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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. 

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East African Community
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Email: eac@eachq.org