Since Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania agreed to open borders for trade, a lot of changes have been seen in agribusiness. One will not fail to see produce moving from one country to the other, amidst cries by some local producers who feel the open borders have ruined their ability to compete favorably with farmers from other countries who receive subsidies in the production process. Kenyan maize farmers have been complaining about the influx of maize from Uganda because it is cheaper. Even as the maize farmers cry foal on the losses they incur because of failure to sell their produce or selling at low prices to match that of Uganda, a lot of positive has come out of opening the borders, especially for agribusiness.
Increased food security
Before the borders were opened, each country had to go through a period of the inadequate food supply, especially with the unpredictable weather patterns. This shortage led to increased food prices which were often beyond what most of the population could afford. Today, any shortage in one country is supplemented by supplies from another country.
Increased income opportunities
Although middle men are often accused of ruining market prices, they have played a crucial role in the movement of food in East Africa. Many farmers do not have what it takes to move their produce from one country to the other. Besides the logistical challenges, many do not know how to go about it. This lack of knowledge has led many farmers to appreciate the role the middle men have played in finding markets for their produce, especially when the local market is saturated. Many people have taken the role of being middle men. Now they are able to make a living and make their contribution to the economy. Those in the transport business have also benefitted immensely. Many farmers in Uganda have been able to convert what would otherwise be waste into raw materials used in the production of animal feeds. These raw materials are highly sought after by animal feeds producers from Kenya and Tanzania.
Introduction of new markets for produce
Getting ready market for produce is every farmer’s nightmare. For a long time, many farmers produced what they could not sell. It was not because of poor quality, but due to lack of markets. Many farmers in East Africa follow the rain patterns when planning their farming activities. This is especially true for crop farmers who rely on rain to boost their production. This results in over production where supply exceeds demand. Unfortunately, most of the food produced is perishable. Today, the opportunities to sell produce to other markets have encouraged farmers to plant more so they can sell more. There are always new market places that come up due to demand. Farming is no longer looked at as production of food for the population. Instead, it is a business which is increasingly becoming profitable for those, who for a long time, felt their labor was not being rewarded.