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Stakeholders challenged to exploit bloc’s agric opportunities

by Grace Kisembo

Organisers of the Agribusiness Congress East Africa believe this year’s expo will reflect the burgeoning agric industry.

Slated for the 29th to 30th of November as a fully-fledged conference and outdoor exhibition at the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) in Namulonge, the event has attracted high-level expert speakers.

The event will also feature more than 45 exhibitors, free training workshops and agronomy consultations, roundtable discussions, live demonstrations and crop trials.

“The fast growth of the Agribusiness Congress East Africa, this year evolving into an outdoor expo, reflects the burgeoning agric industry and the high regional expectations for East Africa to become the continent’s agricultural hub” said event director Yolanda dos Santos.

She bemoaned that despite East African market representing 145.5 million consumers, with an agriculture market valued at more than $147 billion, the sector is not growing in the bloc.

“We need to come together and take action.”

The region’s agric sector is not developing fast enough to meet market demands due to the lack of commercialisation, mechanisation and access to information.

This year’s jamboree is expected to gather all the stakeholders in the sector, from farmers, agric experts, industry bodies, government and local and global suppliers and service providers, to make sure the region is equipping itself to play a leading role.

Chris Kaijuka, the chairman of Grain Council of Uganda (TGCU) host partner said the 5th Expo will showcase that the event has become a vital component in the development of the East African agricultural sector by providing knowledge, developing marketing networks and displaying emerging technologies all in one location.

“For us to truly grasp the opportunity for East Africa, and Uganda in particular, which has evolved into the new frontier for food and grain production and the continent’s food basket, we need to come together and take action to move the industry forward.

We urge all industry players with a stake in agriculture to take advantage of this golden opportunity to meet with suppliers, buyers and technocrats and contribute to the development debate,” said Kaijuaka.

Other leading agricultural and economic partners of Agribusiness Congress East Africa including – the Agricultural Council of Tanzania (ACT), Alliance for Commodity Trade in East and Southern Africa (ACTESA), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Eastern Africa Farmers Federation, Eastern African Grain Council, Farm Concern, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), SA Capital Equipment Export Council (SAEEC) and VECO East Africa.

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