September 2015
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EDITO
Saturday, 05 September 2015

Small-scale farmers across six Caribbean countries are being empowered to play greater roles in the food security of the region, through the ‘Sustainable, profitable value chains and market linkages in the Caribbean’ project. The project which is estimated to cost some US$1.5 million was officially launched on August 4. It targets some 2,220 small scale farmers, in six countries namely Jamaica, St Lucia, Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, and Antigua and Barbuda. The main objectives of the project are to equip and support small scale farmers with the skills and technology to cultivate better quality goods and to attract more lucrative markets for their produce. The project is being implemented by the Caribbean Farmers Network (CaFAN) and funded by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA ACP-EU) in partnership with the Sandals Foundation.

Fishing operators from Cape Verde are now obliged to obtain a health certificate to export their products to the European Union. The ordinance replaces one dated March 2009 and introduces the mandatory health certificate for export products as a single and inseparable document. Its application will be overseen by the official inspector authorised by the Authority for Fisheries Products (Acopesca). The respective preamble indicates that the change is meant to adjust the sector to European Union rules for the import/export of products for human consumption and to improve the business environment between the two markets. Cabo Verde has been included for years on the list of countries authorised to export to the European Union, which is the leading recipient of fish from the island nation.

The French President, François Hollande, has revealed plans to make the French Development Agency (AFD) and the public financing group Caisse des Dépôts (CDC) to work together. "I want to take this opportunity to say that our development policy has to change, has to be reformed. The tools serving this policy must be further strengthened. So I have decided to enact a major reform: to bring the AFD and the CDC group closer together. (…)This will give us a real financing agency, as other countries like Germany and Italy have already established, that will be better funded, better equipped, and linked to local communities and businesses, like the Public Investment Bank " the President unveiled.

Supply surpluses have pushed down milk and meat prices in France and French farming unions are demanding higher prices for pork and milk. However, the European Commission is instead exploring new markets to compensate for declining consumption in the EU.  In March this year, the European Commission reopened intervention stocks for butter and milk powder, the two mechanisms for aiding struggling dairy markets. These systems help to limit the squeeze on prices by temporarily limiting supply. The Commission pays for butter, milk or pork to be kept off the market in private stockpiles, or buys stocks on a country by country basis. In Brussels, the European Commission is counting on exports to secure the future of European agriculture.

The European Commission (EU) has said only dried beans is affected by the recent ban for export to the member countries from Nigeria. In a reaction to Daily Trust's inquiry on the development, Head of Trade and Economic Section, EU Delegation in Nigeria, Mr. Filippo Amato, reiterated that a temporary suspension of import of dried beans from Nigeria has been adopted by the European Commission last June. He said the information circulated in a number of national newspaper that the temporary ban would affect the import of several other agricultural products is wrong. "The measure only concerns dried beans, because this is the product that was most frequently rejected for health reasons (too high presence of pesticides) at the EU border over the last couple of years," he clarified.

A project funded by the European Development Fund will support approximately 300 sugarcane producers in Mozambique organised into five associations to increase their income through guaranteed product placement. The Small Scale Farmers Development Project will also make it possible for the Xinavane sugar factory to reach full capacity supplied by sugarcane produced by the members of those associations. The project has received €1.5 million from the European Development Fund, in addition to a loan in the equivalent to €2.3 million granted by Banco ABC, to be paid with the proceeds of sugarcane sales to Tongaat Hullet.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) plans to open an office in Mozambique’s capital in 2016 and before the end of this year in Yaoundé (Cameroon), Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), and Lusaka (Zambia), said the institution’s vice-president, Pim van Ballekom. The EIB annually expends about €2.5 billion euros in Africa, a figure that could increase if the European Union member states so decide, as they are the shareholders of the bank created to support EU development policies in Africa and elsewhere. “We could reach 10 billion euros, but we depend on the shareholders’ will,” van Ballekom said in comments to Bloomberg financial agency. The EIB has applied more than 18 billion euros in the last 50 years in more than 1,300 projects in 92 countries and regional groups in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific (ACP), most of them in countries on the African continent.

The European Commission has commended the regional social dialogue project, aimed at strengthening cooperation among Caribbean governments, labour, and business. The three-year €1,715,000 (US$ 2 million) project aims to build capacity in the 15 member states of the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) to ensure that the voice of business and labour is heard in all fora where policy-related, social and economic issues are on the agenda.  The objective is to contribute to the effective implementation of the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) signed in 2008.

Thursday, 03 September 2015

The next Brussels Development Briefings no. 42 on Women entrepreneurs – key players in ACP agribusiness development  shall be held on 17th September 2015. Women make essential contributions to agriculture and rural economic activities in ACP countries but still face limitations in integrating the agribusiness sector and upscaling their businesses. This briefing will look at successful business cases led by women entrepreneurs and analysing the drivers of success.

Friday, 07 August 2015

The EU’s process of regional integration has served as an example for many of the emerging economic blocs in Africa, including the East African Community (EAC). The recent, but also long-winded bail out of the Greek state offers many lessons for the continent. One contributor notes that EAC Heads of State should particularly learn a lesson from the importance of consulting the people in order to make informed judgments and sound policy decisions. This contributor does add that the people need to be educated in order to make informed decisions, especially in light of the deep economic integration planned for the economic bloc. The EAC roadmap does include a common currency as corollary to the Customs and Common Union and Common Market.