Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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Monday, 23 April 2018

A new gateway to climate change knowledge relating to Africa, the AfriCAN Climate Portal, is launched. AfriCAN Climate is a project co-funded by the European Commission within the 7th Framework Programme. The project was launched by a consortium of 5 African and 5 European organisations - Enda Energie, FANRPAN, University of the Witwatersrand, World Agroforestry Centre, ICPAC/IGAD, Imperial College, P.A.U Education, UNEP Riso Centre and Practical Action - and runs from October 2011 to September 2014. Its objective is to encourage project developers and stakeholders to learn and benefit from Africa’s challenges and success stories.

Friday, 25 April 2014

The European Parliament backed laws to help prevent alien species of plants and wildlife from entering Europe and limit their spread in the event they do. The new law seeks tougher border controls, to introduce an early warning system and to ensure rapid response and management of any invaders, such as tiger mosquitoes and demon shrimps. Non-native plant and animal life are estimated to cost the European Union €12 billion a year in damage and control costs. They compete with European species for food and disrupt their habitats.

Collaboration between public and private agriculture investment was thought to be beneficial for development. But a recent study focusing on Zambia argues the opposite: most companies simply seek a quick profit, while local smallholders sink further into poverty. Agriculture-driven growth is roaring in Zambia: Between 2000 and 2011, the volume of agricultural investments skyrocketed from $8 million to $482 million. But the agricultural boom also comes with a dark side, a new study released by the human rights organisation FIAN indicates. According to the research results, Zambia has some of the largest disparities in distribution of wealth in the world – and these imbalances continue to grow.

Another leading candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission has endorsed the Fair Trade manifesto. Meeting with the FTAO team, Jean-Claude Juncker, candidate for the European People’s Party, stated his support for the Vote for Fair Trade Manifesto, thereby joining Ska Keller and Martin Schulz, who had done so earlier this month. The Fair Trade movement launched in 2013 the Vote for Fair Trade (Vote4FT) campaign, with the financial assistance of the European Commission, with the objective to create a dialogue between EU citizens, Fair Trade producers and EU decision-makers on the policies that the EU should put in place to support Fair Trade.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

A rice paddy field of 2.500 newly developed hectares in M’Bewani, in the Niger Office area, was water-filled during a ceremony presided over by the Malian Prime Minister, Oumar Tatam Ly. The European Union provided funding of 11.2 billion FCFA for this project which brings the total of irrigated areas with total water control in the Niger Office to 110.000 hectares. This European aid is part of the cooperation program to provide technical assistance in the areas of water management and development maintenance. The European Union also granted 28 million Euros towards local irrigation in the regions of Sikasso and Koulikoro.

Eurogerm, the French leader in ingredients and improvers in the wheat sector, and the American company Seaboard have combined forces in a joint venture to cover Southern and Eastern Africa. The joint venture will be based in Durban, in South Africa, near the port of entry for wheat shipments from the American company. It will include a mixing and bagging station. Jean-Philippe Girard, the CEO of Eurogerm states that “We will also have a demonstration bake house and a laboratory.”

ACP countries could be affected when EU sugar quotas end. A fund for scientists in these nations aims to offset this impact in boosting sugar production and finding new sugar cane-based products. Up to US$20 million is available for research on sugar to ACP scientists on order to ensure the viability of their sugar industries. The Sugar Research and Innovation Programme, which is accepting grant proposals until the end of this month, tries to offset some of the potential economic losses posed to smaller sugar exporters.

European Union farm lobby Copa- Cogeca called for stricter controls on citrus imports from South Africa in order to prevent the introduction of the plant disease black spot. Copa- Cogeca Secretary General Pekka Pesonen wrote in a letter to EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg in which he asked the EU to widen proposed control measures and include all South African citrus, including fruit for processing. In Pesonen opinion, imports from zones with black spot disease should be automatically banned when six contaminated cargoes are intercepted.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The European Commission presented a proposal for a decree aimed at regulating organic production, a growing market. But the stringent requirements for the organic label raise many critics. There is little consensus about the tightening of rules governing organic food. While the European Commission presented on March 24th a Proposal for a Regulation to strengthen production rules for organic products, the disparities are many with the agriculture.

The European Union (EU) is expected to grant Zimbabwe €6m in order to rehabilitate and upgrade irrigation schemes in Manicaland and Matebeleland South provinces. The two provinces will receive half of the money each under the four-year development scheme. Manicaland provincial administrator Fungai Mbetsa confirmed the news. He added that around 20 dilapidated irrigation schemes in the eastern province were expected to be repaired.