Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

September 2017
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Monday, 25 September 2017

The European Union, through its increasing agricultural commodities trade (IACT) project, has assisted Bula Coffee with the acquisition of a mobile coffee processing machine, nursery structures and irrigation equipment worth $72,000. EU political, trade, press and information section's press and information officer Mohammed Nazeem Kasim said the EU was proud to support the coffee value chain in Fiji and confirmed that the new nurseries would provide coffee seedlings for farmers on both Vili Levu and Vanua Levu. In response to questions on the potential for the local coffee industry, Mr Kasim said the mobile wet coffee processor would provide tangible benefits to both Bula Coffee and to farmers on Vanua Levu.

The new EU regulations regarding false codling moth won’t only be applicable to citrus, but will affect peach, nectarine, pomegranate and capsicum exports from South Africa as well. The stone fruit industry has finalised its draft protocols to manage the new FCM regulations and orchards have already been registered with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) for EU exports. The start of the stone fruit season isn’t far off, although the regulation only kicks in on 1 January 2018, so they’ve had to move quickly, says Mariëtte Kotze, group operations manager at HORTGRO.

A French drone company is teaming up with a major European inspection service to improve agricultural yields in West Africa. Delta Drone and Bureau Veritas Afrique announced plans last week to consolidate Bureau Vertitas’ soil analysis data with aerial data harvested by Delta drones to optimize precision farming for poverty-stricken areas in Côte d’Ivoire and nearby nations. “As a pioneer in the burgeoning sector of civilian drones for professional use, Delta Drone built a complete value chain in order to provide its clients with business solutions that consider the safety or people and property, and acquires aerial data and then processes and delivers it in a format adapted to client needs,” Delta Drone CEO Christian Viguié said.

Through this partnership, the two organisations are engaging to provide jointly and in a complimentary way advice, introductions and e-learning tools for French SMEs seeking to develop in African markets. The two organisations will also participate together to projects leading to the growth of key sectors such as green energies or the agricultural industry in Africa.

A three-member team of auditors from the Food and Veterinary Office of the European Union (EU) is in Ghana to assess the quality of Ghana’s vegetables. The audit will enable the EU office on food safety to reconsider a three-year-old embargo on vegetables export from Ghana to the EU Market. The auditors who are expected to end their duty tour by Saturday, September 21, 2017, will among other things thoroughly assess the sanitary and phytosanitary systems in Ghana required for ensuring the safety of food items and fresh produce.

Friday, 22 September 2017

In a pioneering partnership between global fresh produce business, Halls, an entrepreneurial farmer from Hill Estate and LCL Logistics, the first ever door-to-door export container of avocados out of rural Swaziland has arrived safely at its destination in the United Kingdom. Halls and grower partner, Hill Estate, worked together to overcome the challenges of accessing Hill Estate’s recently relocated pack house, now situated on the farm in a very remote area of the southern district of Shiselweni, one of the most underdeveloped regions of Swaziland. Dedicated supply chain partners, LCL Logistics, were called in to assist with advising on road upgrade and repairs to facilitate the navigation and safe manoeuvring of a fully loaded reefer shipping container over Swaziland’s most mountainous topography.

The Netherlands' ambition for Food & Nutrition Security is reflected in the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 2: end hunger and children's undernourishment, double smallholder productivity and income, and ensure the sustainability and resilience of food production systems by 2030. The Netherlands' ambition is to contribute to realising these 2030 targets, by assuming a reasonable share of the total challenge, i.e.: lifting 32 million children out of undernourishment, doubling productivity and/or income for 8 million farm holders and bringing their farmland (about 7.5 million hectares) under sustainable management.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo makes ten million euro available over the next four years for innovative agricultural research conducted by the ‘Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)’, a worldwide network of research centers contributing to enhanced productivity, food security and sustainability in the agriculture. The funding will support, among others, the further development of the banana genebank of the KU Leuven.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

A little-known fact about Dutch beer-brewing company Heineken is that it sources half of its raw materials from local, small-scale farmers for its African operations. By sourcing locally, multinationals can save on import costs, preserve foreign exchange and contribute to the economic development of the continent. Yet, buying raw materials from smallholder farmers is not done overnight. Rather, it is the end-result of a multi-faceted commitment that can span up to 10 years. Throughout the continent, the company sources about 50% of its agricultural needs locally, including from approximately 150,000 smallholder farmers. The brewer aims to increase that to 60% by 2020, according to Paul Stanger, Heineken’s local sourcing director for Africa and the Middle East. Beer is typically made from malted barley, hops, yeast, and water (for most lagers), but other ingredients could include sorghum, rice and maize or even cassava. All these crops, with the exception of some varieties of barley and hops, are grown in Africa by smallholder farmers.

The South African citrus industry has been preparing a systems approach to manage false codling moth for the past four years, in expectation of what has indeed come to pass: from 1 January 2018 false codling moth will be a regulated pest in the EU. Dr Sean Moore of Citrus Research International presented information on the systems approach to delegates at a workshop on FCM and other citrus pests, near Groblersdal in the Senwes region, as part of a nationwide CRI roadshow on FCM. “We can scientifically prove that the system we have developed will mitigate the phytosanitary risk and this approach is in line with the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures of the FAO’s International Plant Protection Convention. It has been developed in conjunction with all stakeholders within the citrus industry. Apart from lemons, which are exempt from the regulation as a non-host for FCM, there will be no other way of exporting to the EU.”

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