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Agriculture & Food Security

12th Meeting of the Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security concludes in Arusha

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 8th December, 2018: The 12th meeting of the Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security (SCAFS) concluded on Friday 7th December in Arusha, Tanzania. The meeting reviewed progress made in implementing the previous decisions and directives of the Council and Sectoral Council and also considered other issues of regional importance in the area of Agriculture and Food Security.

In accordance with the EAC rules of procedure, Hon. Rashid Ali Juma, Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources, Livestock and Fisheries of Zanzibar (United Republic of Tanzania) chaired the meeting at the request of Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries of Uganda who was not able to attend the meeting in person owing to a disruption in his flight schedule. The Rapporteur was Mr. Jean Claude Musabyimana representing the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources of the Republic of Rwanda.

The meeting was attended by Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Hon. Dr Gerardine Mukeshimana; Burundi’s Minister in the Ministry to the Office of the President Responsible for East African Community Affairs, Hon. Isabelle Ndahayo; Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation, Hon. Mwangi Kiunjuri; South Sudan’s Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Hon. Onyoti Adigo Nyikwec; and United Republic of Tanzania’s Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, Hon. Luhaga Joelson Mpina.

Senior officials from the Partner States and the EAC Secretariat were also in attendance.

Addressing the Ministerial session, Hon.  Rashid Ali Juma commended the Honourable Ministers and Cabinet Secretaries from the Partner States for monitoring and keeping under constant review the implementation of the previous decisions and directives of the Council and Sectoral Council in regard to Agriculture and Food Security in the region.

Hon. Rashid Ali Juma reiterated that the overall objectives of co-operation in the agricultural sector were the achievement of food security and rational agricultural production within the Community. 

On his part, the Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo noted that agriculture was an important sector in the Community and that many issues on the agenda of the meeting such as food security, SPS, pests and diseases, farm inputs, agricultural productivity, irrigation, and sustainable land management, were all provided for in the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.

Hon. Bazivamo observed that the EAC region should work hard to eliminate hunger by 2025 and create jobs for the youth and women. He stressed promotion of fertilizers and irrigation in order to increase agricultural production and urged Partner States to pay special attention to areas of weak performance in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP)/Malabo Biennial Review report  including the need to increase financial allocation to the agricultural sector and strengthen data collection and collation mechanisms.

Highlights of some of the Decisions and Directives of the 12th Meeting of the Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security:

Under Food and Nutrition Security Status

The Sectoral Council:-

  • ●Directed Partner States that do not have strategic national food reserves to establish the same; and
  • ●Directed the Secretariat to develop a harmonized EAC regional harvesting calendar for staple crops including wheat, sugarcane, maize, rice, cassava and sorghum as a monitoring tool for food security.

Aflatoxin Prevention and Control

The Sectoral Council:-

  • Directed Partner States to prioritize aflatoxin prevention and control programs as part of national agriculture, food and nutrition security programs and investment plans;
  • Directed Partner States to utilize EAC Aflatoxin policy briefs to engage the legislature on aflatoxin prevention and control;
  • Directed the Secretariat to develop a Bill on aflatoxin prevention and control in the EAC region;
  • Directed Partner States to enhance monitoring and allocate resources for procurement and distribution of simple Aflatoxin contamination test tools to the farmers at affordable prices;
  • Urged Partner States to strengthen coordination among key sectors in particular agriculture, health, trade and environment in aflatoxin mitigation efforts;
  • Urged Partner States to promote aflatoxin prevention and control measures including biocontrol and nixtamalization technologies; and
  • Directed Partner States to strengthen enforcement of existing food and feed standards for prevention and control of aflatoxin.

Harmonization of Farm Inputs

The Sectoral Council:-

  • Adopted the draft EAC harmonized Seed and Plant Varieties Bill; and
  • Directed the Secretariat to submit the draft EAC Seed and Plant Varieties Bill to the next Council of Ministers for consideration;

Under Rice Value Chain in EAC

The Sectoral Council:-

  • Directed the Secretariat and Partner States to establish a mechanism for computing market information on rice deficit and surplus status alongside other food crops;
  • Directed Partner States to harmonize and strengthen coordination among agencies involved in the collection and computation of data on rice;
  • Directed Partner States to prioritize awareness creation on the potential utilization of rice by-products in order to raise incomes of value chain actors;
  • Directed Partner States to commit to eliminate Non-Tariff Barriers impeding rice trade within and across the Partner States; and
  • Directed the Secretariat to request Partner States to submit names of their nominees to serve on the EAC Regional Rice Platform by 15thDecember, 2018.

