Webinar [ID: 143]

Trade-related capacity development for food security and nutrition

In this webinar, Georgios Mermigkas and Ishrat Gadhok – both from the Trade and Markets Division (EST) of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – provided insights from FAO’s Multipartner Programme Support Mechanism (FMM) project on Trade-related capacity development for food security and nutrition. Implemented in 2017 in Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia, this particular FMM project sought to achieve results at both regional and national levels. Its overall objective was to improve food security in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA).

The speakers first outlined the context and objectives of the project before summarizing the project outputs. They then discussed lessons learned through the project and concluded the presentation with a discussion of FAO’s ongoing work on trade, food security and nutrition, particularly in Africa.

Given that increasing agricultural productivity depends on improvements in productive capacity – typically supported through agricultural policy instruments – and efficient market access – affected by trade policy instruments –, countries need to ensure that agriculture and trade policies are mutually reinforcing for the effective use of scarce public resources. In this context, the FMM project focussed on the harmonization and alignment of agriculture and trade policymaking processes.

At the regional level, the project implemented e-learning courses on agricultural trade in ESA and established a regional network of trade policy experts. At the national level, FAO conducted diagnostic assessment of policy coherence and developed jointly prioritized projects and programmes.

Key lessons emerging from the project were:

  • It is important to make policy priorities in each of the focus countries more concrete. One way to achieve this is to promote more inclusive consultations with local government officials and with the private sector in policy formulation.
  • There is a need to better channel the limited resources that exist in the focus countries and this can be achieved through:
    • Strengthening the role and influence of National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPs) and trade policy frameworks (e.g. the African Continental Free Trade Agreement) as references in annual planning and budgeting.
    • Supporting policy implementation, for instance through maintaining cross-sectoral coordination, including between technical level officials from the formulation through to the development of joint programmes.
  • It is important to improve coordination among donors and development partners by focusing on common priorities between agriculture and trade.

The project has shown that there are some common priorities between agriculture and trade:

  • Strengthening farm-to-market segment of priority value chains
  • Coordinated application of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures and trade facilitation (TF) instruments
  • Market information systems, data and policy analysis

Taking these priorities into consideration, the FAO has developed some project proposals for future work on trade, food security and nutrition in Africa. These include:

  • Establishment of an East Africa Dairy Platform
  • Integrated implementation of SPS and TF measures in Africa
  • Expanded offering of capacity development service


Georgios Mermigkas & Ishrat Gadhok | FAO Trade and Markets Division

The final part of the Autumn Webinar Series that the Global Donor Platform 



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