East Africa Market Outlook
The GPC in partnership with the Eastern African Grain Council (EAGC) presented the first virtual event focused exclusively on the Eastern Africa region. This region offers different pulse crops such as chickpeas, lentils and a variety of dry beans (pea beans, cowpeas, pigeon peas, faba beans, small red beans, speckled beans, kidney beans, etc.).
The webinar coincided with the region’s pulse harvest season and featured keynote speeches by high-level government officials and leading figures in the pulse sector, as well as country panels of industry insiders from the region’s major pulse producing nations, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Mozambique.
It has been revealed that the use of farmer-saved seeds, lack of machinery to support commercialization and low use of fertilizers remain some of the many challenges for farmers that grow pulses in Africa. Among the he main challenges there are following:
- Fluctuating Phytosanitary requirements from main customers;
- High cost of production at small scale farms;
- Difficulties to compete with subsidized crops;
- Product quality issues;
- Difficult economic situation and instability.
Experts note that African countries have to put in place necessary reforms to unlock agriculture’s potential in order to achieve desired growth in their agriculture sector. These reforms include:
- Access to land, improvement of infrastructure,
- Enhancement of extension services and farmer education,
- Good quality of seeds,
- Adoption of new technologies,
- Access to markets and investments.
The variety of regulations and limitations can make investment decisions quite complicated, especially for investors with cross-border operations. In turn, African governments are generally aware that, there is an important role for direct foreign investment to play in growth of agriculture sector.
Nonetheless during the past few years, African farmers started to innovate, increase productivity, and drive unprecedented progress across entire economies, however climate change as well as a surge of new pests and diseases threatened their gains.
The Eastern Africa region has a great potential to become a strong player on the market of pulses but many nature and governmental constraints and regulations restrain its quick development.