Subregional Office

 

 for Eastern Africa (SFE)

 

top image
 

About SFE

Introduction

The Subregional Office for Eastern Africa (SFE) serves eight countries -  Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda. SFE is an advisory service centre to the countries it covers, with a core team of professionals based in Addis Ababa and the capacity to also draw upon a large body of expertise in FAO Headquarters and in its Accra-based Regional Office for Africa (RAF).

The sub-region has a population of about 300 million; with this number generally growing faster than 2.5% per annum (and therefore subject to doubling every 30 years).  Current pervasive poverty will require extraordinarily rapid income growth for the largely rural populations. The prime challenge for agriculture is therefore to find ways for its accelerated but also profitable growth so it can uplift large numbers of people out of poverty. A related need is to find adequate non-farm income opportunities for currently land-dependent rural households to exit agriculture, so leaving more land per unit farm for economies of scale in commercialising the rural economy. Low input/low output approach to agriculture explains the fact that although the SFE sub-region has less than 4 percent of the world’s population, it consumes the most food aid in the world (19% of 2001/03 global total) in an Africa that in turn dominates the world as food aid recipient (35% of global total) (Table 1).

Another challenge is indicated by FAO production statistics: that SFE countries are generally marginal producers of mainstream commodities that enter world trade but are often among the lead producers of an assortment of locally vital but globally less important products, examples being goat meat, camel milk, camel meat, plantains, sorghum, various millets, sweet potatoes etc. But even for these internationally low-profile products, SFE production is not enough: if it were, there would be little need for reliance on food aid. For commodities used by other countries to achieve economic success, such as sugar, pineapples (Thailand); rice (Thailand , Vietnam), coffee (Vietnam); sugar (Brazil, Thailand); soyabean (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay); palm oil (Malaysia, Indonesia); forest products (Indonesia) etc, SFE hardly features on an international scale (Table 2).

Table 1: SFE annual food aid shipments by destination in context (2001-3 averaged)
(Eritrea included for Horn of Africa completeness)

Recipient

Cereals

Non-Cereals

Total

Mt/year

% of global

Mt/year

% of global

Mt/year

% of global

Burundi

42816

 

13724

 

56540

 

Djibouti

10951

 

1741

 

12692

 

Eritrea

242031

 

27600

 

269631

 

Ethiopia

861261

 

20427

 

881688

 

Kenya

139848

 

23614

 

163462

 

Rwanda

34104

 

24488

 

58592

 

Somalia

?

 

?

 

?

 

Sudan

126126

 

22344

 

148506

 

Uganda

75963

 

11394

 

87357

 

SFE countries#

1502400

20

176068

17

1678468

19

Africa#

2672161

35

371448

36

3043609

36

World

7467296

100

1025268

100

8492564

100

# = without Somalia receipts, which are significant.

Table 2: Highest SFE rank in production for selected commodities which have global mainstream trade potential

World mainstream commodity

Presence in global top 20 (and global rank)

SFE countries

Other African countries

Beef

None

S. Africa (No 15)

Maize

None

S. Africa (No 9); Nigeria (No 19)

Chicken meat

None

S Africa (No 15)

Cow milk

None

None

Mangoes

None

Nigeria (No 9); Egypt (No 10); Madagascar (No 16); Democratic Congo (No 17); Tanzania (No 18); Sudan (No 19)

Potatoes

None

None

Rice

None

Egypt (No 14); Nigeria (No 17); Madagascar (No 20)

Sugar cane

None

S. Africa (No 12); Egypt (No 15)

Tea

Kenya (No 4); Uganda (No 13); Rwanda (No 18)

Malawi (No 12); Tanzania (No 14); Zimbabwe (No 17), S. Africa (No 20)

Tobacco

None

Malawi (No 12); Zimbabwe (No 14)

Wheat

None

None