Agriculture and Food Security
Enhancing food security and rational agricultural and livestock within the Community through harmonisation of agricultural policies as well as joint programmes for efficient and effective production.
EAC’s Agenda for Agriculture and Food Security
The economies and livelihoods of citizens in East Africa are predominantly dependent on agriculture.
The sector accounts for 25%-40% of EAC Partner States (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and Republic of South Sudan) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is a leading employer for over 80% of the population in the region.
More than 70% of the industries in the EAC are agro-based and depend on agriculture as the main source of raw materials.
Agricultural commodities constitute about 65% of the volume of intra-regional trade in the EAC.
The agricultural sector is dominated by smallholder mixed farming of livestock, food crops, cash crops, fishing and aquaculture. The major food crops are maize, rice, potatoes, bananas, cassava, beans, vegetables, sugar, wheat, sorghum, millet and pulses.
Cash crops include: tea, cotton, coffee, pyrethrum, sugar cane, sisal, horticultural crops, oil-crops, cloves, tobacco, coconut and cashew nuts.
The livestock sub-sector consists of cattle, sheep, goats, and camels, mainly for meat and milk production; pigs and poultry for white meat and eggs respectively; hides and skins for export and industrial processing.
Fisheries products include both fresh water fish from rivers, dams and lakes and marine fish from the Indian Ocean. Forestry products include fruits, honey, herbal medicine, timber and wood for fuel.
Cooperation in agriculture and food security is one of the priorities that feature prominently in the EAC integration process. Chapter 18, Articles 105-110 of the Treaty sets out the overall objectives of the agriculture sector as the achievement of food security and rational agricultural production with a view of promoting complementarity and specialization in the sustainability of national agricultural programs, in order to ensure among other things, food sufficiency within the EAC region.
Cooperation in Agriculture and Rural Development is further underscored in Article 45 of the Common Market Protocol. The work of the Sector is guided by Sectoral Council of Ministers on Agriculture and Food Security (SCAFs).
The EAC Agricultural and Rural Development Policy (EAC-ARDP) was developed as a fundamental step in implementing one of the key objectives of the Treaty, which is to ensure sustainable agricultural development and food security in the EAC region.
Emanating from the EAC-ARDP was the multi-year, multi-sectoral EAC Agriculture and Rural Development Strategy (EAC-ARDS) which provides the roadmap for Partner States and other stakeholders in defining interventions that will lead to achievement of food security in the region.
In 2015, EAC Vision 2050 was launched as the long-term vision for six Partner States and provides architecture of the desired future state for the region. Vision 2050, prioritizes agriculture as the sector that will be the driver of industrial transformation, food security, rural development and economic prosperity in EAC.
EAC Agriculture Sector Projects and Programmes
The EAC Food Security Action Plan (FSAP) was the first instrument adopted by the Summit in 2011 (at the (highest political level) to guide the coordination and implementation of flagship projects and programmes aimed at catalysing agricultural transformation.
The implementation period for the FSAP came to an end in the financial year 2015/16. The process of reviewing the implementation of FSAP was undertaken and the successor EAC Food and Nutrition Strategy and Action Plan (2018-2022) was formulated and approved by the Council of Ministers in 2018.
Over the years, progress made on several fronts include the development of governance instruments for strengthening regional coordination of the sector, enhancing food and nutrition security and safety, and interventions to promote agricultural value chains in the areas of crops, youth employment and livestock and fisheries.
EAC flagship programmes in the agricultural sector
EAC flagship programmes in the agricultural sector are interrelated and interdependent. They include the following: