The Wonders of Dried Ginger

The Wonders of Dried Ginger: A Flavorful Spice with Health Benefits

Ginger, known scientifically as Zingiber officinale, is a popular spice and herbal remedy that has been cherished for centuries due to its distinctive flavor and numerous health benefits. One of its versatile forms is dried ginger, which offers a concentrated and longer-lasting version of this potent root.

Production of Dried Ginger: The process of making dried ginger involves harvesting fresh ginger rhizomes, washing them thoroughly, and then either sun-drying or dehydrating them to reduce their moisture content. Once the ginger has been dried to the desired level, it is sorted and packaged for distribution and use.

A Flavorful Culinary Delight: Dried ginger carries an intense flavor that is more concentrated than fresh ginger. Its warm, aromatic, and slightly spicy taste can elevate the culinary experience of various dishes. In culinary applications, dried ginger is commonly used in spice blends, teas, soups, stews, marinades, and baked goods. It imparts a distinct zing to both sweet and savory dishes, making it a favorite in kitchens worldwide.

Digestive Aid and Immune Booster: Dried ginger has long been celebrated for its medicinal properties. One of its most renowned benefits is its ability to support digestion. It acts as a carminative, helping to ease indigestion, bloating, and nausea. Additionally, it can aid in improving appetite and alleviating gastrointestinal discomfort.

Moreover, dried ginger is a potent immune system booster. Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, it helps strengthen the body’s defenses against infections and diseases. Consuming dried ginger during colder months or when dealing with seasonal illnesses can help bolster the immune response and aid in a faster recovery.

Anti-Inflammatory and Pain Reliever: Ginger, in both its fresh and dried forms, contains bioactive compounds like gingerol, which possess powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Regular consumption of dried ginger may help reduce inflammation in the body and alleviate various types of pain, including muscle soreness, arthritis pain, and menstrual cramps.

Cautions and Considerations: While dried ginger offers numerous health benefits, it is essential to consume it in moderation, as excessive intake may cause digestive discomfort in some individuals. Additionally, those on blood-thinning medications should exercise caution, as ginger can have a mild blood-thinning effect.

In Conclusion: Dried ginger, with its concentrated flavor and health-enhancing properties, is a remarkable spice that has been valued for generations. From culinary delights to herbal remedies, this versatile spice continues to captivate the taste buds and improve well-being across the globe. Adding a dash of dried ginger to your favorite recipes or sipping it as a soothing tea can be a delightful way to savor its magic and enjoy its benefits.

Cocoa Prices Skyrocket to a 12-Year High

The price of cocoa, a critical raw material for chocolate production, reached its highest point in over 12 years on the New York Intercontinental Exchange. Climbing to $3,429 per metric ton during the trading session, cocoa prices settled at $3,407, marking a 1.4% increase. This surge follows a recent peak in London, where prices reached their highest in 46 years.

The soaring prices of cocoa can be attributed to the current scarcity of supply, particularly from West Africa, which is a major source of cocoa for chocolate makers worldwide. The region is experiencing an unusual decline in cocoa production, raising concerns among traders and chocolate producers. Adding to the uncertainties are worries about potentially negative weather conditions in the near future.

Analysts have singled out areas such as Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Cameroon as potential victims of drier-than-normal weather due to the developing El Nino pattern. In general, cocoa production tends to be weaker in El Nino years, and the strength of the current El Nino remains uncertain. Rabobank cocoa analyst Paul Joules points out that both the 2023/24 mid-crop and the 2024/25 main crop could be affected by these weather conditions.

In the number one cocoa producer, Ivory Coast, the amount of cocoa arriving at ports for export is estimated to be 4% lower compared to the previous year, signaling a decrease in production.

The bullish trend in cocoa prices is part of a broader rise in agricultural commodities. The scarcity of cocoa has put it in high demand, leading to an increase in prices. Moreover, other commodities such as raw sugar and Arabica coffee have also experienced price hikes.

Despite the recent surge in cocoa prices, traders and chocolate producers remain cautious as they face uncertainties surrounding supply and weather conditions. As cocoa continues to be one of the hottest agricultural commodities, stakeholders in the industry will closely monitor developments in West Africa and the potential impact on future cocoa crops.


