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Livestock Development

The livestock sub-sector has a central role in building the economies and livelihoods of East African citizens as evidenced by the high and increasing demand for livestock and livestock products. However, the sub-sector is faced with many challenges.

Existing policies and regulatory frameworks are often restrictive and act as barriers to market participation of producers and traders. In order to spur sustainable development of the livestock sub-sector a number of key instruments have been developed and adopted by EAC Policy Organs.

Key achievements under the Livestock development programme include the following;

EAC Livestock Policy

The Council of Ministers adopted the EAC Livestock Policy in 2016. It focuses on coherent set of strategic decisions and actions for enhancing growth in livestock productivity and competitiveness.

The policy envisions a “vibrant livestock industry contributing significantly to improved living standards of EAC citizens, economic growth and sustainable natural resources management by 2025.”

Harmonization of Registration of Veterinary Vaccines

In an effort to ease access to and use of safe and quality vaccines for control of animal diseases, the EAC Council of Ministers adopted a Mutual Recognition Procedure (MRP) for registration of vaccines for the management of animal diseases in 2014. The MRP harmonised registration system allows licenses or market authorizations (MAs) issued in one partner state to be recognized by other partner states, hence reducing the time and cost of processing multiple licenses (market authorizations) within the Community. This will also reduce duplication of dossier assessments and allowing the rapid introduction of good quality immunological products into more markets at less cost.

A Technical Working Groups (TWG) and Coordination Group for Mutual Recognition (CGMR) developed a number of documentations to facilitate Marketing Authorisations of immunological veterinary products using the mutual recognition procedures. The documents which are regularly updated by the Technical Working Groups can be accessed on here:  Mutual Recognition Procedure (MRP) for registration of vaccines for the management of animal diseases.

A total of 7 products have been registered under the EAC MRP mechanism and additional 10 at various stages of evaluation and registration. The Global Alliance for Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed) has supported the MRP initiative since inception.


Mutual Recognition Agreement among Veterinary Professionals

Mutual Recognition Agreement among Veterinary Professionals in the EAC has been adopted by the Council of Ministers.

The Agreement will promote increased availability of veterinary services across the region; spread best practice in regulation and raise standards of qualification, which would help to support the development of the livestock sub sector.


The EAC Veterinary Governance in Africa (VETGOV)

The project has been implemented with financial and technical support from the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR). It has been dedicated to strengthening regional institutions to play their roles of coordination, harmonization, and integration with the aim to stimulate a more conducive environment for public and private investments in the livestock sector.

Under this project, National Livestock Policy hubs have been formed in all the EAC Partner States to stimulate a more conducive policy and institutional environment for public and private investments in the livestock sector.

The Action for Enhancing Resilience of Pastoralists in the EAC

The socio-economic importance of pastoralism in East Africa cannot be overstated. Over 90% of cattle pastoral and agro-pastoral communities’ own sheep and goats in East Africa.

Pastoralism creates employment, generates revenue and contributes significantly to the high and increasing demand for livestock and livestock products in the national and international markets. However, the contribution of pastoralism to economic development is underestimated and often missed in national and regional accounting systems. A Plan of Action for Enhancing Resilience of Pastoralists in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands in the EAC was adopted by the 31st Council of Ministers.

Memorandum of Understanding on Joint Cross-Border Cooperation in the Prevention and Control of transboundary animal diseases (TADs) and zoonoses

The East African Community (EAC) Region experiences a high prevalence of TADs and zoonoses many of which are endemic to the region and constitute a major constraint to livestock production and productivity. The diseases adversely impact animal health, public health, food and nutrition security, wildlife conservation as well as tourism and trade in livestock and livestock products.

Effective prevention and control of transboundary animal diseases and zoonoses requires cooperation/ collaboration of the EAC Partner States in tackling the common biosecurity threats along the shared borders.

The Kenya-Tanzania border is very rich in transboundary biodiversity and natural resources including abundant wildlife populations, which are a major tourist attraction. Seasonal cross-border migration of wild animals plays a significant role in the epidemiology of many TADs in the two Partner States. Cross-border movement of people, livestock and livestock products and the open wildlife ecosystem constitutes a major biosecurity threat.

With financial assistance from USAID Kenya and East Africa, the EAC Secretariat facilitated development and signing of a joint MOU between the Republic of Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania (URT) on Joint Cross-Border Cooperation in the Prevention and Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases and Zoonoses. The MOU was signed in December 2021. An Action Plan has been developed to facilitate implementation of joint interventions agreed upon.

Promoting Youth Employment in Agriculture

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.

In responding to this commitment, remarkable progress has been made in the implementation of the EAC-FAO project on “Promoting Youth Employment in Agriculture”. The youth constitute the largest segment of the population in the EAC. However, they face many challenges that impede their optimal participation in agriculture initiatives.

The aim of the project is to reduce rural poverty and boost economic growth through supporting the creation of better opportunities for youth in the agricultural sector.

Since inception of the project in June 2017, important milestones have been achieved.


