Agriculture plays an integral role in East Africa’s economy as it accounts for over 30% of the region’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The sector also employs over 80% of the region’s labour force and accounts for about 65% of all foreign exchange earnings. The East African Agricultural sector also contributes more than 50% of raw materials to the regional manufacturing sector.
It is in this regard that the Agribusiness Confederation of East Africa (ACEA) recently launched the ACEA Buyer-Seller platform. The platform was launched through Facebook to connect private sector players in agribusiness within the East African community region.
The virtual launch event was hosted by Dr. Kevit Desai, Principal Secretary in the State Department of East Africa Community in the Ministry of East Africa Community and Regional Development; Hon. Dr. Peter Mathuki, Secretary-General of the East African Community and Dr. Bimal Kantaria, Agriculture Sector Network (ASNET) Chair.
The ACEA Buyer-Seller platform launch was held in partnership with KEPSA, The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), East African Business Council (EABC), Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC), Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Agriculture Sector Network, World Vegetable Center, Agricultural Council of Tanzania (ACT), Horticulture Exporters Association of Rwanda (HEAR), Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya, Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) partnership platform.
During the launch, Dr. Kantaria confirmed that the platform would finally address the increase of private sector agricultural business without government intervention. He affirmed the fact that government officials and agriculture sector leaders who were also included in the platform ensured that communication would be improved in the agricultural sector in East Africa.
The Agribusiness Confederation of East Africa (ACEA) is the regional apex body for private sector associations and federations in the agriculture sector. The ACEA aims to enhance inter-regional trade by identifying and promoting agriculture business opportunities within and outside the EAC region. The ACEA Buyer-Seller platform seeks to connect players in the agriculture value chains. Through the platform, they will have access to a regional market and get to know other players in agribusiness around the East African community.
The ACEA looks to develop an online platform in the future where the buyers and sellers can transact and finalize their business deals within the platform which will be integrated with the ACEA website.
The launch was only the first strategy for the ACEA, which additionally seeks to enhance sector trade through the removal of non-trade barriers, expensive medical tests, and expensive regional transport that consequently market penetration and trade.