Focus on East Africa

Highlights from the International Symposium and Exhibition on Agricultural Development in the East Africa Community Partner States.

The Vice President of Uganda (Chief Guest),
 H.E Edward Ssekandi,
visits the IFAD stall at the exhibition
A traditional dance troupe doing Ugandan dances set a celebratory mood at the high end Serena Hotel in Kampala on the first day of the International Symposium and Exhibition on Agricultural Development in the East Africa Community partner states in Kampala Uganda. The symposium organized by Kilimo Trust in partnership with the East African Community (EAC) secretariat and ASARECA focused on the theme “Lessons from the past 50 years and prospects for the future” because all the EAC member states are around the time of celebrating 50 years of independence. The symposium and exhibition was officially opened by the Vice President of Uganda, His Excellency Edward Ssekandi, who emphasized the importance of the East African Common Market in promoting agriculture. “EAC common market is a good opportunity for building economies of scale…an opportunity that should be utilized to ensure food security,” said Ssekandi.

Symposium partners including IFAD, BMGF, CTA and USAID also made statements. On behalf of the IFAD president, the Country Director for Burundi, Mr. Hamed Haidara presented a statement in which he highlighted the importance of smallholder agriculture. “There are unprecedented opportunities to create wealth and eliminate hunger by developing agriculture. And by agriculture, I mean smallholder agriculture,” said Haidara.

Haidara Hamed, IFAD Country Director, ESA
shares his statement
The well organized symposium and exhibition has brought many actors in the agriculture sector together – the youth, private sector, public sector, the donor community, local and international organizations, and participants from EAC member states of Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.
Key note speeches and papers on ‘Lessons for East Africa from Asia and Latin America’, ‘Leap-frogging Agricultural Successes into the next decade and beyond –issues and lessons from CAADP implementation’, as well as ‘Agricultural development and food security in East Africa: overview of challenges and prospects’ were shared. These accentuated the importance of investment in research and improved technologies for the agriculture sector such as a move from the hand hoe to mechanized tilling, from rain-fed agriculture to irrigation, among others, for increased production and productivity. Uma Lele, one of the speakers, noted that a decline in public investment in agriculture leads to a directly proportionate decline in investment by the private sector.
The CAADP presentation highlighted lessons learned from the past ten years, especially, the need to demonstrate results and impact and harnessing private sector investments in agriculture. Over all, CAADP is relevant now as it was ten years ago.
some of the IFAD delegates at the symposium
and Exhibition

The afternoon session involved parallel cluster sessions on ‘Production, Productivity and Market Access’, ‘Knowledge Systems and Business Development’, and ‘Human Capital, Natural Resources and Policies’. Details from the cluster discussions will be shared on this space in due course.