Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

December 2017
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EDITO
Thursday, 14 December 2017

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.

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.”

With the EU set to lift caps on sugar production, African producers could be squeezed out of a market that has propped up places like Swaziland for years. When the European Union deregulates its sugar market at the end of September, some of the biggest losers will be in the lush hills of this tiny, landlocked nation. More than 8,000 miles from Brussels, Swaziland’s sugar farmers for over a decade have benefited from the EU’s tight grip on domestic production of the sweetener. Caps on annual production in European countries helped keep prices artificially high and created a market for imports, especially from poor countries that are freed from tariffs. Currently, more than half of the EU’s raw sugar comes from Africa.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Agriterra and ForFarmers will begin cooperating in order to help professionalise farmers’ organisations and cooperatives in emerging markets. Jan Potijk, director of ForFarmers Nederland and Kees Blokland, director of Agriterra, signed the memorandum on this past Friday. ForFarmers will offer its employees the option to make their knowledge and expertise available for Agriterra advisory assignments and training programmes in emerging markets in, for instance, Africa, Asia and South America. In more concrete terms, this means that ForFarmers employees can register to help with advisory issues at agricultural cooperatives that Agriterra supports with knowledge. After approval from both ForFarmers and Agriterra, a ForFarmers employee can be deployed.

Arla is adding another market to its Sub-Saharan Africa business region by establishing a new sales and packaging facility in Ghana. The new subsidiary will begin selling Arla’s branded dairy products in Ghana from September 2017 in response to growing demand for nutritious dairy products. The new Arla-owned subsidiary, Arla Foods Ltd., will be based in Accra, Ghana and will supply products from its Dano range also sold in Nigeria, including powdered milk, which is in demand among the rapidly growing middle class in urban areas, and butter and cheese from value-added brands like Arla and Lurpak. The move by Arla is in line with the company’s business strategy, Good Growth 2020, which aims to develop new markets for Arla’s products outside the EU to improve the milk price for the 11,200 farmer-owners who own the company.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

NESTLE Zimbabwe is looking at reviving coffee estates in the Eastern Highlands through contracting small-scale farmers, sources familiar with the development have said. The company, a unit of the world’s largest food and beverage firm, Swiss-based Nestle Global, is looking into the wider scope of the re-development of the coffee industry in Zimbabwe. “Coffee fits well into a wider range of Nestle products and it is an area that Nestle Zimbabwe is looking at; possibly reviving the estates in the eastern highlands,” said one source. “As such, some preliminary studies are being done; obviously to determine the model that could be used to resuscitate the industry. It is a project that has involvement of other stakeholders such as the Agriculture Marketing Authority and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.”

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

According to statistics published by the European Commission, cocoa processed into paste and powder is the second most important African product exported to the EU. In its publication of 22 August 2017, the Quotidien de l’Economie states that according to the European Commission’s ‘Agri-Food Trade Statistical Factsheet EU-Sub-Saharan Africa’, agricultural foodstuffs in 2016 accounted for 12.5% of the European Union’s (EU) exports to sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), including South Africa. The most important export to the EU in terms of value is cocoa beans, which last year accounted for 36% of the total, up 15.1% from 2015.