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Rural Farmers Are East Africa’s strongest Army During Pandemics, EABC discovers

They are usually taken for granted, but when global disasters strike, it is the peasants in rural villages that come into rescue


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The biggest army which usually shields East African countries during pandemics is not military ones, but rather the humble peasants who produce food crops in rural farms.

That’s among the findings by the East African Business Council as tabled during the regional press conference on the impact of COVID-19 on logistics, manufacturing, agriculture and tourism.

During the two and a half years of Covid-19 pandemic, global recession and lockdowns, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and the other four East African Countries remained stable economically due to the resilient agricultural sector in the region.

“It is high time that all the East African Member States start taking farming activities seriously including allocating more funds into their respective agricultural budgets,” stated John Bosco Kalisa, the Executive Officer for the East African Business Council.

Despite being usually taken for granted as a sector for the less educated majority, it was actually the Agriculture sector which shielded all East African Countries from facing recession during the two years of global pandemic.

John Bosco Kalisa

“The whole world did suffer from the pandemic, but inflation among East African countries remained under control because the region was food sufficient,” points out Mr Kalisa.

The mostly informal agricultural sector employs more than 80 percent of the populations in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, South-Sudan and DR Congo.

But other than the strong agriculture sector, cohesion among partner states was yet another factor which fortified the East African Region against negative effects of the pandemic.

Still COVID-19 disrupted international and regional supply chains, adversely affecting transport and logistics sectors, in the process.

In East Africa cross-border business operations and consequently intra-EAC trade and investments were also affected but authorities rapidly moved to address the matter.

“Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, EABC partnered with Trademark East Africa on the Safe Trade Project to reduce barriers to trade within the region,” added the EABC Executive.

Trademark East Africa pumped USD 32 Million in support of the Safe Trade Project.

The fund was invested in undertaking intervention measures to rescue cross-border logistics and trading activities in East Africa.

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