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EDITO
Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Kenya is likely to lose her European Union (EU) market share of French beans to Morocco and Guatemala due to high cost of production, exporters have warned. Favoured by efficient production factors, the two countries are said to have grown their market share almost edging out Kenya, a situation that might be disastrous to local farmers. Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK) new CEO Hosea Machuki said Kenya is grappling with high production and freight cost coupled with overpricing despite producing high quality beans. Morocco, he said, though produces mainly bobby beans that are considered of lower value as compared to Kenyan products that are usually premium class has expanded her market share in EU owing to aggressive marketing and its proximity.

Representatives of Guinea-Bissau and the European Union (EU) are meeting in Brussels on Monday for a new round of negotiations on the next fishing agreement the EU will have with the country, according to the local press. This new round, which runs until Wednesday, is the fourth since the end of March that the parties have held without reaching an understanding on the format of the new agreement. Guinea Bissau’s Fisheries Minister Orlando Viegas said at the end of the third round earlier this month that the differences of opinion in the process lie in the model each party intends to give to the new agreement, according to the report published in Jornal de Angola. The proposals put forward by the Guinean authorities require an increase of rates compared with what the EU has been paying for the rights to explore the Exclusive Economic Zone’s fishing resources.

The Council adopted conclusions on a renewed impetus for the Africa-EU partnership. The conclusions state that the EU has a genuine strategic interest in deepening and strengthening its longstanding partnership with Africa. The Council welcomes the adoption of the joint communication by the High Representative and the Commission for a renewed impetus of the Africa-EU partnership. The conclusions prepare the Africa-EU Summit to take place in November, whose theme is "Investing in youth", which has become a key priority for Europe as well as for Africa, in a context of African demographic trends creating major challenges in terms of economic development and job creation, security, political participation and migration

Nigeria has been identified as the 19th most attractive economy for investments flowing in Africa, the latest Africa Investment Index 2016 said on Friday. The publication by Quantum Global, an independent research arm of Quantum Global Research Lab., noted the huge potentials of the economy, saying the country, which attracted a net foreign direct investment, FDI, of $3.1 billion in 2015, was also among the top countries in Africa with potentials to attract an overall FDI of $13.6billion. The report, which ranked Botswana as the most attractive economy for investments flowing into the continent, also identified Morocco, Egypt, and South Africa as the other economies.

Wednesday, 28 June 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.