Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

November 2017
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EDITO
Monday, 20 November 2017

Fiji could still enjoy a good price for its sugar by focusing on the Asia-Pacific market when duty-free access to the European Union ends this month, says Fiji Sugar Corporation CEO Graham Clark. Speaking at a press conference on Monday in Lautoka, he said while this month brings an end to a lucrative deal with the European Union, it would open up opportunities for other markets. "To date we have sold 93,096 of the 140,000 tonnes of sugar produced so far this year," he said. "The EU protocol ends on September 30 and new marketing era will emerge whereby all of our interaction with our European customers will basically be conducted on commercial terms that are linked to the world raw sugar price. “So we need to think how we can best operate to our own advantage and I think to capitalise on Fiji's geographic advantage."

Two new online information systems launched recently is aimed at increasing agricultural productivity in Fiji and the Pacific. According to the Pacific Community (SPC) the Agricultural Policy Bank and the Pacific Agricultural Information System (PAIS), are set to make a major contribution towards the collection and use of data in the agriculture sector. European Union Delegation for the Pacific's Head of Cooperation, Christoph Wagner launched the two new online portals with APB representatives from 15 Pacific ACP countries (Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu).

The German International Co-operation (GIZ) has kicked started its first series of training aimed at building the capacities of regional and district staff of agriculture as well as Agriculture Extension Agents (AEAs) on pests and disease control. Pests and diseases have been identified as one of the biggest threats to the success of the Market Oriented Agriculture Programme (MOAP); a 160 million Euros project that is co-financed by the European Union (EU) under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) and the German Government. MOAP is being implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) with support from GIZ, hence the essence of the series of capacity building trainings for all MoFA staff within the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) Zone Six

For the first seven months of 2017, sugar recorded the highest export earnings. Sugar accounted for one hundred and nine point one million dollars or a third of the total merchandise exports which stood at three hundred and four point seven million dollars. This is mainly due to the preferential rate that Belize has enjoyed over the years from its biggest importer, European Union (EU); however, all that is expected to change come October, when the European Union changes its sugar regime. The change will cause EU to lift the limitations that it had in place on beet sugar production. This means that Belize along with the other African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries will have to compete directly with the beet sugar industry which is a cheaper alternative to cane sugar.

Monday, 25 September 2017

The European Union, through its increasing agricultural commodities trade (IACT) project, has assisted Bula Coffee with the acquisition of a mobile coffee processing machine, nursery structures and irrigation equipment worth $72,000. EU political, trade, press and information section's press and information officer Mohammed Nazeem Kasim said the EU was proud to support the coffee value chain in Fiji and confirmed that the new nurseries would provide coffee seedlings for farmers on both Vili Levu and Vanua Levu. In response to questions on the potential for the local coffee industry, Mr Kasim said the mobile wet coffee processor would provide tangible benefits to both Bula Coffee and to farmers on Vanua Levu.

The new EU regulations regarding false codling moth won’t only be applicable to citrus, but will affect peach, nectarine, pomegranate and capsicum exports from South Africa as well. The stone fruit industry has finalised its draft protocols to manage the new FCM regulations and orchards have already been registered with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) for EU exports. The start of the stone fruit season isn’t far off, although the regulation only kicks in on 1 January 2018, so they’ve had to move quickly, says Mariëtte Kotze, group operations manager at HORTGRO.

A French drone company is teaming up with a major European inspection service to improve agricultural yields in West Africa. Delta Drone and Bureau Veritas Afrique announced plans last week to consolidate Bureau Vertitas’ soil analysis data with aerial data harvested by Delta drones to optimize precision farming for poverty-stricken areas in Côte d’Ivoire and nearby nations. “As a pioneer in the burgeoning sector of civilian drones for professional use, Delta Drone built a complete value chain in order to provide its clients with business solutions that consider the safety or people and property, and acquires aerial data and then processes and delivers it in a format adapted to client needs,” Delta Drone CEO Christian Viguié said.

Through this partnership, the two organisations are engaging to provide jointly and in a complimentary way advice, introductions and e-learning tools for French SMEs seeking to develop in African markets. The two organisations will also participate together to projects leading to the growth of key sectors such as green energies or the agricultural industry in Africa.

A three-member team of auditors from the Food and Veterinary Office of the European Union (EU) is in Ghana to assess the quality of Ghana’s vegetables. The audit will enable the EU office on food safety to reconsider a three-year-old embargo on vegetables export from Ghana to the EU Market. The auditors who are expected to end their duty tour by Saturday, September 21, 2017, will among other things thoroughly assess the sanitary and phytosanitary systems in Ghana required for ensuring the safety of food items and fresh produce.

Friday, 22 September 2017

In a pioneering partnership between global fresh produce business, Halls, an entrepreneurial farmer from Hill Estate and LCL Logistics, the first ever door-to-door export container of avocados out of rural Swaziland has arrived safely at its destination in the United Kingdom. Halls and grower partner, Hill Estate, worked together to overcome the challenges of accessing Hill Estate’s recently relocated pack house, now situated on the farm in a very remote area of the southern district of Shiselweni, one of the most underdeveloped regions of Swaziland. Dedicated supply chain partners, LCL Logistics, were called in to assist with advising on road upgrade and repairs to facilitate the navigation and safe manoeuvring of a fully loaded reefer shipping container over Swaziland’s most mountainous topography.