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e-COMESA: Number 84
A news bulletin for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
26 January 2007
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)


COMESA And Michigan State University Sign MoU On Expansion of regional trade in food

COMESA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Department of Agricultural Economics of Michigan State University, USA. The objectives of the MOU are, firstly, to provide COMESA with additional perspectives for facilitating further expansion of regional trade in food staples in order to stimulate agricultural production growth, broad-based income expansion and poverty reduction. Secondly, the MOU will seek to develop a broad program of research and outreach aimed at enhancing regional food security through improved regional marketing systems for food staples. Thirdly, the MOU will facilitate the capacity building of regional and national agricultural policy research organizations.

The MoU was granted a go ahead by the COMESA Council of Ministers at the Summit held in Djibouti last November (2006).

“COMESA has taken leadership in implementing the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). The overall goal of CAADP is to ‘Help African countries reach a higher path of economic growth through agriculturally-led development, which eliminates hunger, reduces poverty and food insecurity, and enables expansion of exports,” read a statement issued by the Secretariat at the end of the signing ceremony.

CAADP aims at increasing agricultural growth rates to six percent per year to create the wealth needed for rural communities and households in Africa to prosper. To achieve this goal, CAADP directs investment to four mutually reinforcing 'pillars' (i) extending the area under sustainable land management and reliable water control systems; (ii) improving rural infrastructure and trade-related capacities for improved market access; (iii) increasing food supply and reducing hunger; and (iv) agricultural research, technology dissemination and adoption. Each of these pillars incorporates policy, institutional reform and capacity building.

In order to effectively implement the CAADP agenda as a tool for attaining the Millennium Development Goal for cutting hunger and poverty, COMESA has forged partnerships with various stakeholders within and outside the region to ensure an informed implementation of agricultural programs. To date, agreements have been concluded with regional organizations such as ASARECA, FANRPAN and SACAU. On the international front, an agreement has been concluded with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Michigan State University is the second key international agricultural research entity that COMESA is partnering with after IFPRI.


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