Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

November 2017
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EDITO
Sunday, 19 November 2017

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.

From his chair in the middle of a pile of pineapples, Jean-Xavier Satola supervises cutting and packaging, as Benin — Africa’s fourth-biggest exporter of the fruit — starts trading again after an eight-month self-imposed absence. The fields of Allada in southern Benin are a hive of activity as about 20 men, in trousers to protect them from the spiky leaves, pick the pineapples while women load them in baskets and carry them away on their heads. The smooth, fat, yellow Cayenne variety of pineapples are washed, packed into cardboard boxes and put on a lorry. Eight hundred boxes will leave on a plane for Europe that evening. Satola has been in the pineapple business for 30 years and as soon as he got the green light from the government was Benin’s first trader to resume exports. “I’m at 46 tonnes since the start of the year. It’s less than half than in September 2016,” he said. “Resumption is slow. Some of our European clients are hesitant. But we’re exporting more guaranteed quality now.”

The Gambia Government through the office of the Vice President and the Ministry of Women's Affairs, in close partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, has launched a 4.4 million Euro project entitled, "Improving Food Security and Nutrition in the Gambia, Through Food Fortification. The event was held on Tuesday 26th September 2017, at a local hotel in Senegambia. The multi million Euro project is funded by the European Union and aims to improve nutrition and health outcomes of vulnerable women and children in the Gambia, especially women, girls and children in the North Bank and Central River regions of the country.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Thirteen companies from Netherlands have announced their plan to attend the Poultry Africa 2017 expo and leadership conference that will be held in Kigali from October 4th. Their mission is organized by the Netherlands-African Business Council (NABC), the leading network of Dutch companies that do business with Africa, and has 350 members. A majority of them is active in the agricultural sector. During the conference, these companies will learn and build strong partnership with Rwandans in poultry sector.

The very last agricultural quota system in place, managing sugar production in the EU, were scrapped on 30 September, after nearly 50 years, part of a major CAP reform and restructuring process. The sugar quota system was introduced with the first Common Agricultural Policy rules on sugar in 1968, along with a support price for producers set at a level significantly above the world market price. The decision to end the quota system for sugar was taken by EU Member States in 2006. The end of the quota system follows significant reform of the sector from The very last agricultural quota system in place, managing sugar production in the European Union, were scrapped on 30 September 2017, after nearly 50 years

Monday, 09 October 2017

In Zambia, the 2016/17 crop year will end with a 6% drop in sugar production. According to the forecasts of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Zambia will produce about 388,405 tonnes of sugar compared to 411,279 tonnes last year. This slight contraction in volume is due to a deterioration in the quality of sugar cane, as well as a reduction in the quantity of sugar cane transported to refineries, due to energy restrictions which have impacted on irrigation, and to the drought which affected the growing season. Zambia’s sugar industry is dominated by Zambia Sugar PLC, a subsidiary of Illovo Sugar, a South African company that produces around 92.5% of the country’s sugar production. The country exports about half of its production, mainly to other countries in Africa and to the European Union.

The 96th session of the International Cocoa Council coupled with the joint annual meeting of the International Cocoa Organisation-European Union and the ACP, has been taking place since Monday in Abidjan, with the sustainable cocoa economy on the agenda, the APA reported on Tuesday from the economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire. The second day of the meeting was devoted to the world cocoa economy, which has been suffering for several years. Delegates at the meeting will work on the drafting and adoption of an agenda for a sustainable cocoa economy, as well as the development of a global strategic action plan with specific measures.

The European Union has banned beef imports from Swaziland following a suspected foot-and-mouth disease outbreak allegedly caused by three buffaloes donated to the country by Zambian President Edgar Lungu early this month.Agriculture Minister Moses Vilakati confirmed the suspension in a statement on Tuesday. “When the buffalos arrived into the country they were accompanied by documents certifying that they had tested negative for the disease,” Vilakati said.

Friday, 06 October 2017

Grape growers were given new hope of exporting their produce through the Port of Lüderitz in the near future. The proposition was tabled by NileDutch's commercial director Leo Huisman during a tablegrape pre-harvest season meeting at Aussenkehr, as he outlined that NileDutch can be the solution to using the Lüderitz port. Namibian grapes are currently exported to the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands via Cape Town in South Africa, with the produce moved from Namibia to South Africa by truck. Huisman indicated that NileDutch was ready to provide a reliable and quality service that will ensure the grapes are no longer transported to South Africa before shipment, but shipped to Europe straight from Namibia through Lüderitz Port.

A multi-million-dollar European Union (EU) irrigation infrastructure support to smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe has started to pay dividends, with farmers in Mutema Irrigation Scheme, Chipinge district, harvesting their first banana crop with a ready market. The EU is disbursing the six million euro fund through the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and so far, $200 000 has been invested in the Mutema scheme, which is now helping over 100 farmers who have a quarter-hectare plot each. Themba Mundidini is excited about the prospect of his first harvest from the scheme after four failed attempts, as they did not have efficient irrigation infrastructure.