Unlocking Nigeria’s Export Potential: The Cassava Opportunity in Africa

The Chairman of the National Quality Council (NQC), Osita Aboloma, has revealed an exciting prospect for Nigeria to capitalize on the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) by tapping into the vast export potential of cassava products, thus boosting the country’s foreign exchange earnings.

Aboloma’s Chief of Staff, Bola Fashina, emphasized the golden opportunity for various stakeholders in Nigeria’s cassava value chain to leverage initiatives fostered by the African Union Commission (AUC), the Pan African Quality Infrastructure (PAQI), and the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO). With Nigeria’s dominant position in cassava production within the continent, the potential for growth and development is immense.

The upcoming African Cassava Conference, set to take place in Abuja from October 15 to 17, 2023, is dedicated to the theme: “Stimulating Africa’s Industrialisation Through Development of and Assuring Quality Along The Cassava Value Chain.” Aboloma believes that such initiatives can greatly enhance intra-African trade, boost economic prosperity for Africans, and strengthen the continent’s trading relationships on the global stage.

Applauding the efforts of the African Union Leadership and the PAQI in promoting quality infrastructure, Aboloma assured the Local Organising Committee (LOC) members of the National Quality Council’s unwavering support to ensure the conference’s success. The Council is committed to collaborating with the African Union Commission, the PAQI, and other stakeholders and development partners in Nigeria and across Africa in initiatives related to promoting quality standards.

Aboloma challenged the LOC members to work collectively and harmoniously to ensure Nigeria’s successful hosting, further advancing the goals of the AfCFTA Agreement for the greater benefit of the entire continent and its people. He encouraged them to bring their expertise, experiences, and patriotism to ensure the triumph of the African Cassava Conference.

The Local Organising Committee includes representatives from various organizations and institutions, such as the Nigerian National Accreditation Service (NiNAS), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Nigerian Agribusiness Group (NABG), HarvestPlus Nigeria, Marbles & Gardens, Ekap Achi Foundation, and ABOMAX Group as event managers.

The African Cassava Conference is set to attract participants from all corners of the continent, ranging from farmers, processors, importers, exporters, manufacturers, research institutions, agricultural financial institutions, to government agencies and the media. With this assembly of diverse minds, the stage is set for Nigeria to seize the cassava opportunity and unlock its export potential, leaving a lasting impact on Africa’s economic landscape.

Enhancing Intra-African Trade and Sustainable Agriculture: Resolutions from the 14th African Union High Level Private Sector Forum

The 14th African Union High Level Private Sector Forum, held in Nairobi, Kenya, called upon African Union (AU) member states to embrace policies fostering intra-African trade in food production. A primary focus was on removing Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs), which currently render imports from outside the continent more expensive than locally produced food.

To boost food security and agricultural productivity, member states were urged to invest in irrigation agriculture and move away from excessive reliance on rain-fed practices. Encouraging the participation of the youth in agriculture was another key resolution to ensure increased production and reduce food insecurity.

Addressing the urgency of climate change, the forum advocated for the adoption of resilient food systems that employ technologies to mitigate post-harvest losses. Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) were highly recommended to facilitate sustainable financing and management of agro-industrial parks and regional value chains.

Aligning agribusiness priorities with existing declarations and development programs such as the Malabo and Maputo declarations and the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) was deemed crucial for coordinated progress.

Investments in transportation and logistics were seen as pivotal to scaling up agribusinesses and ensuring food security across the continent.

Reliable and affordable energy supplies were identified as crucial for economic growth. The forum encouraged AU member states to mobilize additional financing for Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and to upgrade energy infrastructure while removing barriers for private investors in the energy sector.

Digital trade was acknowledged as a significant driver of economic growth. Thus, AU member states were called upon to develop electronic payments and settlement systems, harmonize user fees on mobile money payments, and promote digital literacy and business networks.

To boost the textile and apparel industry, innovation centers were recommended in the five African regions, aimed at promoting African fashion based on common cultural identity. Policies to ban the importation of second-hand clothes were also suggested to support the development of the value chain and local industries.

