Govt to formalize polices on intra-regional trade

 By Judith Akolo

The government is in the process of formalising policies on intra-regional trade in food commodities.

EAC Integration Principal Secretary Betty Maina says this will enhance economic growth, food security and prosperity for the entire East Africa Community region.

The East Africa Grain Council (EAGC) has appealed to the member states to develop policies that aid in removing trade barriers in food and grain.

The prevalence of trade barriers in the EAC region has pushed trade from formal, well-regulated channels to informal, un-regulated and inefficient channels translating to higher food safety risks, lower quality, high post-harvest losses, higher transaction costs and ultimately higher consumer prices.

As a result, 10 million East Africans are on the verge of hunger.

According to EAC Integration Principal Secretary Betty Maina, the ongoing development of an SPS legislation to operationalise the SPS Protocol, as well as development of the second EAC Food Security Action Plan are some of the additional measures being undertaken to enhance trade in agricultural produce.

With EAC recognized as the most integrated Regional Economic Community in Africa by the Africa Regional Integration Index, the PS has called on EAGC to seize the opportunity and promote intra-regional trade in food commodities.

According to EAGC, Maize prices in Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda have been largely higher than prices in Kenya, despite Kenya’s position as a net importer of maize in the region.