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Tackle grain prices jointly, nations told

By Patrick Beja | October 9th 2021

Stakeholders in the grain sector from 11 African countries have called for collaboration to revitalise resilience in the value chain amid drought and other disruptions in countries such as Kenya.

Speaking during the 9th edition of the African Grain Trade Summit in Kwale yesterday, the stakeholders said market access barriers, different policies and tax regimes, poor infrastructure, post-harvest losses and aflatoxins are some of the challenges that must be addressed.

East African Community (EAC) Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed said there is need for harmonised policies and taxes among countries in the region so as to lower grain prices.

“There need for countries in the region to harmonise policies to reduce the cost of grain so as to address trade barriers such as market access and taxation,” he said.

The week-long summit was organised by the Nairobi-based Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC), Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Grain Bulk Handlers, Grain Industries Capital Reef, Food Trade Coalition in Africa, Igrain and EfKen Leasing.

The brought together delegates from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Zambia, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia.

Mohamed said apart from the biting drought, Kenya is unable to produce enough grain due to fragmented parcels of land.

He added that the government is adopting other measures such as large scale irrigation to ensure food security.

“The government is thinking of large irrigation projects to mitigate against drought. The government is working with the private sector to explore different ways to ensure food security and lower the cost of food,” he said.

EAGC Executive Director Gerald Masila said the summit provided an opportunity for stakeholders to build sustainable food systems and ensure recovery of the sector after facing major disruptions such as Covid-19.

He called for effective governance systems at the national and international level, evidence-based and well-targeted policies and research and development to enhance productivity.

“The summit presents an opportune moment to reflect and rightfully refocus our interventions onto getting our food systems running against all odds and disruptions,” he said.

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