  1. A modus operandi for the documentation exercise of Best Youth Agribusiness Models was developed and selection criteria and parameter for documenting youth agribusiness models defined.
  1. A total of 18 EAC Youth Champions in Agriculture were identified during the documentation exercise and supported to participate in a hands-on Incubation Training in Agribusiness and Sustainable Agro-ecological Practices at Songhai Center in Porto Novo, Benin, from 2nd to 29th May 2018. The outstanding top 6 youth champions (one per Partner State) were recognized and awarded prizes on the margins of the 11th Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security. A total sum of US$ 55,000 was awarded in grants.
  1. A comprehensive synthesis report on Best Youth Agribusiness Models in the EAC was consolidated. The report provides detailed information to Governments and Development Partners on identified models to replicate, adapt, and upscale in line with promoting youth employment in agriculture.
  1. Taking cognizance of the project outputs and achievements, four program areas have been identified for potential joint resource mobilization in upscaling and sustaining implementation of the project on promoting youth employment in the agriculture sector. They include the following;
  • Program Area I: Setting-up of a regional database/web-portal and clearing house mechanism for Youth-in-Agriculture;
  • Program Area II: Establishing youth facility/centre to provide specialized training in agriculture value chains;
  • Program Area III: Establishing a Youth-2-Youth matching grants facility to scale-up support for youth in agriculture; and
  • Program Area IV: Award recognition scheme to mobilize and support youth champions in agricultural Development.

Agricultural Inputs System Development

One of the factors contributing to low agricultural production and productivity in the EAC is inadequate access to appropriate technologies and farm inputs. EAC is implementing the Agricultural Inputs System Development Programme,  aims at facilitating harmonization of agricultural inputs policies and regulations, including seeds, fertilizers and pesticides to enhance agricultural productivity, food and nutrition security and intra-regional trade.

EAC Seed Harmonization Initiative

Seed is a critical input for agriculture and is a key pathway to delivering agricultural innovations to farmers. The seed industry is crucial for realizing agricultural transformation and competitiveness in the EAC region.

The inherent weaknesses in seed delivery pathways limit farmers’ access to improved varieties and seeds thus limiting the impact of increasing agricultural productivity. Addressing seed system constraints at national and regional levels is expected to improve the delivery of improved varieties and seeds thereby contributing to improving agricultural productivity, ensuring food security and improving the livelihoods of the rural poor.

The EAC seed harmonization initiative has been supported by both USAID and AGRA. The goal is to improve regional availability of seeds and planting materials through creation of an enabling and facilitative environment. The envisaged benefits from harmonization and enforcement of appropriate legislative and regulatory framework on seed is enhanced accessibility to quality seeds, facilitation of inter and intra-regional trade, and enabling expansion of market opportunities for seed traders, reduced transaction costs and contribution towards agricultural productivity in the EAC Partner States.


The EAC Seed and Plant Varieties Bill was adopted by SCAFs in December 2018 and has already been cleared the Sectoral Council on Legal and Judicial Affairs. Next steps will entail approval by the Council and enactment into law by the East African Legislative Assembly. The scope of the Bill applies to coordination, release and registration of plant varieties between Partner States; common processes for seed certification and protection of plant varieties within the Community and other related matters. Robust administrative arrangements have been spelt out to ensure enhanced coordination and cooperation among Partner States.

The Bill makes provision for the Council of Ministers to establish a seed and plant variety evaluation committee, designation of national seed authorities and national plant variety committees. Other key areas that will be addressed include establishment of national and Community plant variety catalogues, seed certification, testing and marketing based on common understanding and application of harmonized procedures within the Community

Fertilizer Policy and Bill

With support from AGRA, the EAC Fertilizer Policy and Bill have been drafted and subjected to national and regional validation in 2020. The two instruments will contribute towards creating an enabling environment for local production, regulation and intra-regional trade in fertilizers.

Proposed provisions include mutual recognition of fertilizers already registered in other EAC Partner States. Fertilizers on the EAC regional list will be given preferential treatment during the registration process if they have already been tested in similar agro-ecological conditions in other Partner States.

A common decision-making approach will also be adopted with respect to blended fertilizers available for trade from one country to other EAC Partner States.

EAC Harmonized Pesticides Management Guidelines

The EAC, with support from FAO, USAID, USDA, AGRA, AATF, and Crop Life Africa and Middle East has harmonized guidelines for testing and registration of conventional pesticides and biopesticides.

The guidelines have reduced the time taken to test and register crop pest control products from 3 seasons to 2 seasons. Pilot trials for products that can be used to control the Fall Army Worm (which causes heavy losses in maize) has been going on in the Partner States and so far about 5 products have been recommended for registration.

The EAC harmonized system will contribute towards ensuring that farmers have access to quality, safe and affordable pesticides. Harmonized Pesticides Management Guideliens are accessible here.

Food and Nutrition Security

EAC region is endowed with a wide range of resources including land, water, favorable climate, human resources and market outlets that provide for potential food security within the community. However, food insecurity remains rampant in some parts of the region.

