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Thursday, March 01, 2012

AGRA and ILRI publish proceedings of international conference on priority actions for market development for African farmers

A Mozambican farmer takes her maize harvest to market. Development of agricultural markets in sub-Saharan Africa can boost economic growth and improve livelihoods (photo credit: ILRI/Mann). 

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) have released the proceedings of an international conference held in Nairobi, Kenya in May 2009 to examine the role of agricultural markets in spurring economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa and improving livelihoods.

The AGRA-ILRI conference brought together 150 of the world’s leading market experts to document the practices, policies and investments that can drive agricultural market development in sub-Saharan Africa; reveal the gaps and shortcomings that continue to create barriers; and identify priority actions that should be taken by governments, the private sector, donors and other stakeholders.

The issues discussed at the conference are especially timely in light of recent surges in food prices and the significant burden this is inflicting on millions of poor people, underscoring the urgent need for action.

The proceedings include two papers lead-authored by researchers from ILRI's Markets, Gender and Livelihoods theme.

The paper, Integrating informal actors into the formal dairy industry in Kenya through training and certification by Amos Omore and Derek Baker reviews current thinking on the role of informal agribusiness in pro-poor development, and reports on the example the Smallholder Dairy Project in Kenya.

The project featured collaborative and participatory research, along with training and certification in hygienic milk handling practices as a practical mechanism for optimizing milk quality and addressing regulatory barriers.

It also targeted and helped achieve policy change, which enabled wider piloting of the training and certification activities incorporating a business development service approach by national authorities.

In their paper, The impact of non-tariff barriers on maize and beef trade in East Africa author Joseph Karugia and others report on the use a spatial equilibrium model to quantify the impact of non-tariff barriers – such as licences, taxes and customs duties – on the intra-country flow of trade in maize and beef in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

The study found that reducing or completely removing the existing non-tariff barriers would result in increased intra-regional trade flows, with Kenya importing more maize from both Uganda and Tanzania, while Uganda’s beef exports to Kenya and Tanzania would increase. The overall result would be positive net welfare gains for the maize and beef sub-sectors across the entire East African Community.

Download the full book or individual sections
  • Synthesis of outcomes
  • Section 1: Developing pro-poor markets for African smallholder farmers
  • Section 2: Seed and fertilizer markets
  • Section 3: Strengthening finance, insurance and market information
  • Section 4: High-value commodities and agroprocessing
  • Section 5: Building market institutions
  • Section 6: Encouraging regional trade
For more information
Contact Anne Mbaabu of AGRA (AMbaabu @ or Steve Staal of ILRI (s.staal @ or visit the conference website.

ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute). 2011. Towards priority actions for market development for African farmers: Proceedings of an international conference. 13-15 May 2009, Nairobi, Kenya. AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa) and ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute), Nairobi, Kenya.

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