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December 2017
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EDITO
Friday, 15 December 2017

More nutritious versions of staple crops could increase daily vitamin and mineral intake for millions of people with poor diets, helping to overcome undernourishment that can cause blindness, brittle bones, feeble muscles and brain damage. Millions of people around the world hardly have enough food to survive. Many millions more may have enough to stave off hunger, but their diets lack micronutrients – vitamins and essential minerals. That can make them vulnerable to infections, weak bones or muscles, and problems with vision or mental health.

Weeks after President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf issued Executive Order #84 for the regulation of Liberia's fishing industry, the European Union (EU) has expressed concern over the order. In a letter to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the EU expressed concern over the implications of Executive Order number 84. It further said it was surprised to learn about the order through the media considering the longstanding cooperation existing between Liberia and the Union which culminated in the signing of the EU- Liberia Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) in December 2015. Through its Ambassador to LiberiaMadam TiinaIntelmann, the EU said based onexperience in other countries, it believes that some of the measuresintroduced under Section 2 of the EO will not lead to sustainable investments.

The Cairns Group of agricultural exporting countries has called for action on farm trade issues for the WTO’s upcoming ministerial conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, this December, tabling an informal paper that notes “overwhelming” support for an outcome on agricultural domestic support. The new paper is the first joint statement of the Cairns Group’s stance after separate papers were tabled by sub-sets of its members last year. The coalition includes nearly 20 countries from both the developed and developing world, including different world regions. The group’s paper calls for action on three areas addressed under current WTO rules on agricultural trade: domestic support, market access, and export competition.

While the outbreak of Avian Flu in Europe may offer some relief to South Africa’s poultry industry over the next few months, brooding over the possible outcomes of the current crisis continues – especially when it comes to the impact of European Union (EU) imports and chicken dumping on the industry. Calls for increased import tariffs, safeguard duties and a more protectionist stance have been both lauded by industry stalwarts and criticised by advocates of liberalised trade policy. While often-emotive calls for protectionism have been rejected by staunch proponents of free trade, citing increases in consumer prices and a breakdown of trade relationships as major concerns, fair-trade supporters have highlighted the importance of some form of protection to ensure the sustainability of South Africa’s developing and emerging economy. Both sides have convincing arguments.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Representatives of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) met in Addis Ababa on May 10, 2017 and agreed on a roadmap for the implementation of the partnership agreement signed between the two entities in January 2017. During the meeting, which was held under the theme, "Achieving agricultural transformation in Africa," participants identified and agreed on four key programme areas including, enhancing rural entrepreneurship and employment for youth and women; addressing natural resource degradation and scarcity, conflicts and migration; ending hunger, nutrition and poverty in Africa; and effective response to climate change.

A fresh approach toward utilisation of Cassava and Sorghum flour in bread production has been estimated to save Nigeria as much as $3.5billion every year. The initiative aims at achieving 20 per cent Cassava flour inclusion in bread and it is projected that if the objective is achieved more Cassava growers would empowered as the project would scale up domestic Cassava flour processing to the tune of about 1.2 million metric tons yearly. Also, the project will create 3 million jobs for Nigerians. Nigeria spends about $6 billion annually to import wheat, according to the director, Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria, Prof. Ibrahim Umar-Abubakar.

World leaders must step up and take action in fighting famine to prevent further catastrophic levels of hunger and deaths, said Oxfam. Ahead of the 43rd G7 summit, Oxfam urged world leaders to urgently address the issue of famine, currently affecting four countries at unprecedented levels. "Political failure has led to these crises - political leadership is needed to resolve them... the world's most powerful leaders must now act to prevent a catastrophe happening on their watch," said Oxfam's Executive Director Winnie Byanyima. "If G7 leaders were to travel to any of these four countries, they would see for themselves how life is becoming impossible for so many people: many are already dying in pain, from disease and extreme hunger," she continued.

Africa is undeterred by the failures of the past and the continent is motivated by the incredible energy and talent of its bustling youthful population, according to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo. Mr. Osinbajo spoke Saturday at the G7 Summit special outreach forum on Africa with selected African nations and leaders including Nigeria, Guinea, Tunisia, Niger, Ethiopia and Kenya.According to him, "Africa is confident of the future because we have learnt,... we are investing more in education, insisting on good governance and holding ourselves to account."

The Group of Seven (G7) leaders has in its 'Taormina Communiqué' underscored that "Africa’s security, stability and sustainable development are high priorities". But it has yet to respond to UN Secretary-General António Guterres' specific call for the need to invest in young people, with stronger investment in technology and relevant education and capacity building in Africa. The two-day G7 summit in Italy, in which the leaders of six other industrial nations – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the U.S. also took part, concluded on May 27 in Taormina, a hilltop town on the east coast of Sicily, Italy.

ECOWAS agriculture activities cover 15 member states, the main objective is to promote food and nutrition security in all the 15 member states and at the same time, constitute to the process of regional economic integration, and agriculture is central to the economy of all our member states. We have different programmes that cover the 15 member states of ECOWAS. In Nigeria particularly, we have programmes and projects that is being implemented by ECOWAS which includes the West African Agriculture Productivity Programme (WAAPP), it is a joint initiative of ECOWAS and the World Bank which deals with agricultural technology. We have the West Africa Seed Project, the West Africa Fertilizer Project. We have other projects like the partnership for Aflactoxion control in Africa, this programme is looking at how to reduce the harmful effects of Aflactoxion on agriculture and health.