EAST African Community (EAC) partner states have validated the draft Fertiliser Policy and Fertiliser Bill.
After a series of technical persons’ meetings, the drafts are now certified and will go through final processes with responsible ministers expected to okay them.
The process to validate goes in series of conferences by technical persons from individual member states then at regional level.
In June this year, EAC Secretariat conducted economic and legal diagnostic studies to examine the status of domestication of harmonised seed and fertiliser policies, laws, regulations and standards.
The findings of the diagnostic studies served as basis for the formulation of the draft EAC Fertiliser Policy and draft EAC Fertiliser Bill.
EAC Secretariat’s Director of Productive Sectors Jean Baptiste Havugimana underscored the need to put in place a transformational policy instrument to trigger immediate interventions responding to the needs of smallholder farmers in the region.
He said it was his hope that this time round the policy and bill will work, noting that over the past decade, the EAC partner states successfully adopted several policy documents in the fertiliser sub-sector but the impact on the ground remained unchanged.
Mr Havugimana recalled one of the previous directives from the Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security (SCAFS) - reflecting the heads of states aspirations–which di rected the secretariat and partner states to establish two fertiliser factories in the region, namely Tanzania and Kenya, to satisfy the region’s demand in fertiliser and thereby save foreign currency, monies that would have been spent on fertiliser imports.
“It is an era of action now; the regional policy should be based on evidence on ground. The evidence should be informative on how and where we failed, so that a decisive action should be followed up,” said Mr Havugimana, who represented Mr Christophe Bazivamo, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of the Productive and Social Sectors, at the meeting.
Chairperson of the meeting, Dr Charles Murekezi, recalled that the 37th meeting of the Council of Ministers had directed the Secretariat to extend the harmonisation process to other agriculture inputs following a report on harmonisation of seed regulations.
“The EAC’s efforts to harmonise seed and fertiliser come as identified priorities to drive agricultural productivity and food and nutrition security. Notable progress has been made by EAC on Seed and Fertiliser legislations including the adoption of EAC Regulatory Framework and Procedures for Fertiliser Marketing by the 7th Meeting of SCAFs, adoption of the harmonised framework for Seed Legislation in the EAC by the 8th SCAFs, and adoption EAC seed Bill by 12th SCAFs,” said Dr Murekezi who is also the Director General for Agriculture Development in the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources of Rwanda.