported an outbreak of RVF in March and is reported to be containing the situation.

The East African Community (EAC) Secretariat is closely monitoring the outbreaks and is urging the Partner States that are not yet affected by RVF to step up surveillance to detect any spread of the disease to their territories at an early stage and to inform the public about the risk and about preventive measures.

The affected areas in Kenya include the counties of Wajir and Tana River on the border to Somalia and in Rwanda the districts of Kayonza, Kirehe and Ngoma. Kirehe borders Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda causing a risk for the cross-border spread of RVF.

RVF is a virus disease that is transmitted by infected mosquitos. This year’s heavy rainfall has resulted in widespread flooding in low-lying grasslands. Flooding and standing water enabled a higher number of mosquito eggs than usual to hatch and thus increased the potential for RVF to spread among people and animals. The RVF virus is endemic in the EAC region and has caused repeated outbreaks in the past. It affects primarily ruminant livestock, such as cattle, sheep, goats and camels, and also wildlife, such as buffalos. In these animals it causes abortions and deaths and significant economic loss.

The RVF virus can also affect humans. Most infections are mild, but some people fall severely ill and even die with symptoms such as fever, weakness and bleeding from gums and mouth. The majority of human infections result from direct or indirect contact with the blood, body fluids, or tissues of infected animals. This can happen during slaughtering or butchering, while assisting with animal births, treating the animals and from contact with disposed carcasses or foetuses. Human-to-human transmission of RVF has not been documented.

The EAC Partner States of Kenya and Rwanda have increased their surveillance and put measures in place to stop the disease from spreading further. These measures include cost-free vaccination, restrictions in the movement of animals, bans on slaughtering animals for public consumption and trade bans as well as awareness raising campaigns among the public and especially among herders and small holders. They are advised to immediately report any domestic ruminant that show signs and symptoms of RVF.

Against this backdrop and to supplement the efforts of the Partner States in combating RVF in the Community, the EAC Secretariat urges the owners of livestock, people working with wildlife and citizens in the region to be alert and comply with the following precautionary measures:

  1. Livestock farmers should contact the Veterinary Services Authorities in the respective Partner States for information on vaccinating their animals against RVF and restrict animal movement to limit the spread of RVF;
  2. People in contact with ruminants should practice hand hygiene, wear gloves and other appropriate individual protective equipment when handling sick animals or their tissues or when slaughtering animals;
  3. People should avoid consuming fresh blood, raw milk or animal tissue and products without thoroughly roasting them; and
  4. They should protect themselves against mosquito bites through the use of impregnated mosquito nets, personal insect repellents - if available, light coloured clothing (long-sleeved shirts and trousers) - and by avoiding outdoor activities at peak biting times of mosquitos.

 

-ENDS-

For more information, please contact:

Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: +255 784 835021
Email: OOthieno [at] eachq.org

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. 

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001:2008 Certified

Arusha Hosts EAC High Level Forum on Inaugural Biennial Review Report of Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Recognition of the Best Youth Agripreneurs

 East African Community Secretariat, Arusha, Tanzania, 20th June, 2018: The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Republic of Uganda and the current Chair of the EAC Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security, Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, has called upon EAC Partner States to strengthen the linkages between Biennial Review (BR) process and the National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPs).

In his remarks during the opening session of a High Level Forum on Inaugural Biennial Review Report of the Malabo Declaration and Recognition of the Best Youth Agripreneurs held on 16th June 2018 at the Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha, Tanzania, the Minister emphasized that NAIPs are the main vehicles for implementation of Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared prosperity and Improved Livelihoods adopted by African Union Heads of State in 2014.

Hon. Ssempijja appealed to Partner States to support implementation of NAIPs at a pace that is fast enough to bring about the desired change. The Minister further urged Partner States to fully embrace and institutionalize Joint Sector Review as a key mechanism for ensuring inclusive, efficient and effective delivery of the Malabo mutual accountability commitment.  The Minister paid tribute to the Republic of Rwanda for emerging as the best performing country in implementing the seven (7) commitments under Malabo Declaration in the Inaugural Biennial Report presented to the AU General Assembly in January 2018. 

The Minister acknowledged that promoting youth employment in agriculture is a top priority under Malabo Declaration Commitment 4 which focuses on halving poverty by the year 2025. The key targets under this include creating job opportunities for at least 30% of the youth in agricultural value chains and supporting and facilitating preferential entry and participation for women and youth in gainful and attractive agri-business opportunities.

Addressing the Forum, EAC Deputy Secretary General in-charge of Productive and Social Sectors, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo, urged Partner States to take the Biennial Review process as an important mutual accountability yard stick for tracking progress, informing and influencing evidence-based agricultural planning and investment decisions.

Dr Chimimba David Phiri, Sub-regional Coordinator for Eastern Africa (FAO-SFE) and FAO Representative to the African Union and UNECA, mentioned that the agricultural sector provides untapped potential to boost the creativity, energy, innovation and entrepreneurship of the youth, create decent employment opportunities and wealth, and curb youth distress migration. He reiterated that boosting youth employment in agricultural value chains is a low hanging fruit for harvesting sustainable development, food security, and rural poverty reduction.

The main focus of the Forum was to discuss EAC Partner States CAADP Biennial Report 2018 key findings and recommendations; to define priority actions towards operationalizing recommendations in the Biennial Report in order to improve EAC Partner States performance in reporting; and to recognize and award prizes to the Best Youth Agripreneurs in the EAC. A report on EAC-FAO project on promoting Youth Employment in the Agricultural Sector was presented. The climax of the Forum was award of financial grants and certificates to the  6 Best Youth agripreneurs in the EAC with  outstanding models in agribusiness that have contributed to food and nutrition security, wealth creation and employment.

The Forum was jointly oraganized by the EAC Secretariat, African Union Commission and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on the margins of the 11thSectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security. In attendance at the Forum were Permanent/Principal Secretaries responsible for agriculture from the Republic of Kenya, Republic of Rwanda and Republic of Kenya, Directors from agriculture sector Ministries and institutions, the African Union Commission, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), CAADP Focal points, Continental and Regional Stakeholders and Development Partners engaged in the CAADP process. 
 
NOTES TO EDITORS:
 
The East African Community has embraced the CAADP agenda and placed agriculture as the engine of social and economic growth in the integration process.  The EAC commitment to domestication of the CAADP process is demonstrated by the adoption of the EAC CAADP compact as well as progress made in the development of the EAC Regional Agriculture Investment Plan.  EAC CAADP instruments are aligned to the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation adopted by the African Heads of State in June 2014. Among other commitments, African Heads of State committed to Mutual Accountability to Results and Actionsby conducting a Biennial Agricultural Review process that involves tracking, monitoring and reporting on implementation progress in achieving provisions of Malabo Declaration. The Biennial Report is an innovative mechanism for capturing progress, achievements as well as challenges that need to be addressed to drive agricultural transformation towards realization of Malabo Declaration goals and targets.  
 
​Remarkable progress has been made in the implementation of the EAC-FAO project on “Promoting Youth Employment in Agriculture”.  The process of documenting and validating Best youth agri-business models has been successfully undertaken in the EAC Partner States.  Youth Champions in Agriculture who were identified during the aforementioned documentation exercise were facilitated to participate in a hands-on training at Songhai Center in Porto Novo, Benin from 2ndto 29th May, 2018.  The final top 6 youth champions (one per Partner State) were awarded prizes during the High Level Forum.  
 

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For more information, please contact:

Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: +255 784 835021
Email: OOthieno [at] eachq.org

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. 

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001:2008 Certified

11th Meeting of the Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security is taking place in Arusha, Tanzania

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 11th June 2018:

The 11th meeting of the Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security (SCAFS) is taking place from 11th to 16th June 2018 at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. The SCAFS will review the progress made in the sector in implementing Council decisions and consider other issues of regional importance in the areas of Agriculture and Food Security.

The Sectoral Council will be held through the session of Senior Officials from 11th to 13th   June, 2018; Session of Permanent/Principal /Under Secretaries on 14th June; and concludes with the Ministerial Session on 15th June 2018.

Since the last meeting of the Sectoral Council held in June 2017, several activities have taken place in implementing various projects and programmes under the sector. The 11th meeting of the Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security (SCAFS) will consider the following items, among others:-

  • Progress Report on EAC Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) process;
  • EAC Regional Project on Aflatoxin Prevention and Control;
  • Status of implementation of EAC Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Protocol;
  • Harmonization of Farm Inputs;
  • EAC Food and Nutrition Security Strategy and Action Plan;
  • Challenges and Opportunities in Rice Value Chain;
  • EAC-FAO Project on Promoting Youth Employment in the Agricultural Sector;
  • Status of Livestock and Fisheries Development; and
  • Resource Mobilization and Partnerships.

Meanwhile, a High Level Forum on the Inaugural Biennial Report on the Implementation of the June 2014 AU Heads of State Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared prosperity and Improved Livelihoods is scheduled to take place on 16th June, 2018, at the Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha, Tanzania. At that Forum, the Best Youth Agripreneurs in the EAC will be recognized and awarded.

The Secretariat in collaboration with FAO embarked on a programme to promote youth employment in agriculture through the technical cooperation project dubbed: Promoting Youth Employment in the Agricultural Sector in East Africa. In the month of May 2018, the Secretariat with support from FAO sent 18 youth from six Partner States to Songhai Centre in Benin for a one month’s apprenticeship intended to build their agribusiness knowledge and practical skills in various agro-enterprises. The initiative has demonstrated that when youth are equipped with the right knowledge and skills, they are likely to operate successful agribusinesses.

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For more information, please contact:

Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: +255 784 835021
Email: OOthieno [at] eachq.org

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. 

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001:2008 Certified


East African Community
EAC Close
Afrika Mashariki Road
P.O. Box 1096
Arusha
United Republic of Tanzania

Tel: +255 (0)27 216 2100
Fax: +255 (0)27 216 2190
Email: eac@eachq.org