Overall, the forum stressed the importance of collaboration between governments, the private sector, and the AU Commission to achieve sustainable economic growth, enhance trade, and develop African industries. By adopting these resolutions, African nations can pave the way for a brighter and more prosperous future.

New Genomic Techniques in Agriculture: Benefits, Risks, and Regulatory Considerations

The European Union (EU) Commission is set to release a draft proposal for the regulation of New Genomic Techniques (NGTs) in July 2023. NGTs, also known as gene editing techniques, involve targeted mutations in the genome of living organisms. This article aims to explain NGTs, their distinction from traditional breeding methods, their potential benefits and risks in agriculture, and the need for effective regulation of NGT-derived products.

Understanding New Genomic Techniques (NGTs) and Differentiation from Traditional Breeding

NGTs enable precise editing of an organism’s genes, resulting in desired traits within a few generations. Notably, NGTs do not involve the insertion of foreign genetic material, unlike genetically modified organisms (GMOs) produced through biotechnology. CRISPR/Cas9 is one such NGT, allowing precise DNA editing at the base level. Traditional breeding methods, on the other hand, rely on time-consuming crossing processes, which may lead to unintended mutations.

Differentiating NGT-Derived Foods from GMOs

NGT-derived foods are created through targeted editing of an organism’s existing genes, while GMOs involve the transfer of genes between species. Currently, there is no production of NGT-derived plants or animals in the EU due to strict regulations on GMOs. However, imported goods like processed foods and animal feed may contain NGT-derived components.

Examples and Benefits of NGTs in Agriculture

While NGT production is limited in the EU, other regions are experiencing progress. NGT-derived crops include salt-tolerant rice, virus-resistant cassava, high oleic acid soybeans, and non-browning bananas. The benefits of NGTs in agriculture are significant. They enable rapid adaptation to changing conditions, enhance breeding speed, increase yields, reduce pesticide use, and contribute to sustainable food production and farmer incomes. NGTs can also address challenges posed by climate change and plant diseases.

Potential Risks and Regulation of NGTs

One concern is the unknown impact of NGTs on wild relatives of crops and the unintended release of new genetic traits into nature. The use of “gene drive,” a powerful NGT designed to eliminate entire populations, requires careful study. If NGTs are used to create herbicide-resistant crops, it may lead to increased herbicide usage. However, ongoing research aims to enhance plant defense mechanisms rather than relying on pesticides.

Safety of NGT-Derived Foods

Scientific evidence suggests that NGT-derived foods do not pose higher risks than those derived from other breeding technologies. Naturally occurring genetic changes between generations and the precise mutations achieved by NGTs during evolution minimize health concerns. Nevertheless, all food products undergo safety testing regardless of the breeding technology employed.

Global Presence and Regulation of NGTs

Currently, NGT-derived crops are primarily grown in North and South America. Developing countries in Africa and South Asia are also embracing NGTs. Countries such as Japan, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, India, and Kenya have implemented regulations that differentiate NGT-derived products from GMOs.

Effective Regulation for Sustainable Crops

The EU Court of Justice classified NGT-derived products as GMOs, subjecting them to strict European GMO legislation. However, a more nuanced approach is required. Evaluating NGT-derived products on a case-by-case basis, considering their specific attributes rather than categorically banning the method, is essential. Rigorous safety testing, traceability, labeling, and evidence-based communication of the environmental benefits of NGTs empower informed consumer choices.


The proposed regulation of NGTs by the EU Commission highlights the need for effective oversight and regulation. NGTs offer significant benefits in agriculture, including enhanced breeding speed, increased yields, and reduced pesticide usage. Mitigating

Harnessing the Benefits of Modern Biotechnology for Agricultural Advancement in Tanzania

In the past three decades, modern biotechnology has rapidly advanced, bringing positive impacts to agriculture, human health, and animal health. Recognizing its potential to enhance productivity in various sectors, the Tanzanian government has implemented several policies and systems to promote the safe use of biotechnology. The National Biotechnology Policy of 2010, National Agricultural Policy of 2013, and National Modern Biotechnology Management System of 2005 are among these initiatives.

