The Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) is a regional organization of 19 African Member States. The COMESA mission is to “endeavor to achieve sustainable economic and social progress ... particularly in trade, customs and monetary affairs, transport, communication and information, technology, industry and energy, gender, agriculture, environment and natural resources.”
Ms. Candace Buzzard, the new Deputy Mission Director of Kenya and East Africa for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) paid a courtsey visit to EAC‘s Secretary General, Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera at the EAC Headquarters. She was accompanied by Mr. Matt Rees, Deputy for Trade Africa, Mr. Donald Keene, Resident Legal Officer and Ms. Cristina Olive, Office Director, Strategic Planning and Anaylsis.
Omary’s income in 2009 was US$165, less than a dollar a day. He was better off than most small-scaled farmers in Morogoro, though. He planted maize on 2-3 acres of land, using indigenous grain acquired from friends and family. He had never thought of using fertilizer on his land. Omary was not sure about his farm’s yield.
Low quality seed, lack of fertilizers, lack of farm inputs, and poor agronomic practices have all led to low yields from East African farms. Although small-scale farmers in East Africa produce the bulk of the food that finds its way into the region’s markets, these farmers produce an average yield of only 1 MT per acre. They incur additional losses through poor agronomic practices like insufficient drying, improper threshing, and poor storage and packaging
East African smallholder farmers must rely on savings from their low incomes to increase their farms’ yields. This is largely due to their lack of access to credit, which requires collateral and loan histories, requirements that are far removed from these farmers’ financial realities. Thus they are left at the mercy of friends and relatives to provide them with small loans.
Last updated: April 28, 2016