Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

October 2017
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EDITO
Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Last week, Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw his country from the Paris Agreement. This follows previous announcements on reducing US support to development. These decisions are deeply worrying – but must not distract us from the immense task ahead, writes Neven Mimica. Neven Mimica is European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development. When global challenges rise, we need to rise to the challenge. At a milestone moment for multilateralism, the United Nations adopted in 2015 a set of universal Sustainable Development Goals to respond to these challenges – applying for the first time to all countries.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel is to be applauded for placing a new G20 Partnership with Africa on the agenda of the upcoming G20 Summit. The conference she is hosting this week in Berlin with several African leaders should be its first building block. As Africans and investors, we share her view of the potential of Africa’s many emerging economies. But there is great risk if we do not seize this potential positively. The continent’s population has doubled since 1985 and will double again to 2.5bn by 2050. Twenty-two and a half million new jobs are required each year. By 2050, two in five of the world’s youth will be African, outnumbering the youth of the European Union by 10 to one.

Monday, 12 June 2017

EU farm and food businesses may pay a big price for Brexit if new trade barriers pop up and dim the British appetite for products like Irish cheddar, French wine and Danish bacon, experts and advocates warn. Sounding the alarm is the main European farmers' union, Copa-Cogeca, which released a preliminary 156-page report one month after Britain formally told Brussels in late March it will withdraw from the bloc. "Farmers should not have to pay the price of a political decision," Cogeca President Thomas Magnusson warned, referring to the risk of post-Brexit trade barriers like tariffs. Farmers in the remaining 27 European Union states could find it particularly hard to export to such an important market as Britain, a net importer, if London and Brussels fail to strike a post-Brexit free-trade deal. Prices could increase sharply if Britain leaves the customs union under a "hard" Brexit, something British Prime Minister Theresa May has not ruled out if she does not get the new trade terms she wants. British consumers would then likely buy fewer of the EU agriculture products they have become used to in the last four decades.

Government should come up with a comprehensive agricultural policy as well as develop a clear irrigation framework spelling out selection processes for beneficiaries to enable the country to attract meaningful investment, legislators have said.The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development said mechanisation facilities should also include solar systems to minimise power costs. This was said by committee chairperson and Muzarabani South Member of the National Assembly Cde Christopher Chitindi (Zanu-PF) on Tuesday, while presenting a report on the utilisation of the Brazilian Mechanisation Facility.

Massive agriculture intensification is contributing to increased deforestation, water scarcity, soil depletion and the level of greenhouse gas emission, the United Nations warns. To achieve sustainable development we must transform current agriculture and food systems, including by supporting smallholders and family farmers, reducing pesticide and chemical use, and improving land conservation practices, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) director-general on May 30 said in Brussels addressing European lawmakers.José Graziano da Silva stressed that while high-input and resource intensive farming systems have substantially increased food production, this has come at a high cost to the environment.

Livestock farmers in country's communal areas are set to get a financial boost, with the launch of a European Union grant programme, "Support to the livestock sector in the Northern Communal Areas of Namibia" which will run over a period of six years worth Euro 20 million. The programme will be launched under a slot at the the 8th Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU) Ordinary Congress that will take place in Opuwo at the Hotel Le Manoir on Friday 9 June, under the theme: "Non-Title Deed Agriculture Transformation: Key to Wealth Creation & Prosperity".At the event, H.E President Hage G. Geingob will deliver the key note address, while the Head of the European Delegation in Namibia, Jana Hybaskova and Hon. John Mutorwa, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, will launch the EU programme

Thursday, 08 June 2017

The African Union (AU) has launched a joint business plan that will be used by member states to implement the CAADP-Malabo declarations. The plan that runs from 2017 to 2021 will support operations at a country level that will support agriculture transformation. The plan was launched on Wednesday at the official opening of the 13th Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) meeting taking place in Kampala. Launching the plan, the commissioner Rural Economy at the African Union, Josefa Leonal Correia Sacko said using the plan, they will negotiate with development partners to mobilise financial support to member countries.

Wednesday, 07 June 2017

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced the creation of two trading hubs in West and East Africa to increase trade between his country and the continent. They form part of the partnerships he offered at the 51st ECOWAS Summit of Heads of State in Liberia’s capital Monrovia on Sunday. “I believe in strengthening our relations which is one of our top priorities, national and international priorities of the state of Israel … Israel is opening two new trade missions – one in West Africa, one in East Africa – to significantly increase trade between our countries,” he told the West African leaders.

West African neighbours Ivory Coast and Ghana, the world's top cocoa producers, are to set up a joint industry body, according to a document to be signed by the heads of their marketing boards on Friday. The Ghana-Cote d'Ivoire Sustainable Cocoa Initiative will, among other things, aim to set farmer prices that will discourage cross-border smuggling and enhance collaboration between the two countries' cocoa marketing departments.Between them the two countries grow around 60 percent the world's cocoa -- about 2.5 million tonnes a year --- but differing policies between the two countries have often led their farmgate cocoa prices to diverge, encouraging smuggling.

Monday, 05 June 2017

South African exporters, wary of the implications of citrus black spot interceptions on the entire South African citrus campaign in Europe, are playing it safe and sending their lemons to Russia, the Middle East and Asia, with a drop of 20% in the amount of lemons destined for the EU compared to 2016. “Due to technical barriers to trade the EU has received far fewer lemons (12%) than 2016 (32%),” says Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Growers’ Association. By contrast, the proportion of lemons going to Russia has increased by 11% (17% of the volumes already shipped), to Asia it has increased by 6% (19% of the whole) while the Middle East is currently taking a chunky 47% of shipped lemon volumes, up by 4%. “The Middle East is a very important market for the South African citrus industry, especially early in the season.”