EAC sees ESAFF as a model regional body
An official of East African Community (EAC) has commended ESAFF saying the body is well positioned to make impact as a serious actor in the civil society sector thanks to its branching out from grassroot to national and regional level.
Eastern and Southern Africa small scale Farmers’ Forum (ESAFF), a grassroots regional farmer network had a breakfast talks with a representative of the East Africa Community (EAC) in Tanzania recently, in its effort to engage the regional economic communities in the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region,
The meeting that brought together ESAFF famer leaders from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi and Zimbabwe was graced by Ms. Perpetue Miganda who is the Principal Officer of the EAC responsible for Gender, Community Development and Civil Society Organisations.
Ms. Miganda said that the EAC was a people driven regional community organisation . She said efforts were being made to see how the private sector and civil society organisations could be represented and be enabled to participate fully in the community activities.
“We expect soon to have a special session in which we will discuss how to strengthen participation of non state actors in EAC and we will be glad to get ideas from ESAFF too,” she said.
The EAC official was happy to note ESAFF was formed, led and owned by small scale farmers themselves. “With that you stand a good chance to effectively participate in the EAC business,” she said
Asked why the EAC Food Security Action Plan 2010-2015 has not committed to or mentioned the Maputo Declaration of 2003 in which African States committed to increase agriculture budget to 10% of the national budget and ensure 6% annual growth, Ms. Miganda assured that EAC was committed to ensuring food security. This is despite not explicitly mentioning the Maputo Declaration.
“Heads of State of the EAC met at the end of 2010 and launched a road map on food security and this show how the region is committed to that endeavour.” She added that, when you speak of food security in East Africa you can’t leave aside small scale farmers who are the majority of the food producers in the region. The EAC Food Security ActionPlan2010-2015 is available at http://www.esaff.org/images/east_africa_food_security_action_plan_2010-2015.pdf
Speaking at his first meeting as the new chairperson of ESAFF, Moses Shaha who is also a farmer from Kilifi, Mombasa in Kenya says ESAFF would like to work and engage with the EAC as a true representation of small scale farmers. “This will make the voice of the small scale farmers in the community to be heard,” he said.
“ESAFF is structured from the grassroots where farmer groups come together to form a district forum and district forums forms provincial and national forums...,” he added. Moses also doubles as a group leader and a national leader of Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum – KESSFF”.
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