Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

May 2017
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EDITO
Friday, 26 May 2017

The 15-nation Caribbean trade bloc is undertaking a complete review of its import taxes regime into the regional free market including poultry and agriculture products from the United States in the wake of a plethora of requests from governments and the private sector to periodically suspend tariffs to correct shortages of items in various member states. The bloc has hired an international consulting firm to “undertake a rather comprehensive look” at the common external tariff governing the importation of products not manufactured in the region.Part of the reason for this stems for pressure from governments and the private sector for suspensions or waivers of duties to the council of trade ministers (COTED) for particular products to make up for shortfalls of materials or finished products in particular countries.

Monday, 22 May 2017

The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between East African Community (EAC) partner states and the European Union, search for a sustainable financing mechanism and assent to bills passed by the regional Assembly are among the agenda items of the upcoming summit, an official has said. The leaders of the six EAC partner states are due to meet in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, on Saturday for their annual summit that has been postponed three times in the recent past. While in Kigali, earlier this year, the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) passed a resolution urging the Council to find a common stance on partner states' funding deficit by having it on the agenda of next EAC Summit.

The European Union has invited the government of Tanzania for dialogue over the Economic Partnership Agreement impasse that has threatened to derail the trade pact between the bloc and the East African Community member countries. The head of the EU delegation to Tanzania and the East African Community, Roeland van de Geer, said they were awaiting Dar es Salaam's position on the matter."What is important is that we have dialogue," said Mr Geer during the Europe Day celebrations in the Tanzanian political capital Dodoma last week. "Tanzania has its own convictions, the EU have theirs. Tanzania is a sovereign country and should take its own decisions," he said, underscoring the importance of the dialogue.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative (SIANI) offers seed funding to expert groups that support its vision and mission to understand emerging issues in food security and nutrition in low-income countries. Expert groups comprise a diverse group of stakeholders (academia, NGOs, private business, government, etc.) to prepare publications, organize events, and engage in other activities that strengthen the Swedish resource base and their partners. Expert groups do not need to be geographically located in Sweden. However, if an expert group is established outside Sweden, it needs to have a clear link to the Swedish resource base and Swedish funded activities.

Ronnie's Establishment a Ugandan company established in 2008, produces and exports fresh fruit and vegetables. The main products are Okra, Scotch Bonnet, Cyenne chilles and green bananas. The company is linked to a group of growers, who come together to export their products. At the moment Ronnie's Establishment export to Dubai and London, but the company is looking expand exports in Europe through Amsterdam."Most of our products are naturally grown though a little conventional pesticide is used to prevent our products from pests henceforth observing the pre–harvesting intervals," explains Roy Senoga. "We are aware of the growing consumer needs thus producing good quality fresh products is our trade mark. Our main farm produces an average of 30% of the total exports and the remaining 70% is from our 25 loyal out growers."

Uganda's potential in fruits and vegetable exports will be showcased this week in Italy's biggest International fair called Macfruit which will take place from May 10 to 12. At least 10 exporting companies all members of the Uganda Fruits and Vegetables Exporters and Producers Association (UFVEPA), are scheduled to participate in the fair. Ms Brenda Opus, Uganda Export Promotion Board's marketing executive said. "It is the only vertical trade fair in Europe representing the entire sector. This trade fair is a platform of business meetings and conferences that will provide Ugandan companies the opportunity to learn more about international quality requirements and new initiatives in the organic sector geared towards a fast growing segment."

The Head of Unit G-2 Wine, Spirits and Horticultural Products of the Directorate General of Agriculture of the European Commission, Joao Onofre Antas Gonçalves, announced last week in Madrid that the Delegated Regulation that includes the new withdrawal compensations wil be published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 24 May and will enter into force on 1 June; an announcement made in the framework of the day organised by MAPAMA on "The importance in Spain of the Common Organization of Agrarian Markets for the fruit and vegetable sector". The Delegated Regulation, which will be published in the OJEU on 24 May, amends the current Regulation 543/2011, which regulates the specific regime of the fruit and vegetable sector in the Common Organization of Agricultural Markets.

A new strategic partnership between the EU and Africa was launched on 4 May with agriculture one of the main pillars of the new strategy. The agri-food sector is seen as a key area through which the EU can support rural and urban development in Africa.According to a joint paper from the European Commission and the EU's High Representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Federica Mogherini, the EU will facilitate investments from the private sector in the African agri-food sector, building on initiatives such as the existing Agriculture Financing Instrument (AgriFI), in order to help boost jobs and address food security.

Monday, 15 May 2017

As we celebrate this year's Europe Day, May 9, we have great confidence and satisfaction in the many ways in which our partnership with the government and the people of Kenya is progressing. Looking back over the past year, the strength of this relationship has enabled us to respond effectively to crises, most notably the stalling last summer of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and more recently, the impact of drought on Kenya and its neighbours. By working closely together, we've been able to maintain the free access of Kenyan exports to the European Union, which is this country's biggest export market, despite the delays of the other countries in signing the EPA.

Irish charity Gorta-Self Help Africa has won a €6.5 million contract to run an EU-backed food production project in Kenya. The new project focuses on increasing the production and processing of high quality cassava. Millions of people in developing countries rely on the root cassava for its carbohydrate content but the quality of the crop is often low. Cassava can tolerate temperature extremes and marginal soil, and it grows particularly well along Kenya’s low-lying coastal savannahs. Farmers who sign up to the project will receive training in the production and processing of cassava and of other crops. Some 28,000 rural poor farmers will be targeted for the project, and more than half of them will be female.