The safe use of modern biotechnology involves employing biological systems of living organisms to develop and improve products and processes for specific purposes. This includes genetic engineering or genetic modification (GMO), which transfers desired characteristics from one organism to another to create genetically improved organisms. The National System for the Safe Use of Modern Biotechnology, managed by the Department of Environment under the Vice-President’s Office, ensures that biotechnology and its products do not harm humans, animals, or the environment.

The agricultural sector plays a crucial role in producing essential raw materials, ensuring food security, and providing adequate nutrition. However, it faces challenges such as climate change-induced increasing temperatures, droughts, acidic soil, and the rise of plant diseases and pests. Insufficient access to disease-resistant and climate-adaptive seed varieties forces farmers to rely on large quantities of pesticides, driving up costs and reducing productivity. The safe use of modern biotechnology can offer solutions to these challenges.

Global evaluations have demonstrated that genetically engineered crops have increased farmers’ income, improved livelihoods, and reduced poverty. By reducing the need for pesticides, biotechnology helps preserve the environment and lowers production costs. Additionally, biofortified crops supplemented with vitamins and minerals contribute to improved health for farmers and consumers.

Several African countries, including South Africa, Burkina Faso, and Sudan, have experienced significant benefits from cultivating genetically improved crops. Countries like Malawi, Kenya, and Ethiopia have recently embraced the cultivation of genetically modified cotton, which has increased productivity and provided raw materials for industries. Many African nations, including Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, have conducted research on various crops using biotechnology.

Despite the potential benefits, challenges remain in adopting modern biotechnology in agriculture. Lack of awareness and understanding among the public and stakeholders, as well as misinformation spread by anti-GMO activists, hinder progress. To fully harness the benefits of modern biotechnology, Tanzania must invest in research and development, create an enabling environment, build awareness, and deliver new technologies to farmers. Recognizing the importance of understanding GMOs, Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture has initiated research partnerships with universities and allocated centers for biotechnology experiments.

Research is vital to determine the health, economic, and social contributions of GMOs, and to dispel misconceptions and personal agendas. Many countries, including the United States and China, are actively investing in GMO research. Blocking research could leave Tanzania unaware of GMO developments, potentially causing challenges in the future. Therefore, conducting research will help resolve controversies and allow the nation to make informed decisions regarding GMOs.

In conclusion, modern biotechnology has the potential to address agricultural challenges and improve food security in Tanzania. By embracing safe and responsible use of biotechnology, the country can enhance productivity, reduce production costs, and improve the health of farmers and consumers. Conducting research, building awareness, and fostering an enabling environment are crucial steps toward reaping the benefits of modern biotechnology in agriculture.

Tanzania’s Agricultural Potential: A Promising Investment Destination

Tanzania’s agricultural sector has emerged as a mature and thriving system, offering numerous untapped potentials for investors globally, according to Mr. Vianey Rweyendela, the country’s manager for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (Agra).

As anticipation builds for the upcoming Africa’s Food Systems Summit 2023 (AGRF 2023 Summit), scheduled to commence on September 5, 2023, Rweyendela expressed his enthusiasm for Tanzania’s agricultural sector, referring to it as a valuable trove of opportunities for both domestic and international investors.

Supported by President Samia Suluhu Hassan, the AGRF 2023 Summit seeks to shape the future of Africa’s food systems. Under the theme “Recover, Regenerate, Act: Africa’s Solutions to Food Systems Transformation,” the event demonstrates a commitment to revitalize and strengthen the continent’s food systems.

Tanzania’s ambitious plans for its food systems revolve around preservation and the creation of an equitable, prosperous, and sustainable future. Through collaboration between the government, private sector, and civil society, the country aims to position itself as a prominent food provider for Africa and beyond.

Rweyendela highlighted Tanzania’s diverse value chains that span across vast geographic areas, making it an attractive destination for both domestic and international investors seeking untapped opportunities.

One significant strategy employed by the country is the bolstering of grain reserves, with plans to establish strategic production exceeding 12 million metric tonnes. Such reserves have proven instrumental in stabilizing market prices and reinforcing food security at both national and regional levels.

