Malachy Mitchell, Managing Director, Farrelly & Mitchell, gives an overview of East Africa food & agricultural trade and how East Africa can supply the affluent and high growth GCC consumer food market.
- Import dependency of East Africa: While the population of the region is growing at the rate of 2% CAGR, food and agricultural production only grew 0.9% during the same period of time. With this ratio, there is a high chance of increase in import dependency in future.
- Agriculture production: Agriculture production is quite concentrated among small number of countries. Focused efforts in developing infrastructure, technology, policies in agriculture are important.
- Imports: Imports of wheat and rice account majority of cereal imports in the region. However, local dynamics are bit different for every country.
- Exports potential: East Africa has a unique and differentiating product mix to compete in the global market. For an instance, Tanzania is one of the largest producers of Cashew and second largest exporter of pulses like Pigeon Peas and Green Gram. Whereas, Kenya is a largest producer of Avocado in Africa.
- Opportunities for GCC trade relations: Economic reforms in GCC are opening doors for in-country partnerships and joint ventures.
- Companies should capitalize on investments and ensure they have necessary certifications.