NAIROBI– African countries have been urged to invest in market information systems to assist farmers’ access to ready markets for their produce.
Delegates at a trade consultative meeting of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) here Wednesday noted that African countries had been spending huge amounts of money on importing food which is regionally available at a lower price.
The global trade currently recorded by Comesa’s 19 member nations stands at 236 billion US dollars with intra-Comesa trade contributing a paltry 8.0 billion USD to the total, or only about 7.0 per cent.
Stakeholders at the meeting attributed the poor intra-African trade to little market information and data collection on goods and services available in member States.
Agriculture constitutes a large percentage of African imports even though most of the imported foodstuffs can be acquired regionally and more cheaply.
Delegates urged African countries to come up with a uniform quality standardization model to ease the flow of goods across member states. Concern was also raised over tax regimes in the block with some countries yet to fully comply with agreements to minimize trade barriers.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK