Word of Welcome

Dear friends, colleagues, and partners,

I am pleased to join the FoodTrade ESA team at a very exciting and pivotal time in the life of the programme. As we enter the final year, we are focused on consolidating the gains in partnership with our grantee organisations and private sector firms that are committed to building more effective staple food trading systems.

Our objective remains building even stronger coherence across our Challenge Fund and Development Fund grantees as we look to the future. We want to ensure that strong linkages are established with sectoral stakeholders and service providers for continuity, ensuring that activities will lead to sustainable impact. We are keen to capture and share lessons learned from the various models we have piloted and to tell our outcome-level stories that highlight impact on the small holder farmer, private sector firms, and other core partners in driving the regional trade agenda for staple foods.

The G-SOKO trading platform which we funded and developed in partnership with the Eastern Africa Grain Council and other partners, remains critical to consolidating our efforts in promoting staple food trade in East Africa. Addressing the barriers to free flow of food across borders, promoting the adoption of food standards with countries, and unlocking private sector investment in staple food value chains will complement broader efforts to improve regional trade. Our foundational work in this first phase of the programme is catalytic in ensuring that small holder farmers, traders and consumers continue to benefit from better coordinated and more efficient value chains.

I look forward to engaging with you in accelerating staple food trade across the region.