Tanzania, with its seven agro-ecological zones, presents a wide range of agribusiness opportunities, encompassing farming, processing, packaging, and exporting. Rweyendela emphasized the country’s potential, showcasing the broad spectrum of possibilities available to investors.

Moreover, Tanzania’s extensive coastline of over 1,400 kilometers offers significant opportunities for the blue economy.

In line with a comprehensive plan for agro-industrialization, Tanzania has launched various initiatives, including the Agricultural Sector Development Program Phase II (ASDP II) and the Tanzania Agro-industries Development Flagship (TAIDF). These initiatives represent critical steps toward the transformation of Tanzania’s agricultural landscape.

On May 12, 2023, the Minister for Agriculture, Hussein Bashe, inaugurated the registration process for Africa’s Food Systems Forum 2023 Summit (AGRF-2023) in Dodoma, extending a global invitation to agricultural stakeholders to register and participate.

Minister Bashe emphasized the government’s enthusiasm for collaborating with investors, urging them to consider investing in Tanzania’s agricultural sector. He assured comprehensive support and emphasized the country’s commitment to fostering a fruitful partnership with investors.

Tanzania’s rapidly maturing food systems have positioned it as an enticing investment destination within the agricultural landscape, offering abundant prospects for growth and sustainability.

NITDA DG: Emerging Technologies Revolutionize Agriculture

The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr. Kashifu Inuwa, emphasized the transformative potential of emerging technologies in revolutionizing the agriculture sector. He made this statement during the 2023 International Hybrid Symposium on Smart Agriculture in Abuja. The symposium, with the theme “The Future of Smart Agriculture and the Role of Emerging Technologies in Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” was organized by the Federal University Dutsin-ma (FUDMA) in collaboration with the Islamic World Educational, Science and Cultural Organization of Morocco.

Inuwa highlighted the significant progress made in the field of smart farming. He mentioned the utilization of data and computing technologies to enhance the efficiency and predictability of farming operations as key advancements in smart farming. He acknowledged that digital technologies play a crucial role in agricultural transformation, aiding in increased food production to meet global challenges and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger.

Inuwa stressed the need to increase production and profitability for farmers, attract youth talent to agribusiness, and diversify the economy through digitized agricultural practices. He believed that with the proper utilization of technologies, the agriculture sector could lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within a decade and generate well-paying jobs for Nigerian youths.

The Director-General highlighted the potential benefits of digital technologies, including reducing information access inequalities, improving natural resource management, lowering costs of connecting sellers with buyers, facilitating knowledge sharing, and enhancing market access. He emphasized the importance of digital technologies in enabling precise decision-making, resource management, and improved engagement between consumers and producers.

Inuwa also mentioned the Nigeria Digital Agriculture Strategy (NDAS), a collaborative effort between NITDA, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and key stakeholders. The vision of NDAS is to leverage digital technologies and innovations to make Nigeria one of the top three food-secure countries in Africa and among the top 20 largest exporters of standard agricultural produce by 2030.

To further digitize the agriculture sector, Inuwa introduced the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA). NAVSA is a technology and innovation-driven agricultural initiative aimed at addressing challenges such as low productivity and inappropriate financing strategies. It includes the introduction of closed and open wallet systems on mobile payment platforms. The initiative aligns with the Federal Government’s objectives of job creation, economic diversification, and growth.

Inuwa highlighted the agency’s partnerships with universities to implement NAVSA, nurturing a new generation of smart farmers who are prepared for the future of agriculture. Prof. Armaya’u Hamisu-Bichi, the Vice Chancellor of the University, echoed the significance of the symposium’s theme in their pursuit of innovation, efficiency, and sustainability in the agricultural sector. He emphasized the potential of smart agriculture, integrating technologies like the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, and data analytics to revolutionize farming practices and enhance productivity, resource management, and efficiency.

In conclusion, Mr. Inuwa reiterated the importance of leveraging emerging technologies to drive the transformation of the agriculture sector, emphasizing the potential for increased productivity, economic growth, and environmental sustainability.

