A regional business body has warned that the entire East African region is likely to experience a severe shortage of rice and maize in the near future. This is attributed by the fact that the region has been witnessing recurring draughts over the years; a factor which is viewed to be an aftereffect of the climate change rooting up and not easily predetermined by the meteorological departments. “Tanzania has a strong comparative advantage and export of maize and rice in the region,” said an organization during the commencement of the Agribusiness Expo (ABE). The Agribusiness Expo brings together all key players in the agribusiness industry operating in the East African region who exhibit their goods and services and basically serves as a one stop shop for both the service providers and the users/buyers – in this case the farming community which is trying to formulate the policies to be adapted in dealing with food crisis.
The East African Community (EAC) Secretary General, Dr. Richard Sezibera led the two day meeting which was held at Selian Agricultural Institute at Kisongo, Dodoma. The two-day fair was aimed at establishing the best way forward which the East African Community could best employ to address the projected grain deficit in the region keeping in mind that Kenya fell victim to one of the worst droughts ever not long ago in 2010/11. The fair was being held the Dodoma for the very first time after Lira in Uganda and Nakuru in Kenya in the past couple of months.
The two day event which was planned by the Council in collaboration with the Arusha based Selian Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), confirmed facts that Tanzania was able to feed its nation and offer exports to the rest of the East African Community. “At the regional level, other partner states in EAC do not have the natural resource endowment and comparative advantage that Tanzania has particularly with regard to potential agricultural land,” added the Council. However, the Council maintained that Tanzania though endowed with huge tracks of land and viable for food production, the Nairobi –based regional body felt reluctant given the fact that Tanzania’s role as the leading food producer in the East African Community didn’t fully embrace the required clauses articulated in the Common Market Protocol. “Tanzania stands out as the king producer of food security in the region but many say the country had been reluctant to embrace the opportunity and take advantage of the spirit of the Common Market Protocol,” EAC Secretary General addressed via a statement signed by its Programme officer Mr. Josephat Magita.
Since Tanzania is arguably potential in food production with a comparative advantage over the neighboring countries in the region, it was revealed that during the height of the ravaging draught that had strike Kenya, the body identified that traders from Kenya who happened to flock to Tanzania to purchase maize found the latter imposing a ban on exportation of cereals.
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