Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

January 2018
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EDITO
Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders opened on Tuesday 24th October, in the presence of HRH Princess Astrid, a seminar on human rights in the private sector. The topic of the seminar was more specifically the prevention and abolition of child labor in the cocoa supply chain. Cocoa is the main export product of Côte d’Ivoire. Minister Reynders’ speech was followed by other interventions, testimonies and a debate where all parties involved in this topic were brought together.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

An EU-funded index measuring biodiversity in food production is expected to be launched next year, giving investors a benchmark for assessing how companies and governments are making food systems more resilient to climate change. Investing in food species such as drought-tolerant Ethiopian durum wheat or the frost-resistant Andean grain canahua can make food supply chains more resistant to climate shocks, according to research published on Tuesday by Bioversity International.

The European Union (EU) has set aside $7 million (R96 million) for proposals for a project that would strengthen the agriculture value chain in Zimbabwe. The funding was included in the 11th European Development Fund and National Indicative Plan, signed by the European Union and Zimbabwe in February 2015. In implementing the plan the European Union had allocated $50 million (€40 million, R640 million) up until 2020, towards developing the country’s agricultural sector.

Friday, 27 October 2017

The EU is set to import a record volume of bananas this year as consumption continues to rise across the continent. The 28 countries of the EU imported some 6.1 million tonnes of bananas in 2016, up from 5.9mt in 2015 and 5.4mt in 2014. That represents an average four per cent growth rate since 2012, and a 21 per cent increase since 2006. That trend is set to continue with five per cent growth in imports recorded for the first quarter of 2017 versus the same period the year before, according to figures presented at the International Banana Congress by Carolina Dawson of French research centre Cirad.

A total of 25 banks and 66 bidders took part in this year’s cocoa purchases loan arrangement with Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Joseph Boahen Aidoo has said. COCOBOD realised $1.3 billion from the syndicated loan facility to buy cocoa beans for the 2017/2018 crop season at an interest of 0.65 percent. The signing ceremony, which took place in Paris, France on Wednesday 20 September, marked the 25th anniversary of Ghana’s engagement in soft commodity financing on the international market. Mr Aidoo, who addressed the media in Accra Wednesday via a telephone interview from Paris shortly after signing of the deal, described it as one of the best interest rates.

Monday, 23 October 2017

The French group Somdiaa announced at the end of September that it was committed, as part of its Sustainable Development Policy, to implementing ‘green harvesting’ in some of its subsidiaries (Cameroon, Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire), in particular in the sugar sector. ‘Green harvesting,’ says Somdiaa, ‘has many advantages, including reducing the use of chemical fertilisers thanks to biomass (residual straw) from the harvest.’ The French agro-industrial group hopes that this cultivation technique will also lead to a reduction in the use of herbicides, in soil erosion and CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. The ultimate goal is to improve the quality of the sugar cane.

With the quotas for the production and export of sugar coming to an end on 30 September, the European Union, which until now was a net importer of sugar, is poised to become an exporter. African producers, already facing very low prices, will have to deal with this new competition. Since 30 September, there is no longer a limit on the production or export of sugar within the European Union. The decision, taken by Brussels in mid-2014 as part of its reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, is not without consequences for African countries, whose local production will have to compete with European sugar.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Over 65 Dutch companies dominated this year’s Eldoret agribusiness trade fair which came to a close at the University of Eldoret. The trade fair was aimed at furnishing farmers, service providers and industry suppliers with distinctive opportunity to exhibit their products for bench-marking and trade. The fair also provided a platform to farmers and agricultural sector stakeholders to learn emerging technologies and exchange ideas with industry players on how to boost agribusiness in the country. Various dignitaries graced the occasion among them Netherlands ambassador Frans makenn and Eldoret VC Professor Teresia Akenga.

Monday, 16 October 2017

The Spanish engineering and consulting firm Incatema Consulting has obtained the green light from the Angolan government for an agropastoral project in the Samba Caju municipality in Cuanza Norte province. The news was announced by the Angolan news agency (Angop). With an overall cost of $73 million, the initiative aims to develop the region’s agricultural potential in line with the government’s objective of promoting projects that improve agricultural production and processing. According to Angop, the Angolan Finance Ministry is expected to support the Spanish company by creating the necessary conditions for the project to be carried out.

For the first time in ten years, famine is no longer in retreat across the world, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). This disaster can in part by explained by climate change and armed conflicts. But it is also the result of free trade agreements, which impose a lifting of cross-border restrictions that is destabilising for local agriculture. The winds of free trade are blowing across the African continent. On the one hand, the European Union is stepping up its pressure on African countries to finalise the signature of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), and to end non-reciprocal trade preferences: in order to retain the exemption from tariffs on their exports to Europe, Africans will have to remove 80% of those applying to imports from the Single Market.