EAC records huge post-harvest losses in cereals and root crops
East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 11th March, 2022: The East African Community makes huge post-harvest losses in food products annually in the range of 30% in cereals, 50% in roots & tubers, and up to 70% in fruits and vegetables.
The EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of the Productive and Social Sectors, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo, said that Partner States could reverse this situation through deployment of better storage and processing technologies and enhanced packaging techniques can greatly contribute to the regional development objectives; ensure food security and result in higher earnings for farmers and SMEs.
Hon. Bazivamo said that to counter these challenges, the EAC has developed clear policy directions to signal to the investors the Community’s strategic intent, adding the bloc has established a public private sector fruits and vegetables platform to drive faster development in the sector.
“In our recently adopted fruits and vegetables strategy and post-harvest loss management action plan we aim to unlock this potential by, among other things, pursuing best practices in contract farming, productivity, inputs; utilization of modern and new technologies, capacity building,” said the DSG.
Hon. Bazivamo disclosed that the EAC was keen on improving agro-specific infrastructure for example collection centres, sorting, pack houses, cold storages; refrigeration tanks; development of cold rooms, supply of processing machineries, competitive ocean and air freight services, adding that promotion of the packaging, branding and display sectors was also critical to reducing post-harvest losses.
Hon. Bazivamo was speaking during the opening session of the Tanzania Food and Agriculture Expo (TanzFood 2022) at the Magereza Grounds in Arusha, Tanzania.
The DSG hailed the establishment of similar agri-business forums the regional level, adding that such exhibitions would enable investors to access information on markets, regulations and enable them to showcase achievements in their work and businesses amongst other benefits.
Hon. Bazivamo underscored the importance of the agricultural sector in the region noting that it employs the highest number of East Africans and contributes over 20% to the Gross Domestic Product of the EAC.
“Agriculture has the potential to completely transform our region, fully feed us and improve our economic welfare. We are yet to unlock the full potential of the sector and yet we are growing as a region and as a continent,” said the DSG.
Speaking at the same event, Mr. John Mongella, the Arusha Regional Commissioner and the Chief Guest at the event, urged banks and the private sector to invest more in agriculture, adding that the sector had the potential to assist Tanzania and EAC to attain food security.
Mr. Mongella expressed hope that the TanzFood Expo would grown into a regional event that would attract exhibitors from the six EAC Partner States and beyond.
Mr. Mongella described Arusha as the hub of conference tourism and international meetings in Tanzania and the EAC region.
In her remarks, Germany’s Ambassador to Tanzania and the EAC, Mrs. Regine Hess, expressed optimism that the expo would grow in the coming years to attract exhibitors and investors from the region and other parts of the world.
Amb. Hess disclosed that Germany hosts several trade fairs that provide opportunities for exhibitors to sell and market their products in addition to networking with investors.
Amb. Hess urged the EAC to convene more trade fairs saying that such forums would strengthen the regional economy and enable producers and innovators to tap into the international market, adding that Germany was keen on supporting similar events.
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Simon Peter Owaka
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About the East African Community Secretariat:
The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of six Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001: 2015 Certified