Attitude change towards regional trade as a result of increased understanding of market dynamics

Regional East African Community Trade in Staples (REACTS) is a program funded by the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and implemented by Kilimo Trust (KT) across East Africa. This project is meant to enable IFAD-supported agricultural development projects in EAC to align, build core skills, and work with relevant partners to enable their beneficiaries to respond effectively to regional markets. The project aims at graduating smallholder farmers to “Farming as a Business” through inclusive EAC regional markets.
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Kick start of WaLETS project results dissemination during the 7th African agriculture science week (AASW) And General Assembly (GA)

The 7th African Agriculture Science week (AASW) and General assembly (GA) was held in Kigali, Rwanda from 13th to 16th June. AASW is a forum for those working in African agriculture science to come together and strategize on the best way to enhance the application of science in African agriculture in order to accelerate the continent’s economic and social transformation. The four day Forum and Exhibition attracted over 1,500 participants, including Ministers of State and Policy makers, experts in Agriculture
and stakeholders engaged in African agricultural research and development as well as donors to discuss how research can be used to improve agriculture in the continent. The theme of the meeting was: “Apply Science, Impact Livelihoods”; and it centered on the operationalization of the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa at country level.
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Using social media to improve beans production and trade in the EAC

The BEST –EAC project has embraced social media as one of the mediums to promote beans commercialization through improving beans production, trade and communication among partners. Different WhatsApp groups have been created for most of the consortia in areas where BEST- EAC project is implemented. Through the whatsapp groups, information efficiently flows among members very fast. Any consortium member with an issue or advice on beans production and trade posts it for everyone to see and act or react to it.
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Formalization of more partnerships through MoU signing between consortia members

On 27th May 2016, the first cross border trade consortium was formalized under the BEST- EAC Phase I. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to export grade 2 quality beans from Busia – Uganda to Kenya was signed between partners of the Busia Cross Border Beans Trade Consortium. This consortium engages seven (7) Farmer Business Organization (FBOs) comprising of 5,173 producers who will grow and bulk K132, NABE 15 and Yellow bean varieties. Other partners include NASECO as the seed supplier; Equity Bank (Ug) Ltd as the financial service provider; Clear A2Z Consult and Busia District Local Government – Production & Marketing Department as the training service providers. Apart from this MoU which represents a highlevel agreement among the parties, specific agreements such as supply contracts between the lead firm and the FBOs, will be signed between partners. The signed MoU will be valid for a period of 2 years from the date of its commencement. It may be renewed to another term agreed upon by the parties willing to extend this working relationship.
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Structuring beans trade through signing of supply contracts between the lead firms and farmer business organisations (FBOs)

BEST- EAC project is molding farmers to embrace contract farming as one of the ways to structure bean trade. Through the project, farmers are linked directly to a trader who they produce for. This project assists beans value chain actors to work together through the consortium approach. Members of a consortium are encouraged to sign supply contracts with the FBOS based on the services that they offer In Kenya, the lead firms/buyers and producers in three consortia have signed supply contracts between themselves. These include Siaya County Beans Consortium (SiCoBeCo) and Kisumu County Beans Consortium (KiCoBeCo) each engaged with six (6) FBOs and the Nakuru Beans Consortium (NaBeCo) engaging eleven (11) FBOs.
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Enhancing capacity of producers on business skills and post-harvest handling through the BEST- EAC project

BEST-EAC project is keen on developing capacity of consortium members to efficiently and effectively undertake their respective roles in a consortium. The process commences by undertaking an in-depth assessment of knowledge gaps of the consortium actors. In the countries where the project is implemented, the result of the Training Needs Assessments (TNAs) which was conducted on Farmer Business Organizations (FBOs) indicated that there were knowledge gaps on Good Agronomic Practices (GAPs) in beans production, limited skills on farming as a business, low levels of understanding beans quality standards and grades, poor beans post-harvest handling practices among others.
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With good agricultural practices and markets, rice pays

Musoma Food Company Limited (MFCL) is one of the leading suppliers of grain and cereal food products in the Lake Zone. The company processes and markets about 6,500MT of rice per annum. The company is planning to access an additional paddy rice tonnage of 11,800MT in order to satisfy the growing East Africa regional market. Inspite of such potential market, most of the small holder farmers are unable to supply that demand due to low yield.
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