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EAC women pray for tax-free Moringa products

EAST African businesswomen are still keeping tabs on an expected East African Community (EAC) Secretariat’s decision on a revised Simplified Trade Regime (STR) list.

Through the East African Women in Business Platform (EAWiBP), they approached the Secretariat December last year with a view of requesting it to tax-exempt Moringa products.

In a telephone interview with ‘Daily News’ here on Monday, a project leader with Value Addition for Increased Market Access in the Moringa Sector, Janice Kimaro said they were still waiting for the feedback from the EAC Secretariat, as it reels from the festivities.

“We are looking forward to EAC’s revised list as you know Moringa has not only huge economic value, but also nutritional and medicinal value and is currently in high demand across the world,” she disclosed.

STR is an arrangement implemented by Member States to formalise and improve the performance of the small scale cross border traders and enable them to benefit from the regional preferential treatment when importing or exporting goods within the region.      

According to Ms Kimaro, once included in the STR list, Moringa growers, traders and other players in the sector will reap fortunes from the fast-growing, drought-resistant tree.

Moringa has been used for centuries due to its medicinal properties and health benefits. It also has antifungal, antiviral, antidepressant, and anti-inflammatory properties.

The tree is native to India but also grows in Asia, Africa, and South America and is said to contain a variety of proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

Late last year, EAWiBP in collaboration with the EAC Secretariat, and financial support from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH through the Intra-Regional Trade Facility Initiative (IRTF), successfully held a workshop to launch the project Value Addition for Increased Market Access in the Moringa Sector.

The workshop included training for women in the Moringa value chain from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda on branding, packaging, and standard certification.

The project engages and supports women in Moringa production and trade and focuses on improving competitiveness and strengthening value addition for Moringa products for easy market access.

Addressing participants of the workshop, EAWiBP Chairperson, Angela Begaine said national associations of Moringa producers and traders had been established in Uganda (Uganda Moringa Association), Kenya (Kenya Moringa Association) and Tanzania (Tanzania Moringa Association, TAMOA) as well as a functional e-hub for showcasing and connecting women entrepreneurs in Moringa sector.

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Author:  EDWARD QORRO, Arusha

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