Food Prices
Food Prices In China Rises Over The New Year Period

Kenyan food security experts on Wednesday expressed concerns over the rising food prices in East African countries in the last three years.

food pricesMary Mbithi, Senior Lecturer of Economics at the University of Nairobi, said with exception of Tanzania that reduced the price of its food commodities in 2007, food prices has remained high in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi due to lack of support and protection by the governments.

“The governments need to start supporting agriculture sector by allocating more money and also put in place policies that protect farmers from unfair competition from other parts of the world,” Mbithi said during a meeting on agriculture trade policy and sustainable development in East Africa in Nairobi.

She said the region has become a net importer of food from within and other countries, thus making the commodities unaffordable to most citizens. Mbithi revealed that the regional countries are currently trading more on food commodities amongst themselves, and trade little with the rest of the world compared to previous years.
The economist revealed that the region’s food production is low due to use of low technology and lack of support from the government.

“The governments only support farmers by providing cheap fertilizer yet they require subsidies in most products enable them to produce competing products in the international market,” Mbithi added.

Gerald Musila, Executive Director of Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC), a regional association of grain growers, said that 22 standards have been harmonized in the region to help promote trade within the countries.
“We are in the process of eradicating the border hindrances that became the order of the day hence discouraging intra-regional trade within countries in the region,” he noted.

Musila said that grain council is currently monitoring borders transactions and reporting back besides providing market information services to producers in the region.

Participants at the meeting called on regional governments to adopt a regional outlook to the food security aspects and encourage regional cross border trade in food to meet domestic supply differences. Enditem

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