ARUSHA– The East African Community (EAC) is holding the 11th meeting of its Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security (SCAFS) at the sub-regional grouping’s headquarters in this northeastern Tanznian city this week.

The meeting which opened on Monday and will run until next Saturday will review progress made in implementing past decisions and consider other issues of regional importance within the agriculture and food security and entails sectoral Council meetings,

It involves meetings of senior officials gathering and sessions of permanent secretaries of ministries which will culminate in the ministerial session next Friday.

Since its last meeting in June 2017, several activities have since taken place in implementing various projects and programmes under the sector. The meeting will deliberate on the progress report on the Community’s Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) process and the EAC regional project on aflatoxin prevention and control.

Other topics include the status of implementation of EAC Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Protocol; Harmonization of Farm Inputs; the EAC Food and Nutrition Security Strategy and Action Plan; Challenges and Opportunities in Rice Value Chain; EAC-FAO Project on Promoting Youth Employment in the Agricultural Sector; Status of Livestock and Fisheries Development; and Resource Mobilization and Partnerships.

Meanwhile, a high-level forum on the inaugural biennial report on the implementation of the June 2014 African Union (AU) Heads of State Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods is scheduled to take place on June 16 when the Best Youth agri-entrepreneurs within the EAC would be recognized and awarded.

The EAC secretariat and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are working on a programme to promote youth employment in agriculture through a technical co-operation project dubbed, ‘Promoting Youth Employment in the Agricultural Sector in East Africa.’

In May, 2018, the Secretariat –with support from FAO — sent 18 youths from the six EAC partner States — Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda — to the Songhai Centre in Benin for a month’s apprenticeship intended to build their agribusiness knowledge and practical skills in various agro-enterprises.

The initiative has since demonstrated that the youths were likely to operate successful agribusinesses when equipped with the right knowledge and skills.