Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

December 2017
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EDITO
Thursday, 14 December 2017

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Ghana is working with stakeholders to have the ban on vegetable exports to the European Union lifted in the next three months. That’s the assurance from the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Afriyie Akoto. The ban was imposed on some vegetables exported to the EU as a result of the failure of exporters to meet international quality standards. The ban was placed by the food and veterinary Office of the European Commission for some vegetables mainly pepper, egg plant, and gourds. This was attributed to several interceptions due to the presence of harmful organisms in exported produce.

Africa needs to foster partners in the developed world to further boost its international trade and economic growth. This is the consensus at the recent maiden forum on “Belarus-Africa: New Frontiers’’ held in Belarus. The forum, organised by the African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the Belarusian Government brought together government officials and businesses in Belarus and Africa to explore more opportunities on trade relations. Dr Bernard Oramah, the President of Afreximbank, who set the tone of discussion at the forum, said that though the total African trade grew one trillion dollars in 2016, Africa had the potential to grow the trade volume exponentially in the next few years. He said that economic prosperity of the continent was, in the main, being stifled by poor infrastructure, stressing that Africa needed 93 billion dollars annually in the next 10 years to bridge the infrastructure deficit.

The African Development Bank has approved a US $100- million facility to finance Export Trading Group (ETG’s) soft commodity value chain operations in sub-Saharan Africa. This Soft Commodity Finance Facility (SCFF) is one of the core Trade Finance instruments in the Bank, innovatively structured to provide pre- and post-shipment finance along various stages of ETG’s commodity value chain operations in the 17 countries expected to benefit from the initiative. This intervention will help local farmers and soft commodity suppliers grow their revenues and produce quality crops for export.

Official potato trial seed sent to Kenya has passed initial lab tests and is now growing well in three locations. AHDB and SASA have been working together to open the Kenyan market to GB seed with a bilateral agreement signed by the Scottish and Kenyan governments late last year. Since then, there has been a significant amount of work behind the scenes to transport, test and plant seed on Kenyan farms. AHDB’s Head of Crops Export Market Development, Rob Burns, explains: “Before commercial growers can access the market, trial seed needs to be tested and grown over two seasons in at least three geographical locations in Kenya. Fortunately in Kenya there are two growing seasons annually so we hope to reach the end of this process, and open up the market fully, by early 2018.

The focus is currently on the failed Navel crop in this South African citrus import season. "At the moment, this has meant a loss of 100% of the export volume for some farmers in the Eastern Cape. In the Western Cape, 25 - 30% of the product has been lost. Overall, it has been a traumatic event for growers, whose fruit lies split on the ground", says Tjeerd Hoekstra, Commercial Manager of Total Produce Rotterdam.All this is ensuring good prices for oranges from overseas, with other citrus products are also priced well. "There are fewer grapefruits being sent, and this reflects in the prices. Prices have been good since the beginning of the season and with a level of between 17 and 19 cents, remains on the high side", says Tjeerd.

The European Union (EU) will finance the second phase of the Wadi El Kou Basin project in North Darfur with €10 million. The second phase of the project will start in October this year and will last for five years. The North Darfur Minister of Agriculture, Anwar Ishag, announced the grant in the state capital of El Fasher in a press conference yesterday, together with visiting EU adviser Magda Nassif. The Minister called for further cooperation with the EU concerning the implementation the second phase of the project. EU adviser Nassif said that she will sit with the project's advisory and technical committees, and will discuss the project as well with other stakeholders and leaders of the local communities to select the project areas.

Exporters in Togo have sold a quarter-million dollars' worth of soybeans to new customers in Vietnam and the Netherlands, after International Trade Centre advisory services helped them improve their trade-related corporate procedures and strike deals with buyers. Agriculture is critically important for incomes and food security in the West African country, where 41% of the population works in the sector. Diversification into soybean production helps to provide the country with a measure of insurance against yield and price volatility for traditional crops like cotton, cacao and coffee.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

French dairy producer Danone is continuing its push into Africa with a $25m investment, together with private equity firm Abraaj Group, in west Africa-based Fan Milk, the companies said on Tuesday. The investment in Fan Milk’s Ghana business will help the company meet growing demand for yoghurt and other dairy products in west Africa’s second-biggest economy. In June, it will launch FanMaxx, a new vitamin-enriched yoghurt drink with a four-month shelf life. Danone, the world’s largest yoghurt maker, anticipates demand for dairy in sub-Saharan Africa will increase steadily in the coming decades. It has spent more than €1bn since 2013 building a production and distribution network across the continent through acquisitions in countries from Kenya and Nigeria to Ivory Coast.

Monday, 19 June 2017

The standards introduced by European Union (EU) countries were being achieved successfully by mango farmers and exporters by virtue of government's support that not only increased demand of Pakistani mango but also resulted in enhanced exports earnings. Agriculture Department spokesman said in a statement on Wednesday that fruit fly affects the quality of fruit, however, Punjab government had initiated a project to tackle fruit fly problem through non-traditional techniques. He said that huge funds had been allocated for training and advocacy of farmers to apprise them of techniques to kill fruit fly. He said that Punjab government had also initiated mango production contest 2017-18 under which high yielding farmers would get prizes of agriculture machinery at district and provincial level.

Friday, 16 June 2017

A “development assistance” initiative launched five years ago by the G8, an inter-governmental political forum of the world’s most industrialized nations that consider themselves democracies, is holding Tanzania hostage to the benefit of agribusiness and the detriment of small-scale Tanzanian farmers. The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN), founded by the G8 in 2012 to ostensibly end hunger and poverty for 50 million people, has forced the Tanzanian government to amend its laws to drastically favor agribusiness and seed companies if it wishes to continue receiving developmental assistance aid. Monsanto, one of the NAFSN’s partners in Tanzania, is set to benefit from these changes to Tanzania’s laws.