Grains institute to boost agribusiness

2 April, 2012, Esther Nakkazi

The Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) is set to launch the first Grain Institute in the agribusiness sector for the region known as the Eastern Africa Grain Institute (EAGI).

Ultimately, the initiative seeks to improve efficiency, strengthen the capacity of domestic and regional markets to [frax09alpha]absorb grain surpluses as well as to reduce transaction costs in grain output markets in the region.

The institute will train, mentor and provide technical agribusiness training and capacity building to key stakeholders in the grain value chain, said Gerald Makau Masila, Executive Director at EAGC.

Masila said EAGI is the first in Africa and aspires to be the industry leader in delivering customized training and educational programs for players in the grain sector and other agricultural value chains.

Initially, the EAGI aims to cover 9 countries of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Zambia, Malawi and South Sudan.

Jackson Kiraka a project officer from EAGI said they anticipate that stakeholders in other regions in Africa will benefit from the training provided by the EAGI as has, for instance, emerged from market players under the ECOWAS and COMESA regions.

Courses to be offered by EAGI include:

  • grain post-harvest handling techniques and technologies, including grain warehousing and storage management;
  • structured trading systems for the grain sector, including grain quality standardization and grading, as well as utilization of warehouse receipt systems in promoting structured trade and market linkages;
  • inventory‐backed structured financing; and
  • managing price and other market risks using instruments such as futures and options contracts offered by commodity exchange.

It is anticipated that, by fostering the development of new marketing and finance institutions in the grain value chains through capacity building, the Institute will boost growth and productivity in the sector and also catalyze jobs creation.

This will include increasing demand for exciting new and or better‐skilled professionals in warehouse/collateral management, grain grading and quality certification, and exchange brokers or agents (similar to stock brokers).

The Institute will furthermore contribute to enhancing the capacity of policymakers to manage policy and regulatory issues affecting the grain sector and agriculture in general by providing training based on cross‐country evidence from the region and other African and developing countries.

Stakeholders in the grains value chains including farmers, traders, grain handler, processors, millers and consumers particularly in Eastern Africa and Southern Africa region are expected to benefit from training at the Institute.

Others to benefit will be the national and regional‐level policymakers, managers of national strategic reserves agencies, non‐governmental organizations working with farmers and/or on food security programmes and the regional economic communities (REC).

It will support the development of the commercial value chains by building the capacity of key stakeholders, thereby enabling them to effectively utilize emerging new agricultural marketing and finance institutions such as agricultural commodity exchanges, said Jackson Kiraka.

The EAGC is collaborating with the Natural Resources Institute of the University of Greenwich and other leading institutions and universities in Eastern Africa, in designing and developing the training programmes.

The proposed courses are based on a training needs analysis and stakeholder consultations, which was recently conducted in the region.

Each of the courses would have a certification process, with the possibility of advancing to post‐graduate degree qualifications from the Greenwich University in the United Kingdom.

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