Important common constraints to achieving food and nutrition security are diverse. They include overdependence on rainfed agriculture, high post-harvest loses (averaging 30-40%), low adoption of high-yielding and pest-resistant/tolerant varieties/breeds; low quality of produce; poor access to inputs; negative environmental and climate change impacts, and climate variability; inability of smallholder producers to meet stringent market requirements due to low produce and low quality of produce; poor pre& post-harvest management regimes and market linkages, prevalence of pests and diseases and poor infrastructure. All these factors have constrained availability, accessibility and utilization of food.

The EAC Food and Nutrition Security Programme is designed to ameliorate the aforementioned challenges.


  • In January 2019, the Council of Ministers adopted a five-year (2019 – 2024) EAC Regional Food and Nutrition Security Strategy (FNSS) and Action Plan (FSAP) to guide the implementation and actualization of the regional food security objectives. FNSS and FSAP consolidate achievements made during the implementation of the Food Security Action Plan adopted by the Summit in 2011. They are designed to address prevailing gaps and challenges still undermining food and nutrition security in the region. FNSS and FSAP provide a unified approach to implementation, coordination and monitoring of the food and nutrition security programs at national and regional level. EAC Partner States are obligated to integrate the two instruments into their national policies and agriculture investment plans to achieve food and nutrition security.
  • In September 2018, the EAC Secretariat with technical and financial support from NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency convened a regional capacity development workshop on Food and Nutrition Security Knowledge Management. The main objective of the workshop was to strengthen EAC Partner States capacity on knowledge sharing and monitoring in the region as stipulated in the Malabo Declaration on commitment to end Hunger by 2025. The workshop resulted to creation of Community of Practice and launch of EAC regional hub on food and security matters.
  • In enhancing access to information, EAC has established two online systems, the Regional Food Balance Sheet (RFBS) and Animal Resources Information System (ARIS) to facilitate information exchange and support decision-making. RFBS provides evidence-based data about food stocks availability to inform policy decisions on   movement of food from regions of surplus to deficit in the EAC. The ARIS database is an important tool for generation of data and information to guide decision-making and influence policy actions on strategic investments in the livestock and fisheries sub- sectors. EAC Partner States dedicated support to ensure ownership, institutionalization and long-term sustainability of these systems is critical.
  • EAC Secretariat and Kilimo Trust are jointly implementing a three-year project (2019 - 2022) to enhance competitiveness of the rice sub-sector. The central aim of the project is to enable locally produced rice in East Africa to competitively substitute the current over 300 million US$ worth of rice imports to the EAC Common Market. The project will contribute to inclusive transformation of the rice sector in East Africa for sustainable increase in incomes of 220,000 women, men and young people employed in the value chain of locally produced rice in the EAC.

Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP)

The Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), under the African Union is Africa’s policy framework for agricultural transformation, wealth creation, food security and nutrition security and economic growth.

EAC has embraced and domesticated the CAADP agenda and is committed to the June 2014, African Heads of State Malabo Declaration on Agriculture Growth and Transformation in Africa.

The goals of Malabo include reducing levels of poverty, ending hunger on the continent and tripling intra-African trade in agricultural goods, among others by 2025. EAC engagement in the CAADP process has been supported by USAID Kenya and East Africa and the Alliance for a Green Revolution (AGRA).

Key achievements under the CAADP programme include the following;

  1. adoption and signing of the EAC CAADP Compact by the Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security in 2017. The EAC CAADP Compact has been developed with the objective of catalyzing and facilitating the coordination of regional and crosscutting programmes of regional nature. It is a high-level commitment and agreement that defines EAC agricultural transformation priorities and focuses on facilitating coordination of regional programs that complement agricultural programs at the national level contained in the national CAADP compacts and national agriculture investment plans (NAIPs).
  1. In an effort to operationalize the CAADP Compact, the EAC Regional Agriculture Investment Plan (RAIP) has been adopted as a regional coordination and harmonization framework whose purpose is to complement and  accelerate achievement of CAADP goals at the national levels. It will also serve as a central instrument to rally financial, institutional and technical support required to drive agricultural transformation.
  1. EAC Partner States have developed Malabo compliant National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPs) that are aligned to the EAC RAIP. NAIPs are the main vehicles for implementation and actualization of Malabo Declaration commitments.

In 2017 and 2018, the EAC Secretariat worked closely with the African Union Commission, the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS) and other RECs in supporting and coordinating the process of preparing the 1st and 2nd Biennial Reports which were submitted to the AU General Assembly. Biennial Agricultural Review process involves tracking, monitoring and reporting on implementation progress in achieving commitments under Malabo Declaration.

EAC is among the RECs with outstanding performance and the Republic of Rwanda was ranked as the top performing country in Africa in implementing Malabo commitments in the 1st and 2nd Biennial Review reports (in 2017 and 2019 consecutively).

In 2017, EAC was on track in meeting targets on:

  1. Re-commitment to CAADP process;
  2. Boosting intra-African trade in agriculture commodities;
  3. Halving poverty through agriculture by 2025; and
  4. Mutual accountability for actions and results.

In 2019 Biennial Review report, the region was on track in meeting commitments on boosting intra-African trade in agricultural commodities and enhancing resilience to climate variability. However, none of the EAC Partner States achieved the commitment on increasing agriculture spending to 10% of the national budget. This commitment is paramount in catalyzing agricultural transformation.

East African Community
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