Friday, March 12, 2010

COMESA, ACTESA sign deal on agricultural programmes

COMESA, ACTESA sign deal on agricultural programmes
By Fridah Zinyama
Fri 12 Mar. 2010, 08:30 CAT

COMESA and Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) have signed an agreement on the implementation of agricultural programmes in the region. The agreement is meant to map out regional initiatives in agriculture trade and investment.

These include development of regional agricultural policies; promotion of investment in agriculture; promotion of trade in agro-commodity products and development and marketing structures; development of agriculture, livestock, pastoral and fisheries sectors and consultation with the private sector.

During the signing ceremony at Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) secretariat last week, COMESA secretary general Sindiso Ngwenya (above) said ACTESA was a practical agency meant to realise the provisions of the COMESA treaty that had not yet been implemented.

“COMESA is happy that ACTESA is doing all the practical things we have not been able to do and it is a realistic vehicle for the CAADP vision,” he said.

Ngwenya said COMESA had great potential in staple crops and was happy that ACTESA was an entity that would focus on linking small-scale farmers to markets.

“Discussions are also under way to allow ACTESA to be an agency serving tripartite regional economic groupings comprising of Southern African Development Community, COMESA and East African Community (EAC),” Ngwenya said.

And ACTESA chief executive officer Dr Cris Muyunda said ACTESA would focus on helping farmers who had low production levels, participation on markets and incomes.

“As an alliance, we will be innovative and will target results in agricultural outreach, trade increase and productivity increase,” he said.

Dr Muyunda said they would practically implement and scale up successful models in market development, market expansion and food security enhancement.

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