Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

September 2017
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EDITO
Monday, 25 September 2017

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.

Europe will remain an important supplier of agricultural goods in the future but the greatest untapped potential lies in Africa, which could become the “bread basket” for the rest of the world, the president of Yara, a multinational fertiliser and crop nutrition company, told EURACTIV. Svein Tore Holsether also said digital technologies like precision farming were the best way to boost agricultural production. “While we still see the potential for increasing productivity and sustainability of European agriculture, the greatest potential we see is in Africa,” Holsether pointed out. “Today €29.6bn ($35bn) is spent every year on importing food, while there is a great untapped potential for higher productivity as the continent holds 65% of the world’s arable land,” the fertiliser company boss said.

As a prelude to the opening of the 7th African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), the Ivorian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Ly Ramata Bakayoko, chaired a workshop on the role of research and innovation in the African agricultural transformation process, allowing her to take stock of national agricultural research, according to abidjan.net. In terms of bilateral and multilateral cooperation, the minister cited the Competitive Fund for Sustainable Agricultural Innovation (Fonds compétitif pour l’innovation agricole durable – FCIAD), with a budget of 5 billion CFA francs (€7.6 million), the Renewed Partnership for Development Research (Partenariat rénové pour la recherche au service du développement – Presed), with the financing of three projects in the field of agricultural research for a total of 255 million CFA francs (€342,000) in the framework of France’s debt reduction programme led by the French Development Agency (AFD), while the second debt reduction programme has earmarked funding of 1.21 billion CFA francs to develop agricultural research.

Friday, 08 September 2017

There’s no such thing as too much chocolate—and now, a fourth type could get people eating even more. Swiss cocoa giant Barry Callebaut announced its latest offering, the Ruby chocolate, which comes in a shade of trendy millennial pink. The chocolate’s color, like its flavor, is completely natural and is extracted from the Ruby cocoa bean itself. Unlike dark, milk, and white chocolate, the Ruby chocolate stands out with a berry-fruit flavor and is neither “bitter, milky, or sweet”. Its texture is reported to be of “luscious smoothness.” Scientists invented the chocolate in the company’s research and development centers in France and Belgium. The Ruby bean hails from various regions worldwide, including Ivory Coast, Brazil and Ecuador, reports Today.

Since the implementation of the Caribbean Coconut Industry Development Project two-and-a-half years ago, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) has made several strides in improving the local coconut industry through training as well as the establishment of new nurseries among other targeted initiatives. The four-year project was undertaken through a partnership between CARDI and the International Trade Centre (ITC), with funding provided by the European Union. It was aimed at improving income and employment opportunities, food security, and overall competitiveness of the Caribbean coconut sector. Participating countries in the project include Jamaica, Belize, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, and Suriname, among others in the region.

A group in Italy is training migrants — mostly from sub-Saharan Africa — as beekeepers, then pairing them with honey producers who need employees. Aid groups say new efforts by European leaders to stem the flow of migrants from Africa ignores the fact that Europe needs these workers. According to Oxfam, Italy alone will need 1.6 million migrants over the next 10 years. Back in his native Senegal, the only interaction Abdul Adan ever had with bees was when one stung his mouth while he was eating fresh honey. That day, his mouth was so swollen that he didn't leave his home in Senegal's Casamance region. Years later as a migrant worker in Alessandria, Italy, Adan is so comfortable with the insects that he does not even use gloves as he handles their hives and inspects their progress.