Monday, August 08, 2011
By Kabanda Chulu in Kitwe
Mon 08 Aug. 2011, 11:59 CAT
COMESA Ministers of Agriculture have approved focus areas of the Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) aimed at improving competitiveness of the staple foods market through enhanced micro and macroeconomic policies.
And Comesa secretary general Sindiso Ngwenya has with immediate effect replaced ACTESA chief executive officer Dr Cris Muyunda with Dr Chungu Mwila, who has been Comesa director of investment promotion and private sector development.
According to a statement released on Friday, after the fourth joint meeting of the ministers of agriculture, environment and natural resources held in Swaziland, that the focus areas if implemented will result in a prosperous agricultural sector in the Comesa region.
It stated that ACTESA’s commitment to realising the market expansion, food and nutrition security objectives of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme must be reinforced.
“The key areas, which are outlined in the 10 year strategic plan, will focus on improved competitiveness of staple foods market through enhanced policies and other areas include improved and expanded market facilities and services for staple foods commercialisation and increased commercial integration of staple foods producers into national and regional markets,” the statement read.
And the Comesa Regional Agro-inputs Programme (COMRAP), which is aimed at contributing to improving rural food security and livelihoods, has been extended to the December 2011.
COMRAP was scheduled to end this month end and it is funded by the European Union and implemented by ACTESA.
It is expected that through COMRAP, three million smallholder farmers will have improved and sustainable access to agro-inputs and services in the Comesa region.
And Ngwenya said ACTESA has undergone institutional crisis and needed a man of Dr Mwila’s calibre to revive it and reconnect with cooperating partners such as national farmer groups grain associations and commodity exchanges, among other stakeholders.