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Wednesday, 02 December 2015

British Prime Minister David Cameron has set aside £5.6 million (US$8.4 million) of its overseas aid budget to go towards improving fishing in the Caribbean and other small island states. Among the 25 Commonwealth small island nations set to benefit are: Barbados, Bermuda, Jamaica, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago. Cameron said the money will be provided from next year to target developing maritime economy plans, with additional funding on offer for future years to help these countries implement their plans.

Global food and nutrition security (FNS), the overarching theme of the EXPO Milan 2015, remains high on the policy agenda. Still there is a growing difficulty for scientists and policy makers to keep up with the expanding volume of information about the challenge of meeting human food and nutritional needs while preserving natural resources. A 2-day event organised by the European Commission with the European Association of Agricultural Economists (EAAE) and the International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium (IATRC) at the margins of the EXPO Milan 2015, gathered high level speakers from academia, major international organisations and governments to provide a closer look at the various dimensions of food security.

Since the mid-2000s agricultural and food prices moved to a higher level and in parallel with prices of other commodities – and at times have also been very volatile. These events led to concerns which, in different ways, brought to the forefront a debate about food security. Both developed and developing countries saw their consumers facing the impact of higher food prices, and their producers feeling the pressure from higher input costs.

The Cassava Weed Management Project, which is being managed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), an agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria that ensures manufactured products entering Nigerian market give the required degree of satisfaction to consumers through compliance with government policies on standardization and conformity assessment. The SON also ensures that goods imported into the country meet the minimum requirements of industrial standards or any other approved international standards.

Akinwumi Adesina, the new President of the African Development Bank, who took up his job in September this year, has warned African countries to manage their finances carefully to repay dollar debts raised in recent years. In an interview with Reuters in Addis Ababa, he pointed out that African nations have taken advantage of historically low yields and strong investor appetite to issue Eurobonds or raise other funds on international markets. Africa's foreign currency bond issues between 2000 and 2014 totaled US$20.5 billion, with US$7.4 billion of that raised in 2014 alone. He emphasized that this meant they were financing high-cost debt using a devalued currency -- it just means it is more difficult to finance the debt with weak currencies push up servicing costs and oil and commodity revenues tumble. He said it was necessary to make sure that the debts were within sustainable limits