Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

April 2017
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Friday, 28 April 2017

The British Government intends to continue providing duty free-quota free access for Fijian-Made goods, after the UK formally exits from the European Union (EU). This was confirmed to Fiji's High Commissioner to UK, Jitoko Tikolevu at the Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting held in London earlier this month where he represented the Fijian Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism. Mr Tikolevu said the assurance given by the British Government provided a lot of certainty to the Fijian exporters. Fijian-Made goods currently enjoy duty free-quota free access in the EU, through the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA).

The director of the Antigua & Barbuda Bureau of Standards said the twin island state has benefitted immensely from a regional programme funded by the 10th European Development Fund (EDF), which was centred on the building of the region’s capabilities in the several areas of quality infrastructure, and using these competences as a means of managing and reducing barriers to trade. The 10th EDF Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) programme concluded yesterday after a five-year lifespan. Dianne Lalla Rodrigues said the bureau of standards was able to develop a strategic plan to guide the functions of the bureau and provide training in technical areas, mass and temperature, the acquisition of equipment and a marketing and promotion plan, which is nearing completion.

The Brexit question as seen by the small and poor group of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries is far simpler – and potentially far more lethal – than those the more usual Brexit debate engages with. It belongs less to debate on knock-on effects rolling into the future than to questions of physical survival here and now. When a fifth of Fiji exports head for the UK, when a Caribbean island lives off bananas sold to Britain, new spokes in buying and selling can hit the people, and even all of the people, of a small nation. The more so when Britain is not just a large market in itself but a gateway to the European Union for many of the exports from small countries, none more than sugar and bananas.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on Wednesday accredited a new Ambassador of the European Union (EU), with the new envoy advocating for the relationship to more effectively advance a common agenda in global and multilateral fora. In presenting her letters of credence to the CARICOM secretary-general Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Daniela Tramacere pledged that in the face of “populism on both shores of the Atlantic,” the EU will continue to foster political dialogue with the Region. The new EU Ambassador was accredited at a simple ceremony in the office of the secretary-general at the headquarters of the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana.

Friday, 17 March 2017

The Topteam of the Topsector Horticulture and Starting Materials (Topsector T&U) visited Rwanda from 27 February - 1 March for a fact finding mission on possibilities for cooperation. The delegation was received and accompanied by the DG Crops of MINAGRI, the advisor of the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, the director research of RAB, the director of RAB North and the deputy CEO and director horticulture of NAEB. The delegation visited Rwandan companies and government institutes and had wide ranging discussions on (further) development of the horticulture sector in Rwanda with a specific emphasis on production for export and for the domestic market.

The government has engaged some France companies to supply combine harvesters, grain driers and shelling equipment as efforts to boost Command Agriculture continue to gather momentum. Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made told ZBC News on his return from France that several French companies will enter into partnerships with Zimbabwe to supply combine harvesters. The country will start receiving the combines harvesters and grain driers to boost Command Agriculture Programme starting next year if all goes as per plan. Turning to the current maize crop, Dr Made says a technical sub-committee team for Command Agriculture has already identified combine harvesters which are functional and those which require quick fix ahead of the anticipated bumper harvest.

Kofi Vinyo and Company Limited (KVCL), a Kwatire-based agribusiness firm in the Sunyani West District of Brong-Ahafo region would from next year export and supply four international food processing companies with farm produce in commercial quantities. The firm has signed agreement with the companies - Deon food ingredients and Stel and Van Koot in the Netherlands, Swastik enterprise in India as well as Agribio in Italy. It is expected to export thousands of tons of tiger nuts, maize, ginger, chilli pepper, raw cashew nuts and other vegetables annually. Mr Kofi Vinyo, the Managing Director of KVCL disclosing this to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Kwatire said the contracts between his company and the foreign partners were sealed to operate within five years.

Senegalese growers and exporters are increasingly working with European markets. Both by increasing their presence at events like Fruit Logistica and by taking advantage of their unique seasonal position in the world market. ASEPEX, a Senegalese organization has been helping the sector in promoting mangoes, cherry tomatoes, watermelons, limes, sweet potatoes and butter nut squash worldwide. According to Oulimata Fall Sarr, this year they’ve noticed that there are more opportunities for trade in Eastern Europe. Countries like Russia and Poland are looking to diversify their sourcing, as they want to become more independent from Europe and the US due to political and economical unrest.

The outgoing ambassador of Belgium said during her farewell call on President Danny Faure at State House on Tuesday that she will continue to promote investments with Seychelles. Roxane de Bilderling said Seychelles has a strong legal framework for investment where investors can prosper. She will be meeting with the Seychelles Investment Board to further discuss areas of priorities or where more investments are needed. The outgoing ambassador said, “We do have Belgium nationals who have invested in Seychelles, and they are doing well. They are creating employment for the Seychellois and contributing to the economic growth.”

To harmonize the country-oriented Dutch development and economic diplomacy policies with increasing regional influences in poultry value chain developments, better insight is needed in the interdependency of the poultry sectors of different countries. Therefore, the Food & Business Knowledge Platform (F&BKP) has decided to support a study and learning project that will look into the various aspects of this interdependency in Eastern Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda). The objective of the study and learning project is to gather relevant information on poultry developments in the Eastern African region with the aim of collecting and sharing this information with relevant stakeholders and advise the Netherlands Government on more regional-economic responsive policies for sector/value chain development.