East African Legislative Assembly, Zanzibar, Tanzania: 12 October,

The Assembly today has added its voice to the push for more
budgetary allocation in the agricultural sector in Partner States and
to ensure legal and regulatory frameworks are responsive to the needs
of the smallholder farmers, youth, women and other sectors.

The increase in budgetary allocations is in line with the Malabo
Declaration and the Assembly says the target which is pegged at least
10%, needs to be met annually or progressively.

The legislators are similarly urging the EAC Secretariat to
institutionalise a Regional Agriculture Advisory Council to advise on
the harmonization of the regional agriculture policy frameworks and
programmes. Such a Council, EALA says, could comprise of EAC/EALA
Secretariat and representatives from Partner States, academia,
regional Farmer Organisations and Civil Society as well as consumers.

At the same time, Partner States need to increase the quality of
investments by addressing national priorities connected with farmers
while addressing existing challenges. Consequently, increase in the
absorption rate in the agriculture sector with a correlation between
budget allocation, agriculture returns and sectoral growth targets is
absolutely necessary.

The recommendations are contained in a report arising from the
Agriculture Budget Summit, 2016 held in Arusha on June 4th, 2016. The
meeting, then, opened by EALA Member, Hon Chris Opoka and themed
“Increasing Public investment in Agriculture towards Ending Hunger and
Poverty by 2025 in the EAC” was organized to support the
implementation of the Malabo Declaration of 2014-2025.

The meeting among other things, sort to increase public awareness on
the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP)
Results framework and importance of public financing of agriculture
that supports smallholders as catalyst for improved Private Sector
investment. It further wanted to enhance Civil Society Organizations,
small scale farmers’ involvement in agriculture financing policy
processes for improved public financing for agriculture at national
and the East African Community level.

The Summit was attended by EALA Members from the Committee on
Agriculture, Tourism and Natural Resources, Committee Chairpersons
from Partner States’ National Parliaments and CAADP Focal points from
EAC Partner States. Other Partners were from various organizations
such as Trust Africa, ActionAid International, Agriculture Non-State
Actors Forum (ANSAF) and the Coalition of Non-State Actors on CAADP
amongst others.

The meeting underscored the need for the EAC/EALA to expedite the
domestication of the Malabo Declaration 2014 -2025 by putting in place
a regional legally binding Protocol or instruments to ensure regional
realization of its goals.

In the past, EALA has contributed significantly to the discussions in
the region by ensuring formulation of key recommendations to
strengthen the agriculture sector, in line with the Maputo Declaration
on “Agriculture and Food Security” and Malabo Declaration on
“Accelerated Agricultural Growth. The Assembly is also keen on taking
up the issues of land rush which is a hindrance to agriculture
development in the region and in Africa, in general as well as in
overseeing development of a regional legal framework on sustainable
investment in agriculture.

The report of the Meeting which was tabled in the House by Hon
Patricia Hajabakiga on behalf of the ATNR Committee further takes an
incisive analysis of the Partner States’ situations.

During debate, Hon Maryam Ussi called on the region to support the
smalls scale farmers by implementing the 10% budgetary increase as per
the Malabo Declaration.

Hon Mike Sebalu remarked the relations between the Assembly and
farmers’ organisations were very cordial and that the voice of the
farmers continued to be championed by EALA. He remarked that it was
time for agriculture to be prioritized and that a value system that
inculcates agriculture should be embraced

Hon Shyrose Bhanji remarked that agriculture if well boosted by
sufficient budgets, would ensure the youth, women and other
stakeholders are catered for through employment opportunities.

 Hon ShyRose Bhanji makes her contribution on the floor earlier today
Hon ShyRose Bhanji makes her contribution on
the floor earlier today

“At the same time if land is well allocated, and utilised then it
would go a long way in eradicating poverty. To ensure this, finances
in terms of credit is to be output,” the legislator said.

The legislator challenged the small holder farmers to take advantage
of the Customs Union Protocol that offers with it free taxes on local

Hon Mumbi Ngaru informed the House to step up efforts to reach out to
stakeholders in the agricultural sector especially during its (EALA)
Sensitisation activities while Hon Nancy Abisai said it was necessary
to curb corruption if resources were to be made available.

 Hon Dr Odette Nyiramilimo speaks during the debate on the Agriculture Budget Summit 2016.  The report was passed by the Assembly
Hon Dr Odette Nyiramilimo speaks during the
debate on the Agriculture Budget Summit 2016. The report was passed
by the Assembly

The Report was also supported by Hon Taslima Twaha, Hon Chris Opoka,
Hon Dr Odette Nyiramilimo, and Hon Adam Kimbisa.

For more Information, contact: Bobi Odiko, Senior Public Relations Officer;
East African Legislative Assembly; Tel: +255-27-2508240 Cell: +255 787
870945+254-733-718036; Email:
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http://www.eala.org<http://www.eala.org/> Arusha, Tanzania