Under EAC-FAO project on promoting youth employment in the agricultural sector

The Sectoral Council:-

  • Directed Partner States to consider adoption of hands-on incubation training in agribusiness and sustainable agro-ecological practices to outscale the EAC-FAO initiative on increasing youth employment in agriculture; and
  • Directed Partner States to implement the Mutual Recognition Procedures for Marketing Authorizations of Veterinary Pharmaceutical Products.

Under Livestock and Fisheries Development

The Sectoral Council:-

  • Directed the secretariat to establish a regional coordination mechanism for management of transboundary animal and zoonotic diseases;
  • Directed the Secretariat and Partner States to establish and operationalize emergency prepadness and response mechanisms for animal and zoonotic diseases; and
  • Directed Partner States to align their national livestock policies to the EAC regional livestock policy.

Regional Strategy for Management of Transboundary Animal and Zoonotic Diseases

The Sectoral Council:-

  • Noted the on-going efforts to develop a regional strategy on management of transboundary animal and zoonotic diseases;
  • Directed the secretariat to establish a regional coordination mechanism for management of transboundary animal and zoonotic diseases;
  • Directed the Secretariat and Partner States to establish and operationalize emergency prepadness and response mechanisms for animal and zoonotic diseases; and
  • Directed Partner States to align their national livestock policies to the EAC regional livestock policy.

Management of Fall Army Worm (FAW)

The FAW is the latest transboundary crop pest in the EAC and Africa continent as a whole.  It has affected mainly the maize crop in all the East African Community (EAC) Partner States and beyond, causing yield losses to this major staple food crop. Regional Economic Communities, development partners, and national governments have provided support for FAW management that focus on awareness creation, situational updates, emergency preparedness and rapid response for management of FAW and other transboundary plant pests and diseases.

​The Sectoral Council:-

  • Directed Partner States to prioritize application of Integrated Pest Management in the control of the FAW and other transboundary crop pests and diseases;  
  • Directed the Secretariat to develop a regional action plan on FAW by March 2019; and
  • Directed the secretariat to establish a regional coordination mechanism for management of transboundary plant pests and diseases.

-ENDS-

For more information, please contact:

Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat
Arusha, Tanzania
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

 EAC Partner States register first Veterinary product under new Mutual Recognition Procedures

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 5th October, 2018: The first licences for a veterinary vaccine submitted for registration under the East African Community’s Mutual Recognition Procedure (MRP) have been issued.

Obtaining approval to place veterinary medicines on the market requires a marketing authorisation (licence) from the National Regulatory Authority in each Partner State where the product is to be sold. Until now, this involved applying for a licence separately in each country. The East African Community’s MRP system overcomes this lengthy, resource-intensive and often unpredictable process.

Through partnership between EAC, Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed) and HealthforAnimals, EAC has implemented an initiative to harmonize the registration requirements and application procedure for veterinary immunologicals across all Partner States leading to mutual recognition. MRP allows applicants to apply simultaneously for licences in multiple countries. This saves time and allows countries and applicants to use their resources more efficiently. MRP increases the likelihood for the sustainable supply of quality-registered vaccines in the region.

Dr. David Balikowa, EAC’s Senior Livestock Officer in charge of implementing the project said “The process of developing the MRP system has been very helpful from a regional perspective allowing countries to learn from each other. We are looking forward to having more products registered through this innovative MRP regional system.”

Two other products are in the process of registration.   

For more information on MRP, visit https://www.eac.int/documents/category/livestock   

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​About East African Community
The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of six Partner States: the Republics of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania, and the Republic of Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

As one of the fastest growing regional economic blocs in the world, the EAC is widening and deepening co-operation among the Partner States in various key spheres for their mutual benefit. These spheres include political, economic and social.

For further press information on EAC, please contact: Owora Richard Othieno, 
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department, Tel: +255 784 835021
Email: ooThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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About GALVmed

GALVmed, through its partners, makes livestock vaccines, medicines and diagnostics accessible and available to the millions of smallholder livestock and poultry keepers in developing countries for whom livestock is a lifeline. The international not-for-profit company harnesses the best available expertise and capabilities to develop vaccines, medicines and diagnostics for neglected livestock diseases affecting smallholders in Africa and South Asia. GALVmed is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Government. For more information, please visit www.galvmed.org 

For further press information on GALVmed, please contact: Beatrice Ouma, Communications Manager, Tel: +254 772 157782, Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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About HealthforAnimals

HealthforAnimals is the global animal medicines industry association that represents the animal health sector: manufacturers of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and other animal health products throughout the world, as well as the associations that represent companies at national and regional levels

For further press information on HealthforAnimals, please contact: Alexander Rinkus, Communications Director, Tel: +32 2 543 7575 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

EAC and FAO take further step to scale-up support for youth in agribusiness

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.

