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EDITO
Sunday, 22 October 2017

While there is acute interest in South African navels, particularly from the Far East, some exporters warn against pushing prices to artificial levels that cannot be maintained. In areas unaffected by navel splitting, like Mpumalanga and Limpopo, exporters tell FreshPlaza that their phones have been ringing off the hook for the past couple of weeks, as importers from the Far East look for alternatives to Eastern Cape navels. Exporters from the Western Cape, where navel damage is estimated at around 17 to 20% of the crop, similarly report that the Far East “is screaming for navels

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has underscored the importance of combating poverty in Africa as a way to stem the mass migrant flow to Europe. Merkel has made ties with Africa the focus of Germany's G20 presidency. Reducing poverty and conflict in Africa were the main topics raised by German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday as she met with African leaders ahead of next month's Group of 20 (G20) summit.The leaders of the African Union from Guinea, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Mali, Ghana, Tunisia, Rwanda and other nations met in Berlin to discuss a so-called "compact with Africa." The initiative seeks to team up African nations which have committed to economic reforms with private investors who would then bring jobs and businesses.

The Gambia government has launched a US$11.4 million project, funded by the European Union, to improve food security and reduce stunting growth among children in North Bank, Lower River, Central River and Upper River regions. The 30-month project, to be jointly implemented by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), was launched at Kairaba Beach Hotel on Thursday. It would be implemented in close partnership with the Department of Agriculture (and its specialised units), the National Nutrition Agency, the Ministry of Health, the National Disaster Management Agency, the Gambia Red Cross Society, Farmer Based Organisations, and the Women’s Health, Productivity and the Environment NGO (BAFROW).

It is often said the macroeconomic standing of the agricultural sector has diminished, an argument supported by the sector's declining share of GDP, which fell from 4.2 percent in 1996 to 2.3 percent in 2015. However, what is not captured in this narrative is that the value of the agricultural sector has grown 40 percent, from R50.5bn to R71.4bn over that period. This translates to a fairly modest average annual growth rate of 2.1 percent over the past two decades, which explains why agriculture's relative share of the economy has been declining. Agriculture is not becoming insignificant -- it is just that other sectors, particularly the services sector, have grown at a faster rate from a lower base.

South Africa's strategy of pursuing a “developmental trade” policy, in which trade agreements with other countries and regions specifically promote growth, employment and the industrial upgrade of the country, are undermined by unequal global trade rules, markets and power which favours industrial countries. However, South Africa's “developmental trade” policy is often torpedoed by self-destructive compromises to trading partners, wrong strategies and corrupt behaviour by leaders. South Africa's export growth for the past two decades has been at least 11% slower than its peers, India, Brazil and China. Most of South Africa's exports remain raw materials.