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ReSAKSS-ECA and COMESA collaborate to enhance trade policies

February 15, 2013

Presentations were made at a knowledge sharing seminar organized by ACTESA and ReSAKSS-ECA at the COMESA Secretariat in Lusaka, Zambia on February 6, 2013.

Presentations were made at a knowledge sharing seminar organized by ACTESA and ReSAKSS-ECA at the COMESA Secretariat in Lusaka, Zambia on February 6, 2013.

To strengthen partnerships with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in support of CAADP implementation, ReSAKSS-ECA has undertaken a number of activities to increase collaboration with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) by embarking on a series of studies related to trade in the region. Partnering with the Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA), a specialized agency of COMESA, ReSAKSS-ECA will focus research on trade openness, women’s involvement in agricultural trade, and soybean production, trade, and utilization. These issues were identified as priorities due to a lack of information on bilateral trade openness among countries for specific food commodities and a lack of understanding of the impact of trade on women’s welfare. Soybean has become an important ingredient in animal feeds worldwide but its potential in the region has not been assessed. The research is expected to provide rigorous evidence to inform the design of COMESA’s regional biotechnology and biosafety policy and bring in the gender dimension to the design of policies for linking small-size agricultural producers to national and regional markets. A future phase of the soybean study would include the economics of production and trade and the potential implications on technology and/or product choices in the COMESA region.

To initiate this partnership, ReSAKSS-ECA and ACTESA organized a knowledge sharing seminar at the COMESA secretariat in Lusaka, Zambia, on February 6, 2013. Presentations made by Dr. Joseph Karugia and Ms. Stella Massawe of ReSAKSS analyzed agricultural productivity and trade openness in the region. Indicators show that crop and livestock productivity in the region is low compared to the global average and potential, with increases in production outpacing productivity. Causes include low input use (such as fertilizer) and high variability in crop yields. ReSAKSS advised implementing agricultural interventions that focus on enhancing productivity rather than production. Trade restrictions in the region were also addressed. To capitalize on gains from trade, ReSAKSS recommended that tariffs on staple foods be eliminated and non-tariff barriers (such as import and export bans and quotas, administrative procedures, and poor infrastructure) be addressed.

ReSAKSS, ACTESA, and COMESA will continue consultations on modalities for implementing the studies and how to improve the packaging of ReSAKSS knowledge products to ensure their utility to COMESA. For more information, see the COMESA newsletter. See more photos on Flickr

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