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EAC leaders strategise on long term food security

NAIROBI, June 28 – President Mwai Kibaki was Friday among other East African Community Heads of State who resolved to revamp the region’s potentiality to produce adequate food for both domestic consumption and export.

In a joint communiqué issued at the end of the 9th Ordinary Summit of EAC Heads of State in Kigali, Rwanda, the leaders observed that all factors contributing to low agricultural production have been identified and made a commitment to overcome them.

Key factors identified as hindrances to maximized food production include high prices of energy, fertilizers and pesticides and inadequate extension officers.

Other factors include vagaries of weather, inefficient transport systems, lack of high yielding seed varieties and inadequate affordable capital to farmers.

Noting that the EAC region is endowed with large and fertile land, the leaders said that the current food crisis in the world could provide an opportunity for the member states to exploit for the benefit of their citizens by modernizing agricultural systems and fill the gap in food supply.

As a strategy to boost agricultural productivity in the region, the leaders resolved to jointly finance fertilizer production by exploiting the vast natural gas and phosphate deposits in Uganda and Tanzania.

The Heads of State also directed the EAC Secretariat to liaise with Food and Agricultural Organization, African Union and the NEPAD to develop comprehensive policy response to the current food crisis and institute concrete measures to boost agricultural production and harmonize them with the existing regional and national needs.

With regard to the political situation in Zimbabwe, the Heads of State called for dialogue between the Zanu/PF and MDC to find an amicable solution in the best interest of all citizens of Zimbabwe adding that conducting election in the prevailing circumstances could not offer a long lasting solution to the current crisis.

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The Summit further underscored the need to expedite the implementation of the East African Power Master Plan in order to assure the region of adequate power supply.

With regard to the First East African Investment Conference, the leaders noted that, the Conference was both historic and a mark of deepened EAC regional integration.

The Summit unanimously elected President Paul Kagame of Rwanda the Chairperson of the EAC summit and his tenure took effect immediately.

The EAC leaders expressed satisfaction with the prevailing peaceful conditions in Burundi and reaffirmed their commitment with the on-going peace process spearheaded by the Government of President Pierre Nkurunziza.

The leaders urged the involved parties to remain on course to enable Burundi return to a state of security and stability and give room for the reconstruction and development of the country.

The Summit at the same time decided to institute a policy towards acquisition of houses for key staff of the Community and approved a proposal to provide a residence for Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly.

The Summit also appointed eight judges to serve in the East African Court of Justice; five to serve in the appellate division while the other three to serve in the first instance division.

Judges appointed to the appellate division were Justices Joseph N. Mulenga (Uganda), Harold Nsekela (Tanzania), Philip K. Tunoi (Kenya), Laurent Nzosaba (Burundi) and Lady Justice Emilie R. Kayitesi Rusera (Rwanda).

Judges appointed in the first instance division were Justices John Mkwawa (Tanzania), Jean Bosco Butasi (Burundi) and Johnstone Busingye (Rwanda).

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Justice Joseph N. Mulenga and Justice Harold R. Nsekela were designated the President and Vice-President of the court respectively.

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