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Agric experts dialogue in Uganda

by Grace Kisembo

Over 2000 agriculture professionals are expected in Uganda next week for the Agribusiness Congress East Africa fair.

Apart from featuring expert speakers, the event will this year also feature more than 45 exhibitors, free training workshops and agronomy consultations, roundtable discussions as well as live demonstrations and crop trials.

The bloc’s experts and stakeholders are expected to discuss a variety of issues, including improving the sector in the region.

“Land tenure and affordable finance are the major challenges to expanding and developing the agri sector.”

Current interest rates put enormous stress on agribusiness and are often prohibitive. We need to look at novel ways to finance the agri sector, and get around using land as collateral,” said Jon McLea, Director at Agricona.

He applauded that special purpose funds are starting to enter the market space, offering new opportunities for those looking to raise finance.

Other experts believe the agriculture sector in the sub-region is undergoing a slow recovery from several decades of misplaced policies.

“There is a need to harmonise our policies so as to improve intra-regional trade and thereby create a better environment for trade and regional markets,” said George Magai, Director Trade and Markets at the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa – Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa.

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