The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) wants the institutionalisation of Regional Agriculture Advisory Council to advise on the harmonisation of the regional agriculture policy frameworks and programmes.
The regional legislature proposed that the council should comprise of the Secretariat of East African Community (EAC) or EALA and representatives from Partner States, academia, regional farmer organisations and civil societies as well as consumers.
The assembly also pushed on additional budget allocation in the agricultural sector in partner states and ensuring legal and regulatory frameworks are responsive to the needs of the smallholder farmers, youth, women and other sectors.
The assembly appealed on the increase in budgetary allocations which is in line with the Malabo Declaration’s target which is pegged at least 10 per cent annually. The EALA made these recommendations in a report arising from the Agriculture Budget Summit, 2016 held in Arusha on June 4, 2016.
Themed “Increasing Public Investment in Agriculture towards Ending Hunger and Poverty by 2025 in the EAC”, the meeting was organised to support the implementation of the Malabo Declaration of 2014-2025.
The meeting, among other things, sort to increase public awareness on the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) results framework and importance of public financing of agriculture that supports smallholders as catalyst for improved private sector investment.
A member of the EALA, Ms Maryam Ussi, called on the region to support the smalls scale farmers by implementing the 10 percent budgetary increase as per the Malabo Declaration.
Her fellow member, Mr Mike Sebalu, remarked that it was time for agriculture to be prioritised and that a value system that inculcates agriculture should be embraced. Another member, Ms Shyrose Bhanji, said agriculture if well improved could provide more employment to youth, women and other stakeholders.
“At the same time if land is well allocated and utilized then it would go a long way in eradicating poverty,” the legislator said. She challenged small- holder farmers to take advantage of the Customs Union Protocol that offers free taxes on local products.