Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

March 2017
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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Laboratories in Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) member states are now better equipped to diagnose issues related to human, animal and plant health, and food safety, thus increasing their levels of efficacy and efficiency. On Wednesday March 15, 2017, the OECS Commission, through its Agriculture Unit, handed a total of EC$309,416.94 worth of laboratory equipment to agriculture health and food safety (AHFS) testing laboratories and pest risk analysis units of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines. The dockets for the equipment were handed to lab managers and supervisors, and ministry of agriculture officials of the beneficiary countries at a ceremony in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia. The new laboratory equipment was purchased under the 10th EDF Regional Integration and Trade of the OECS Region Project.

Monday, 27 March 2017

More than 1800 sugarcane and 6000 produce growers and their families will benefit from an EU-funded $30 million cane access road project launched by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday. The EU supported project, implemented by the Pacific Community's (SPC) rural access roads and associated infrastructure (RARAI) will be rolled out at Koronubu in Ba, Malolo in Nadi and Drasa in Lautoka. Residents living in Malolo Sector, Nadi, where work on 29 kilometres of roads began yesterday, had raised concerns about the poor state of the access-way for many years. While launching the project, Mr Bainimarama said the Government had a steadfast commitment to not just sustain the industry but to keep it growing well into the future.

The upcoming Agritech Expo Zambia in Chisamba from 27-29 April will feature a record number of six international pavilions from strong farming countries Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, France, the Czech Republic and Zimbabwe, each showcasing their own specialised products and services to the agri community. “For four years now the German Agricultural Society has been involved in Agritech Expo Zambia” says Martin Botzian, Head of Communication at DLG International GmbH.

State Development Bank of Poland (BGK) has approved a One hundred million US dollars Grant to spur investments in Angola through projects in the fisheries, agriculture, transport and other sectors of the national economy. This is the first funding initiative from the bank for investments in Angola within a long-term credit line, whose terms of conditions would be based on the establishment of the Agreement on Export Credits. In order to achieve this financing, which also aims to ensure the development of fruitful cooperation between the two countries, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Ministry of Finance and BGK on Tuesday in Luanda to expand and boost relations between the two economies.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

The weather has been dryer than usual in Kenya this season, which has meant that many producers have had to limit the water usage. However, herb producer Mintos Fresh is at an advantage because of where their growing area is located. Located in the Molo region, the area is well known for its fertile lands, lower temperatures and the higher altitude means that there is more moisture than in other regions. Most of their production is focused on coriander, mint and chives, but the company also grows dill and thyme as well, depending on consumer demand. The herbs are currently grown on 15 acres, the chives in high tunnels and the mint and coriander are grown in open fields. Innocent Bosire from Mintos Herbs shared that they own a 20 acre field at another location and they have been looking at this area to expand their production in the next few years.

Dutch PE firm DOB Equity targets to double its Kenyan portfolio this year, signalling an aggressive round of acquisitions involving local mid-sized firms. The family-owned fund says it is scouting for investment opportunities in Kenya where it already has stakes in eight ventures across sectors such as retail, agribusiness, education, and energy. “DOB Equity is geared to continue its growth and double its investments in impactful, innovative and scalable companies year-on-year,” Brigit van Dijk – van de Reijt, chief executive at DOB Equity, told the Business Daily. “Over the past few years, we have significantly increased our impact in the region by supporting the growth of our companies and investing in a number of strong, solid opportunities.” Ms van de Reijt declined to reveal the value of total investments planned. Last year, DOB Equity made three investments in Kenya.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

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.

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.

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