On March 1, 2010 ACTESA signed an agreement with COMESA on the implementation of agricultural programmes in the region. The agreement is meant to accelerate the implementation of regional initiatives in agriculture, trade and investment.
Key areas of focus assigned to ACTESA include the development of regional agricultural policies; promotion of investments in agriculture; promotion of trade in agro commodity products and development of production and marketing structures; development of the agricultural, livestock, pastoral and fisheries sectors and consultation with the private sector and civil society organisations on agricultural development matters especially agro commodities trade.
The main goal of ACTESA is to increase farmer productivity and incomes in the Eastern and Southern Africa region through trade in strategic agricultural commodities.
ACTESA is an answer to the region’s agricultural challenges that include trade related constraints, low productivity, technological and policy related constraints. It is an important institution in a region where 85 percent of all staple crop producers are smallholders and of these, only about 15 percent produce for the market and are characterized by poor organization with no predictable selling mechanisms.
ACTESA responds to the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP)’s Pillar II and III agenda, that seek to improve rural infrastructure and trade-related capacities for market access and increase food supply, reduce hunger, and improve responses to food emergency crises respectively.
Consequently, ACTESA is the primary agency for achieving the COMESA vision of increased regional integration and improved competitiveness of staple food markets, leading to broad based growth and decreased food insecurity.
Specifically, the objectives of ACTESA are to:
- Improve competitiveness and integration of staple foods markets in the region through improved micro and macro economic policies as the drivers of staple food markets;
- Improve and expand market facilities and services for key agricultural commodities;
- Increase the commercial integration of smallholder farmers into national and regional markets.
ACTESA focuses on building market information systems, providing services and increasing commercialization of smallholders in the following sub-sectors:
- Grains and pulses
- Oil seeds
- Roots and tubers
- Livestock and fisheries
- Forest and Natural products
- Tree and plantation crops
- Agriculture inputs
ACTESA targets geographical areas within eastern and southern Africa that include a larger number of vulnerable populations but also have the potential to produce surplus staples for the market.
The target beneficiaries from these areas are farming communities in selected areas that are drought prone, emerging from conflicts, or otherwise vulnerable and may or not be receiving support from food assistance programs to improve their production systems.
By creating ACTESA, COMESA member States showed commitment to ensuring that food assistance and other types of food security interventions in the region are development oriented, and promote sustainability of food security among target beneficiaries.
ACTESA’s key financial partners include:
- The United States Agency for International Development (USAID);
- The UK’s Department for International Development (DfID)
- World Food Programme (WFP)
- The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)
- Australian Aid (AusAID)
- The European Commission (EC)
ACTESA’s major implementing partners:
- Farmers’ Organisations;
- Trade associations;
- Commodity associations;
- Agro civil society;
- Commercial and development banks;
- Microfinance institutions;
- Market institutions;
- Seed and fertilizer associations;
- Research institutions.