Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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EDITO
Thursday, 27 July 2017

China stands ready to further cooperate with Mali in its agricultural and industrial development, with a view to helping the West African nation establish an industrial system, visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here Sunday. Meanwhile, China will also help Mali to nurture capacities in the three major areas of infrastructure construction, human resources, and peace and security. These efforts are aimed at allowing the country to strengthen its capability for independent development and realize economic independence after it had achieved political independence, Wang said during talks with his Malian counterpart Abdoulaye Diop.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Ghana is working with stakeholders to have the ban on vegetable exports to the European Union lifted in the next three months. That’s the assurance from the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Afriyie Akoto. The ban was imposed on some vegetables exported to the EU as a result of the failure of exporters to meet international quality standards. The ban was placed by the food and veterinary Office of the European Commission for some vegetables mainly pepper, egg plant, and gourds. This was attributed to several interceptions due to the presence of harmful organisms in exported produce.

The African Development Bank has approved a US $100- million facility to finance Export Trading Group (ETG’s) soft commodity value chain operations in sub-Saharan Africa. This Soft Commodity Finance Facility (SCFF) is one of the core Trade Finance instruments in the Bank, innovatively structured to provide pre- and post-shipment finance along various stages of ETG’s commodity value chain operations in the 17 countries expected to benefit from the initiative. This intervention will help local farmers and soft commodity suppliers grow their revenues and produce quality crops for export.

Official potato trial seed sent to Kenya has passed initial lab tests and is now growing well in three locations. AHDB and SASA have been working together to open the Kenyan market to GB seed with a bilateral agreement signed by the Scottish and Kenyan governments late last year. Since then, there has been a significant amount of work behind the scenes to transport, test and plant seed on Kenyan farms. AHDB’s Head of Crops Export Market Development, Rob Burns, explains: “Before commercial growers can access the market, trial seed needs to be tested and grown over two seasons in at least three geographical locations in Kenya. Fortunately in Kenya there are two growing seasons annually so we hope to reach the end of this process, and open up the market fully, by early 2018.

The focus is currently on the failed Navel crop in this South African citrus import season. "At the moment, this has meant a loss of 100% of the export volume for some farmers in the Eastern Cape. In the Western Cape, 25 - 30% of the product has been lost. Overall, it has been a traumatic event for growers, whose fruit lies split on the ground", says Tjeerd Hoekstra, Commercial Manager of Total Produce Rotterdam.All this is ensuring good prices for oranges from overseas, with other citrus products are also priced well. "There are fewer grapefruits being sent, and this reflects in the prices. Prices have been good since the beginning of the season and with a level of between 17 and 19 cents, remains on the high side", says Tjeerd.

Exporters in Togo have sold a quarter-million dollars' worth of soybeans to new customers in Vietnam and the Netherlands, after International Trade Centre advisory services helped them improve their trade-related corporate procedures and strike deals with buyers. Agriculture is critically important for incomes and food security in the West African country, where 41% of the population works in the sector. Diversification into soybean production helps to provide the country with a measure of insurance against yield and price volatility for traditional crops like cotton, cacao and coffee.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Post-Crisis Response to Food and Nutrition Insecurity Project was on Thursday launched in The Gambia at a hotel in Senegambia. The US$11.4 million project seeks to support the fight against malnutrition among children under two years in four administrative regions namely; North Bank Region, Lower River Region, Central River Region and Upper River Region through targeted interventions focusing on food insecure households. In her remarks, Saffie Lowe-Ceesay, the minister of Health and Social Welfare has stated that the under-nutrition is a major public health problem in The Gambia, exacerbated by increasing poverty levels and food insecurity, poor coverage of nutrition interventions, poor dietary habits, poor sanitation and hygiene and increased burden.

European Commission VP for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said the EU’s success in deploying the cross-market vision stands as a blueprint for the world’s digital economy. Addressing the Digital Assembly 2017 in Malta hours after the EU abolished roaming fees, Ansip praised the progress made in Europe’s digital policies and highlighted the potential beyond its borders. “The Digital Single Market is Europe’s main asset in the international digital economy and society,” he said, adding: “It spans different sectors as they embrace digital technology to innovate, become more efficient and stay globally competitive. “It reflects the growing importance of the digital economy for growth and jobs, for society, for business and consumers. That not only applies to the Digital Single Market that we are building in Europe.

French dairy producer Danone is continuing its push into Africa with a $25m investment, together with private equity firm Abraaj Group, in west Africa-based Fan Milk, the companies said on Tuesday. The investment in Fan Milk’s Ghana business will help the company meet growing demand for yoghurt and other dairy products in west Africa’s second-biggest economy. In June, it will launch FanMaxx, a new vitamin-enriched yoghurt drink with a four-month shelf life. Danone, the world’s largest yoghurt maker, anticipates demand for dairy in sub-Saharan Africa will increase steadily in the coming decades. It has spent more than €1bn since 2013 building a production and distribution network across the continent through acquisitions in countries from Kenya and Nigeria to Ivory Coast.

Monday, 19 June 2017

The standards introduced by European Union (EU) countries were being achieved successfully by mango farmers and exporters by virtue of government's support that not only increased demand of Pakistani mango but also resulted in enhanced exports earnings. Agriculture Department spokesman said in a statement on Wednesday that fruit fly affects the quality of fruit, however, Punjab government had initiated a project to tackle fruit fly problem through non-traditional techniques. He said that huge funds had been allocated for training and advocacy of farmers to apprise them of techniques to kill fruit fly. He said that Punjab government had also initiated mango production contest 2017-18 under which high yielding farmers would get prizes of agriculture machinery at district and provincial level.