Agro industry stakeholders in all African states met in Nairobi to address issues affecting sustainability and growth in Africa. The conference came up with common positions and strategies that can be structured into policy processes that contribute to the improvement of commodity supply chains in Africa.
Chief Executive Officer of COMESA business Council Sandra Uwera said, ‘Agriculture lies at the center of millions of lives in our regions and the strong nexus between agriculture and development is undeniable. Competitive and sustainable Agro industries and supply chains are the best tool for livelihood support, economic development and intra-regional trade. We hope this dialogue will work as a stepping stone in promoting the inclusive participation of small scale producers and SMEs in Agro industrial supply chains and ensure regional Agricultural development.’
The meeting provided a platform for interchange amongst the stakeholders in selected supply chains, allowing ten to share their best practices and develop strategies for the development of inclusive and sustainable Agro industry supply chains within the COMESA region. It will provide training in standards and quality assurance to boost competitiveness and market access.
Food standard are mandatory for international trade as the developing country exporters are penetrating the Hugh value food market and as they seek to gain international competitiveness, they have to respond adequately to consumer concerns over quality and safety adopting different standards such as codex Alimentarious,importers public standards, foreign (importing) retailer standards, domestic public standards and domestic retailer standards.
ARSO under its Technical Harmonization Committee (AFSO THC 02) harmonizes African standards to promote Good Agricultural Practices and intra African and global trade. The role of quality assurance has been RE emphasized by the African Union in declaring the year 2017 as African Year of Quality Infrastructure to create more awareness on the importance of Quality Infrastructure in Africa’s industrialization and economic development.
The conference established and strengthened sub sector groups within the CBC agro Industry as part of the strategy for inclusive participation of the private sector through national and regional policy making processes.
The conference brought together more than 80 participants from the region composed of Agro Industry companies, Horticulture processing and producer companies, Dairy companies, corporates and SMEs within the agricultural sector. Some of this organizations include African Organization of standardization (ARSO), COMESA, United States Agency for International development East Africa (USAID),pan African Quality Infrastructure (PAQI) and European Centre for development policy management (ECDPM).
COMESA business Council is a private sector institution of COMESA.It represents private sector interests at the highest levels of decision making and it provides key market driven services to its members, business advocacy, business support services, partnerships and market intelligence.