CYNTHIA MWALE, Lusaka
AFRICAN countries have been challenged to reconsider policies to grow grain agri-business to address food insecurity.
Although the last decade has witnessed a number of developments in the grain sector in Africa, there is need to reshape grain trade policy in the context of Africa’s overarching development vision and global food trade dynamics.
Various stakeholders from the continent will meet to deliberate on the issue at the 7th African Grain Trade Summit next month in Tanzania.
This is also a follow-up to the regional trade facilitation forum held in June in Zambia, which generated about US$100 million in trade transactions.
This is according to the statement on the summit under the theme ‘Setting New Horizons: Rethinking Grain Trade for Food Security and Prosperity in Africa’ issued by Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) executive director Gerald Masila at the weekend.
“Significant investment has been made in promoting production and productivity to strengthen market linkages and improve access to finance for value chain actors.
“Yet, Africa still faces food insecurity, intra-Africa trade is still minimal and millions still live in poverty. The status quo cannot be allowed to persist if the continent aspires to transform the agriculture and grain sectors,” the statement under thematic focus states.
Mr Masila says there is need to rethink the way to approach the grain sector and to come up with new ideas to achieve food security and prosperity.
He said the expected outcomes of the summit will be adoption of a unifying vision for the grain sector in Africa towards its desired place in global food.
It is also anticipated that there will be establishment and strengthening of structures for increased involvement of private sector in structured processes to increase transparency and information-sharing with private and non-state actors.
Mr Masila envisages that through the summit, policy-makers will commit to trade policy reforms and to implement policies that incentivise private sector investment in the grain sector.