Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

October 2017
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Thursday, 19 October 2017

The French group Somdiaa announced at the end of September that it was committed, as part of its Sustainable Development Policy, to implementing ‘green harvesting’ in some of its subsidiaries (Cameroon, Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire), in particular in the sugar sector. ‘Green harvesting,’ says Somdiaa, ‘has many advantages, including reducing the use of chemical fertilisers thanks to biomass (residual straw) from the harvest.’ The French agro-industrial group hopes that this cultivation technique will also lead to a reduction in the use of herbicides, in soil erosion and CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. The ultimate goal is to improve the quality of the sugar cane.

At the Carlton, Madagascar is currently hosting the sixth meeting of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) committee, bringing together all five signatory countries from the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, and Indian Ocean (EASAIO) region. During the two days of the sixth meeting of the EPA committee, the positive impacts of the Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union will be discussed, as will barriers to trade development. The entry into force of the EPA since 2012 has allowed a significant increase in trade between Madagascar and the countries of the European Union.

With the quotas for the production and export of sugar coming to an end on 30 September, the European Union, which until now was a net importer of sugar, is poised to become an exporter. African producers, already facing very low prices, will have to deal with this new competition. Since 30 September, there is no longer a limit on the production or export of sugar within the European Union. The decision, taken by Brussels in mid-2014 as part of its reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, is not without consequences for African countries, whose local production will have to compete with European sugar.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

A diverse collection of food and beverage producers from the Caribbean descended upon the world’s leading food fair ANUGA in Cologne, Germany in October. The leading food fair attracts some 7000 exhibitors from over 100 countries and close to 200,000 visitors, was home to eight producers from the Caribbean under the Caribbean Kitchen pavilion facilitated by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export). “Food and drinks is such an integral part of Caribbean culture which continues to be in high demand from the European markets. The firms selected to exhibit at this years’ ANUGA exemplify the quality and innovation needed to be successful exporters” highlighted Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of Caribbean Export.

As part of its effort to have access to United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union markets, Botswana’s investment arm, the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has launched a crusade to exploit the overseas market. The Executive Director for BITC’s International Business in the EU, Moemedi Mokgosi revealed that incumbent and potential exporters who are interested in exporting to the United Kingdom and European Union market have been invited to submit their updated company profiles. Mokgosi explained that the information in the documents should reflect products, scale of operation, location of operation countries of interest within the EU and key contact details for profiling and matchmaking. BITC through its export department is mandated to facilitate exports of locally manufactured goods and services into regional and international markets. Mokgosi said although growth is projected to be slow, the EU remains the largest economy in the world with a GDP per head for 25,000 Euro for its 500 million consumers.

Exports to the European market have risen by 74% in six years. But other obstacles remain to be overcome. Madagascar has a trade surplus, selling more products in Europe than it imports. Madagascar’s exports rose from €499.5 million in 2012 to more than €875 million in 2016. Imports from the European Union account for less than 20% of total imports to Madagascar, according to figures from both the Ministry of Trade and Consumer Affairs, and the European Union Delegation in Madagascar.

Over 65 Dutch companies dominated this year’s Eldoret agribusiness trade fair which came to a close at the University of Eldoret. The trade fair was aimed at furnishing farmers, service providers and industry suppliers with distinctive opportunity to exhibit their products for bench-marking and trade. The fair also provided a platform to farmers and agricultural sector stakeholders to learn emerging technologies and exchange ideas with industry players on how to boost agribusiness in the country. Various dignitaries graced the occasion among them Netherlands ambassador Frans makenn and Eldoret VC Professor Teresia Akenga.

The new European Union Head of delegation to Uganda Attilio Pacifici has promised to focus on strategies for strengthening the Private Sector in Uganda as a catalyst for development. Amb Pacifici was yesterday presenting working copies of his credentials to minister of foreign affairs Sam Kutesa at the Ministry in Kampala. Pacifici said he was looking forward to working with the Government of Uganda to further strengthen relations with the European Union. He replaces Amb. Kristian Schmidt whose tenure ended in July 2017.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Europe’s second largest port, Antwerp in Belgium, maintains special links with the African continent, thanks to the variety of goods it handles and the routes it serves. Antwerp is the story of a river port, which managed to venture forth from the estuary of the River Scheldt and reach the furthest points of the earth. Its saga has lasted more than eight centuries, marching to the beat of globalisation. While it took the Flemish port seven hundred years to reach 100 million tonnes of annual traffic, it only took another twenty-five to double that volume. With 214 million tonnes handled in 2016, it is now one of the world’s twenty busiest ports, between the giants of Asia and still in the immovable shadow of Rotterdam. But unlike its eternal rival, Antwerp does not ride on the black gold of the oil trade.

The Spanish engineering and consulting firm Incatema Consulting has obtained the green light from the Angolan government for an agropastoral project in the Samba Caju municipality in Cuanza Norte province. The news was announced by the Angolan news agency (Angop). With an overall cost of $73 million, the initiative aims to develop the region’s agricultural potential in line with the government’s objective of promoting projects that improve agricultural production and processing. According to Angop, the Angolan Finance Ministry is expected to support the Spanish company by creating the necessary conditions for the project to be carried out.

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