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.
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.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Mr. Othieno Richard Owora
Head, Corporate Communication and Public Affairs
Tel: +255 (0)27 216 2100, Ext. 22100
Communication Consultant (Specialist Advisor)
FAO Subregional Office for Eastern Africa
Tel: +251 (0)116478888, Ext. 116
Mr. Abebe Demissie Banjaw
Communication and Media Consultant
FAO Subregional Office for Eastern Africa
Tel: +251 (0)116478888, Ext. 214
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
For more information, please contact:
Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
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