Developing Supply/Value Chains
To increase regional competitiveness in target value chains, USAID COMPETE works with firms and regional trade associations such as the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC), the Eastern African Fine Coffees Association (EAFCA) and the African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF), to improve market access and increase quality standards and advocate for an improved trading environment.
COMPETE works in the following value chains:
Staple Foods. With support of the U.S. Feed the Future initiative to improve food security, USAID COMPETE works to reduce poverty by increasing small holder farmers’ access to regional staple foods markets. Regional integration makes it easier to shift food from areas that have a surplus to those with shortages, increasing availability and reducing price volatility. USAID COMPETE promotes use of warehouse receipts and structured trading systems such as commodity exchanges to provide smallholder farmers access to regional commercial markets. From improving access to market information, to using GIS mapping to plot the location of grain storage facilities, USAID supports the development of innovative technologies for sharing information such as the Regional Agricultural Trade Intelligence Network (www.RATIN.net) on the trade and availability of staple foods. Successful bulking, storing and agro-dealer models are being scaled up and rolled out throughout the East and Central Africa (ECA) region.
Cotton/Textiles/Apparel (CTA). USAID COMPETE has supported ACTIF and COMESA to develop a comprehensive regional competitiveness strategy to guide the region’s support to the CTA sector. ACTIF has become an industry voice in regional and international trade deliberations and has guided COMESA and the EAC on Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations to include a single transformation provision for the textile and apparel exports. USAID COMPETE has supported over $47 million dollars of CTA exports to the U.S. under AGOA. With USAID COMPETE’s Origin Africa buyer awareness campaign, ACTIF is reaching out to the African design community to build a domestic market for African produced fashion, and setting the stage for economic growth.
Specialty Coffee. Selling high quality coffee puts more money in coffee farmers’ pockets. Exports of specialty coffee have increased by 25% annually in the East African region since 2001 through the work of USAID COMPETE and USAID bilateral programs. East African producers exported over $317 million of specialty coffee during the 2010 coffee season. Exports in 2001 were only $60 million. Working with the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI), USAID supports the “Q” grade coffee classification concept to add more value to medium grade premium coffees. USAID COMPETE supports EAFCA through the Know Your Cup and Taste of Harvest competitions that increase awareness of the region’s specialty coffees.