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‘AgTech’ disruptors in East African value chains

Time (GMT +01) 13:00 14:30


Dr Max Mendez-Parra @m_mendezparra - Senior Research Fellow, Overseas Development Institute


Hon. Christophe Bazivamo - Deputy Secretary General - Productive and Social Sectors, EAC

Dr Ratnakar Adhikari @Ratnakaradi - Executive Director, Enhanced Integrated Framework

Dr Miho Shirotori - Chief, Global and Regional Trade Policy Section, UNCTAD

Dr Aarti Krishnan - Senior Research Officer, Overseas Development Institute


New forms of agricultural technology (AgTech) – from robotics, blockchains, precision agriculture, biotechnology to e-grocery – are transforming agro-value chains. Most research has focused on manufacturing and/or developed countries, with insufficient discussion on how AgTech has affected the competitiveness in less developed countries like those in the East African Community (EAC). Disruptive agricultural innovations are changing governance structures within value chains and institutional configurations within countries, which in turn impact growth, terms of trade and regional cooperation within the EAC.

This session aims to brainstorm these links and discuss strategic policy interventions to address the issues around disruptive agricultural innovations, so that the EAC can reap digital agricultural dividends by 2030 and foster the development of inclusive value chains.

Questions for discussion include: 

  • Is the advent of AgTech disrupting governance structures and competitiveness of farmers and MSMEs in agro-value chains?
  • Can AgTech drive regional cooperation and support developing new types of synergies and to strengthen regional integration in the EAC?
  • Does AgTech create inclusion or exacerbate marginalization of young entrepreneurs and women from the labour market?


Hon. Christophe Bazivamo is the Deputy Secretary General-Productive and Social Sectors at the EAC. Prior to his appointment as DSG, Hon. Bazivamo was a Member of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) from Rwanda. Hon Bazivamo has served in different Ministerial positions in Rwanda including the Lands, Environment, Forestry, Water and Mines Ministry, that of Local Government and has also served as Minister for Internal Affairs.

Dr Ratnakar Adhikari has been serving the Executive Secretariat for the EIF at the WTO as its Executive Director since October 2013. Prior to this, Mr Adhikari was the Chief Executive Director of South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE), and previously served as a Senior Adviser to the National Planning Commission, Government of Nepal, and as a Trade Programme Specialist for the United Nations Development Programme, Asia Pacific Regional Centre.

Dr Miho Shirotori is Chief of the Global and Regional Trade Policy Section at UNCTAD. Prior to this Dr Shirotori worked as a Senior Economist at UNCTAD. Her area of focus is on Trade and trade policy that contribute to inclusive and sustainable development.

Dr Aarti Krishnan is a Senior Research Officer and ODI. Aarti is an economist, working at the nexus between environmental, trade and development economics. Her areas of expertise include value chain analysis, green industrial policy, innovation and knowledge systems, digitalisation and regional development. Aarti has worked as a commodity derivate market analyst, before joining the University of Manchester as a research associate on value chains and sustainable development.

Dr Max Mendez-Parra is a Senior Research Fellow at ODI. Max is a trade economist and former agriculture trade official in Argentina with more than fourteen years of experience. He specialises in the analysis of multilateral and regional trade policies in agriculture and NAMA. He has worked in the analysis of regional trade agreements and unilateral preferences.

Room E, Centre William Rappard, Rue de Lausanne 154, CH-1211 Geneva