The European Union has launched the second phase of €40 million project aimed at spurring agribusiness in the East African Community (EAC).

The EU-EAC Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP II) was launched in Arusha, Tanzania and is targeted at supporting farmers to improve their agriculture enterprises by unlocking the full potential of agribusinesses within the EAC.

Implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) in collaboration with the EAC Secretariat, MARKUP II will strengthen EAC’s small businesses through enhanced regional and international trade in close partnership with the East African Business Council, EAC Partner States, business support organisations, and local institutions.

Building on the successes of MARKUP I, the new phase will focus on EAC priority sectors including avocado, cocoa, coffee, essential oils, French beans, gum Arabic, horticulture, leather, packaging, spices, and tea.

The project will be keen on processing, value addition, diversification, investment, and export linkages.

A new development in MARKUP II includes packaging as a standalone and crosscutting value chain, addressing the unique challenges of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the EAC.

Speaking during the launch, Peter Mathuki, Secretary General of the EAC said the MARKUP programme contributed immensely in value addition through improved coffee processing, cupping certifications, resource efficiency and circular production in the tea and coffee sectors in the region.

 “About 700 enterprises specifically MSMEs in the region were supported through MARKUP I to improve their business operations and export,” said Mr Mathuki

“International transactions worth more than $10 million were generated and MSMEs accessed finances worth $9 million.”

EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki during the launch of MARKUP programme in Arusha, Tanzania.
EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki during the launch of MARKUP programme in Arusha, Tanzania. Image: courtesy. 

On her part, Christine GRAU, European Union Ambassador to Tanzania said MARKUP II demonstrates the EU’s commitment to supporting East African companies, fostering sustainable growth, and creating decent job opportunities.”

Ms Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director, International Trade Centre, commended the great results of MARKUP I working closely with the EU and longstanding partner, the EAC.

“Our joint efforts to strengthen the region’s agricultural and horticultural sectors will help small businesses become more competitive on the international stage and help deliver on sustainable development priorities for the region and the continent,” said the official.

“Our joint efforts to strengthen the region’s agricultural and horticultural sectors will help small businesses become more competitive on the international stage and help deliver on sustainable development priorities for the region and the continent,” said the official.

MARKUP I boosted EAC exports, for instance, coffee exports to EU markets more than doubled from €488 million in 2018 to €1.1 billion in 2022, and avocado exports rose from €85.5 million to €112.4 million.

In the first phase project, more than 115 companies achieved a collective $16 million in sales and exports.

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