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July 2017
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EDITO
Thursday, 27 July 2017

A “development assistance” initiative launched five years ago by the G8, an inter-governmental political forum of the world’s most industrialized nations that consider themselves democracies, is holding Tanzania hostage to the benefit of agribusiness and the detriment of small-scale Tanzanian farmers. The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN), founded by the G8 in 2012 to ostensibly end hunger and poverty for 50 million people, has forced the Tanzanian government to amend its laws to drastically favor agribusiness and seed companies if it wishes to continue receiving developmental assistance aid. Monsanto, one of the NAFSN’s partners in Tanzania, is set to benefit from these changes to Tanzania’s laws.

EURACTIV invited Emma Marcegaglia, President of BusinessEurope, Jacqueline Mugo, Secretary General of Business Africa, Pierre Gattaz, President of Medef, the largest employer federation of France, and Klaus Rudischhauser, EU Commission Deputy Director-General for International Cooperation and Development, to discuss the role of public-private partnerships in development. Emma Marcegaglia: “In this moment, when part of the world will go back to protectionism, Europe must stay open and play a leadership role in open trade and access to markets. A stronger link between Europe and Africa could be a good solution. Africa is a vibrant continent.

The Government's support to avocado producers of the Dominican Republic has generated a substantial increase in exports of fruit to international markets, with a volume of 20,000 metric tons per year, and a foreign exchange contribution that exceeds 30 million dollars. A report from the Department of Fruit of the Ministry of Agriculture indicates that the Dominican Republic has a stable production of avocado with a tendency to increase since, in 2012, 1,000 containers of 35 thousand units each were exported while, this year, more than 800 containers have already been exported. Avocado crops have great social importance: more than 15,000 families depend on this activity directly and more than 40,000 indirectly.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

It is often said the macroeconomic standing of the agricultural sector has diminished, an argument supported by the sector's declining share of GDP, which fell from 4.2 percent in 1996 to 2.3 percent in 2015. However, what is not captured in this narrative is that the value of the agricultural sector has grown 40 percent, from R50.5bn to R71.4bn over that period. This translates to a fairly modest average annual growth rate of 2.1 percent over the past two decades, which explains why agriculture's relative share of the economy has been declining. Agriculture is not becoming insignificant -- it is just that other sectors, particularly the services sector, have grown at a faster rate from a lower base.

South Africa's strategy of pursuing a “developmental trade” policy, in which trade agreements with other countries and regions specifically promote growth, employment and the industrial upgrade of the country, are undermined by unequal global trade rules, markets and power which favours industrial countries. However, South Africa's “developmental trade” policy is often torpedoed by self-destructive compromises to trading partners, wrong strategies and corrupt behaviour by leaders. South Africa's export growth for the past two decades has been at least 11% slower than its peers, India, Brazil and China. Most of South Africa's exports remain raw materials.

Tuesday, 13 June 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.