Nigeria’s Maize Industry Holds Vast Potential for Agricultural Growth

Nigeria, known as a prominent maize producer in Africa, is poised for significant agricultural development. Maize serves as a crucial crop in the country’s economy, functioning as a staple food, livestock feed, and raw material for various industries. To fully tap into the immense potential of Nigeria’s maize value chain, a gathering of experts and stakeholders recently took place at the 5th Nigeria Maize Conference. The conference, organized by Bayer West-Central Africa, in collaboration with the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), aimed to address challenges and foster collaboration to enhance productivity.

Under the theme “Much More Maize: Engaging Stakeholders for a Sustainable Maize Value Chain,” the conference provided a pivotal platform for knowledge exchange, experience sharing, and partnership building within the maize industry. Temitope Banjo, the Country Sales Manager at Bayer Nigeria Ltd., emphasized the goal of uniting stakeholders and creating a sustainable and collaborative synergy for a secure future.

Renowned experts shared their experiences and insights, tackling issues such as pest control, market access, and agronomic practices. Farmers gained practical tools and techniques to boost productivity, reduce post-harvest losses, and improve maize quality. Moreover, the relaunching of Dekalb DK777, a hybrid maize variety developed by Bayer, took place at the conference. With its high yield potential, disease tolerance, and desirable grain type, DK777 offers significant benefits to farmers.

In addition to technical aspects, the conference also addressed crucial market dynamics. Participants stressed the importance of value chain integration, quality control, branding, and accessing premium markets. The poultry and manufacturing sectors, in particular, demonstrated an increasing demand for maize, highlighting the potential for expanding maize cultivation and improving yield rates. By understanding market dynamics, farmers and stakeholders can align their production and marketing strategies, gaining a competitive advantage in domestic and international markets.

Continuous learning and adaptation emerged as key takeaways for all participants. Given the ever-evolving nature of agriculture, staying updated with the latest innovations and industry trends is essential. Farmers are encouraged to embrace new technologies, invest in research and development, and participate in capacity-building programs. Stakeholders are urged to support initiatives that foster collaboration, knowledge exchange, and skill development.

Representatives from the Nigeria Commodity Exchange (NCX) emphasized the vast economic potential in agriculture and the need for a robust commodity ecosystem to accommodate genuine business ventures. By facilitating such an ecosystem, the NCX aims to contribute to the growth of Nigeria’s agricultural sector.

Overall, Nigeria’s maize industry possesses immense potential for agricultural development. Through collaborative efforts, knowledge sharing, and embracing innovative practices, stakeholders can unlock the full potential of the maize value chain, leading to sustainable growth and prosperity in the sector.

EU Market Offers Lucrative Opportunities for East African Agribusinesses

The European Union (EU), with a market value of €4300 billion, has opened its doors to over 500 agribusinesses in East Africa, benefiting countries such as Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania. This development comes under the EU-EAC Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP), established five years ago in 2018, which allows these East African countries to engage in agricultural trade with the EU.

Speaking at the virtual launch of MARKUP, Jose-Luiz Gonzalez, the programme officer of the EU delegation in Tanzania and EAC, expressed the EU’s enthusiasm for strengthening economic ties with the East African states through this initiative. He emphasized the eventful and mutually beneficial relationship between the EU and EAC, highlighting the importance of continuous adaptation to meet the requirements of today’s trading ecosystem.

Reflecting on lessons learned from decades of trade and development cooperation, Jose-Luiz explained that increased exports and development are not automatically linked. To streamline export procedures and reduce related costs, the EU supported the development and utilization of trade information portals. Training was provided to associations in the coffee and horticulture sectors on using these portals to assess the value of each step required for exporting their products.

The delegation officer emphasized that the EU market offers significant opportunities for EAC’s agribusinesses, as there is a growing demand for their products, including tea, coffee, spices, and avocado. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of considering significant developments such as the potential of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area to boost EAC exports. Environmental sustainability, climate-smart agriculture, value addition, and access to appropriate technology were highlighted as key factors in expanding agri-exports.

With the EU’s willingness to engage in trade and foster economic relationships, East African agribusinesses have the chance to tap into a vast market and enhance their export potential. By seizing these opportunities, the region can strengthen its agricultural sector, promote sustainable practices, and drive economic growth.