KIGALI, (Xinhua) --
Experts have urged African economies to harmonize standards for
staple foods on the continent in order to promote and increase
intra-African trade in grains and cereals.
They made the call on Thursday during a regional meeting on staple
foods standards in the Rwandan capital Kigali.
Africa staple foods include among others cereals, grains and
Rwanda hosts the East African Community (EAC) member states meeting
on EAC staple food standards harmonization from February 27th-3rd
The five-day forum focuses on considering of public review feedback
on the draft EAC staple foods standards in order to promote and
increase cross border trade.
In 2013, the EAC countries agreed on the recommended moisture
content for cereals and grains in the region in a bid deliver
improved food security to its citizens through increased regional
“Harmonized staples food standards in Africa will play a major role
in promoting intra-African trade through removing technical barriers
to trade hence ensuring food security on the continent,” said, Dr.
Hermogene Nsengimana, secretary general, African Organization for
Standardization (ARSO) at the meeting.
He noted that lack of standards is not good for trade, because high
costs and unpredictable rules make trade difficult and discourage
investments by small farmers in increasing productivity and large
investments by private companies in input supply and food marketing.
At the conference experts concurred that facilitating continental
trade through harmonized food standards is vital for reducing
poverty and meeting Africa’s growing demand for staple foods.
Importing sufficient amounts of staple food could cost the continent
upwards of 150 billion U.S dollars per year by 2030.
The meeting brought together technical experts and hands-on
practitioners of the standards, representing both public and private
sectors, from all EAC partner countries and beyond to consider the
proposals received on the specific parameters of the Standards and
adopt a common position on the standards.