Background:

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.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION

Mr. Othieno Richard Owora
Head, Corporate Communication and Public Affairs
Tel: +255 (0)27 216 2100, Ext. 22100
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Edward Ogolla
Communication Consultant (Specialist Advisor)
FAO Subregional Office for Eastern Africa
Tel: +251 (0)116478888, Ext. 116
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mr. Abebe Demissie Banjaw
Communication and Media Consultant
FAO Subregional Office for Eastern Africa
Tel: +251 (0)116478888, Ext. 214
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

EAC Policy Briefs on Aflatoxin Prevention and Control launched in Nairobi

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

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For more information, please contact:

Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat
Arusha, Tanzania
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

Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security directs on Rift Valley Fever outbreak

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 21st June 2018: The 11th meeting of the Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security (SCAFS) that concluded on 15th June 2018 in Arusha, Tanzania, has directed the Secretariat to urgently convene a meeting of the Technical Working Group on Transboundary Animal and Zoonotic Diseases (TADs) to address the issue of Rift Valley Fever outbreak, which has been reported in the region.

The 11th meeting of the Sectoral Council, which was attended by, among others, Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, Uganda’s Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries and Hon. Eng. Dr. Charles John Tizeba, United Republic of Tanzania’s Minister of Agriculture, also directed the Secretariat to include emerging and re-emerging diseases as a permanent agenda item in the subsequent meetings of the Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security.

At least 26 people in two north-eastern counties in Kenya are suspected of having contracted Rift Valley Fever (RVF). By 16 June 2018 seven of these cases were confirmed and six of the people had died according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The outbreak was reported to WHO and OIE, the International Organization for Animal Health. In Rwanda, the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources confirmed cases of RVF among cattle after samples were tested at the Rwanda Agriculture Board Laboratory. South Sudan reported an outbreak of RVF in March and is reported to be containing the situation.

The East African Community (EAC) Secretariat is closely monitoring the outbreaks and is urging the Partner States that are not yet affected by RVF to step up surveillance to detect any spread of the disease to their territories at an early stage and to inform the public about the risk and about preventive measures.

The affected areas in Kenya include the counties of Wajir and Tana River on the border to Somalia and in Rwanda the districts of Kayonza, Kirehe and Ngoma. Kirehe borders Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda causing a risk for the cross-border spread of RVF.

RVF is a virus disease that is transmitted by infected mosquitos. This year’s heavy rainfall has resulted in widespread flooding in low-lying grasslands. Flooding and standing water enabled a higher number of mosquito eggs than usual to hatch and thus increased the potential for RVF to spread among people and animals. The RVF virus is endemic in the EAC region and has caused repeated outbreaks in the past. It affects primarily ruminant livestock, such as cattle, sheep, goats and camels, and also wildlife, such as buffalos. In these animals it causes abortions and deaths and significant economic loss.

The RVF virus can also affect humans. Most infections are mild, but some people fall severely ill and even die with symptoms such as fever, weakness and bleeding from gums and mouth. The majority of human infections result from direct or indirect contact with the blood, body fluids, or tissues of infected animals. This can happen during slaughtering or butchering, while assisting with animal births, treating the animals and from contact with disposed carcasses or foetuses. Human-to-human transmission of RVF has not been documented.

The EAC Partner States of Kenya and Rwanda have increased their surveillance and put measures in place to stop the disease from spreading further. These measures include cost-free vaccination, restrictions in the movement of animals, bans on slaughtering animals for public consumption and trade bans as well as awareness raising campaigns among the public and especially among herders and small holders. They are advised to immediately report any domestic ruminant that show signs and symptoms of RVF.

Against this backdrop and to supplement the efforts of the Partner States in combating RVF in the Community, the EAC Secretariat urges the owners of livestock, people working with wildlife and citizens in the region to be alert and comply with the following precautionary measures:

  1. Livestock farmers should contact the Veterinary Services Authorities in the respective Partner States for information on vaccinating their animals against RVF and restrict animal movement to limit the spread of RVF;
  2. People in contact with ruminants should practice hand hygiene, wear gloves and other appropriate individual protective equipment when handling sick animals or their tissues or when slaughtering animals;
  3. People should avoid consuming fresh blood, raw milk or animal tissue and products without thoroughly roasting them; and
  4. They should protect themselves against mosquito bites through the use of impregnated mosquito nets, personal insect repellents - if available, light coloured clothing (long-sleeved shirts and trousers) - and by avoiding outdoor activities at peak biting times of mosquitos.

 

-ENDS-

For more information, please contact:

Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat
Arusha, Tanzania
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


East African Community
EAC Close
Afrika Mashariki Road
P.O. Box 1096
Arusha
United Republic of Tanzania

Tel: +255 (0)27 216 2100
Fax: +255 (0)27 216 2190
Email: eac@eachq.org