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How can agriculture and trade lead to livelihoods, food security and development?: evidence from Eastern and Southern Africa

Agriculture and trade can be engines for inclusive growth and development in African countries. This monograph presents the main findings of country research studies on trade and agriculture issues in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

The authors notice that several African countries have made considerable progress in opening up their economies to global markets through liberalisation and trade but the success of these measures has been mixed.

The paper argues that achieving trade developmental goals in agriculture requires understanding of the complex inter-linkages, crafting comprehensive policies, and taking coordinated and sustained actions on several fronts.

The document concludes that international organisations, donors and regional economic communities (RECs) should prioritise agriculture in their plans and interventions.

Recommendations for governments and RECs include:

  • governments should strengthen targeted input subsidy programmes particularly for small and resource-poor farmers
  • governments should encourage formal trade by reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers, and harmonising sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards
  • the secretariats of RECs should ensure wide dissemination of information and knowledge regarding the regional market
  • the REC secretariats should concentrate on ensuring that there is a reliable regional transport network

Identically, recommendations for other entities contain:

  • agricultural producers and traders should have a say in the formulation and implementation of relevant policies at both the national and regional levels
  • civil society organisations should focus on identifying and promoting the elements of an enabling environment for private-sector-led and farmer-friendly agricultural development
  • farmers associations should link up with researchers and research institutions for collaborative work towards improving agricultural productivity
  • Doha Round should be completed with an agreement on agricultural trade that includes effective provisions related to special safeguard mechanism and “special products” for developing countries