EAC told to address challenges facing crop delivery
East African countries have been urged to address the challenges hindering smooth delivery of agricultural produce in the region.
Speaking at the annual general meeting of Tanzania Small Scale Farmers Network (Mviwata) in Morogoro on Friday, EAC assistant director responsible for production sector, Dr Abdullah Makame, said the failure to deliver agricultural produce in the region is one of major factors retarding the economy.
The AGM was held in tandem with a workshop themed “The Private Sector and Public Sector Partnership in Development of Crops Markets.”
He said the major challenges facing the region is infrastructure at least 80 percent of heavy goods are transported by roads.
In developed countries such goods are transported through railways, hence this reduces the costs of road maintenance, he said.
Most of the roads in the region, he noted, are not in good condition, and yet, they cost governments huge amounts of money to rehabilitate.
Dr Makame said as a result the big part of the goods transported through roads sometimes gets rotten before they reach the market.
He said the other challenge is land legislation which does not favour farmers in the region and thus contributes to slowdown in development.
“There is a need to revisit land legislations so as to enable the farmers benefit more from it,” he said.
Different polices pursued by each member is another challenge in that they act as a hindrance in some sectors.
He mentioned some of them as food security, genetically modified organism (GMO) and poor management of conflicts.
The farmers who aired their views urged the EAC countries to do away with the cumbersome procedures they face at border points.
“We are facing some problems especially at border points where some officials demand payments for the goods transported within the region,” said Fatuma Kimolo from Kilimanjaro Region.
She noted that already the EAC countries have signed a protocol on movement of factors of production and services within the region.
Another farmer identified as Joseph Mshangama from Tanga Region said EAC officials should educate the farmers on various issues pertaining to business and farming in the region.
“Many farmers do not understand the community and its operation well, hence there is a need for the secretariat to make the regional body known to them,” he said.
He urged the government not to bar farmers from marketing their crops outside the country.
Members of the 16th AGM also picked the organisation’s new board of directors.
The new members are Habibu Simbamkuti, chairman, Veronica Sophu, vice chairperson and Esther Mallya, treasurer.
Others are Paulo Joseph (Manyara), Haji Ussi Haji (Zanzibar) Joseph Kilowoko (Ruvuma), Projestus Ishekanyoro (Kagera), Amina Kazibure (Mtwara) and Prisca John (Tabora).
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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