Regional Farmers’ Federation visits EALA / Holds talks with Speaker Abdi

ARUSHA, Tanzania, March 21, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Speaker of EALA, Rt. Hon Abdirahin Abdi is urging the farmers’ movement in the EAC region to consolidate and notch up its participation in the integration process for the benefit of the farming fraternity and citizens at large.

Consequently, the Speaker has pledged the Assembly’s support towards the enactment of relevant law to protect the interests of the farming community.

Speaking when he met with representatives of the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) in Arusha today, Rt. Hon Abdi noted that the grouping had a fundamental and critical role to play in the social, economic and political integration of the EAC region.

Rt. Hon Abdi pledged the Assembly’s support to EAFF and said he was keen to see both organizations collaborate further to actualize a regional law on Co-operatives which it (EAFF) is mulling over.

‘Farmers are an integral part of our development not only for food security and secure livelihood reasons, but EAFF can be of much help in delivering the EAC integration dream particularly in areas of co-operation in technology transfer and the participation of ordinary people in the integration journey’, he said.

EAFF President, Mr. Phillip Kiriro led the delegation. Other Members were EAFF 2nd Vice President, Mr. Andrew Hepelwa, Board Member, Mrs Cesarie Kantarama, EAFF CEO, Mr. Stephen Muchiri, MVIWATA President, Mr.Habibu Simbamkuti and Mr. Shem Mecheo, EAFF Agribusiness and Trade Officer. In attendance from EALA was the Senior Public Relations Officer, Bobi Odiko.

The EAFF President Mr. Kiriro said EAFF would continue in its quest to promote and enhance regional integration for its membership.

‘Apart from voicing views and demands of the farmers on crosscutting issues, EAFF will also endeavor to promote regional integration of the farmers through trade and good neighbourliness. We have a membership that spans 20 Million people and we intend to keep them informed of the benefits of integration including the Common Market Protocol that the region is currently implementing’, Mr. Kiriro remarked.

The EAFF chief termed agriculture as a vital sector in the economies of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs).

‘Agriculture in this region which is basically small scale has got its uniqueness. The EAFF would like to see agriculture that guarantees food and revenue to the farmers in a sustainable manner while at the same time creating surplus for external markets’ the President added.

EAFF CEO, Stephen Muchiri noted that the Federation was fully involved in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) process up to and including monitoring of the associated budgets. He noted that EAFF was consulting its membership with a view to taking a position in readiness for the forthcoming RIO + 20 Conference (United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development scheduled for Rio de Janeiro in June this year.

The EAFF delegation which has an observer status at the EAC had earlier on met with the EAC Secretary General, Amb. Richard Sezibera, who welcomed EAFF’s interest in the EAC and informed the farmers’ representatives that implementation of the Food Security Action Plan was ongoing.

EAFF is a non-political, non-profit and a democratic apex organization of all farmers of Eastern Africa. Its Membership constitutes Member organizations from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, DRC, Eritrea and Ethiopia Its role is to voice legitimate concerns and interests of farmers of the region with the aim of enhancing regional cohesiveness and social-economic status of the farmers.

Source: East African Community (EAC) – 22 March 2012