East Africa Entrepreneurship Conference To Focus On Agribusiness

Agriculture accounts for about 34.7% of the region’s total GDP making it the second largest sector

Coffee is one of East Africa’s agriculture major exports. Photo/File


As East Africa strives to increase intra-regional trade, the East Africa Business Council (EABC) has said it will put emphasis on agribusiness development during its two day forum in Dar es Salaam Tanzania next month.

The council’s chief executive, Lilian Awinja said Agro-processing, including food, beverages and tobacco, together with apparel and leather sectors contribute almost 40 % of the region’s manufactured exports, and should therefore be give attention.

She said the region needs to boost the agriculture values chain and the transformation of agro raw materials into sustainable and highly marketable commodities which are competitive at regional and international markets.

“We need a paradigm shift from subsistence agriculture to agri-business, which offers a path to reduce food insecurity and boost regions’ competitiveness in the agricultural sector, “Awinja said.

Agriculture accounts for about 34.7% of the region’s total GDP making it the second largest sector with more than 75% of the population reliant on it.

She said the conference is expected to attract over 400 high level decision makers and business leaders from the region and abroad.

The East African Business Council (EABC) is the apex advocacy body of business associations of the Private Sector and Corporates from the East African Countries.

It was established in 1997 to foster the interests of the Private Sector in the Integration process of the East African Community.

According to the World Bank, lack of access to high-yielding seeds, effective fertilizers and irrigation technologies threaten the region’s ability commercial agriculture and sustainable agribusiness development.

The world bank also says the agricultural sector in East Africa  is challenged by inadequate research & extension services, post-harvest losses, climatic and weather unpredictability, little value addition and  poor physical infrastructure and utilities
a said Technology transfer such as irrigation, improved inputs of production, equipment, storage facilities, packaging processing materials and trade regulations are expected to take center stage in the conference discussions.

The conference will also host session highlights on Information Communication Technology, urbanization, cotton and textile, patents and copyrights in the creative industry among others.

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