Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

April 2017
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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The Adentan Municipal Assembly has launched a 820,000 Euro mushroom project, dubbed the ‘Promush Project’, to create 5,500jobs for the youth and persons with disabilities. The three-year project is funded by the European Union(EU) with an amount of 660,000 Euros while the assembly, Centre for Local Governance Advocacy(CLGA) and Local Government Network (LOGNet), contributed a total of 160,000 Euros. Hajia Mahama said the project would use community sensitisation programmes to orient the crop and animal farmers, youth and the general public to see mushroom farming as a viable business venture.

The Pacific Community (SPC) and the European Union will support the coconut industry in Samoa and Vanuatu as part of a new regional initiative to improve small producer’s business competitiveness. The €3.5 million Coconut Industry Development Project (CIDP) aims to improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers in Samoa and Vanuatu, and to share lessons learned to support the development of the regional coconut industries. SPC Project Team Leader, Karen Mapusua, says the call for Expressions of Interest is now open for all involved in the coconut industry including the private sector, farmers’ organisations, and NGOs working with farmers.

Nigerian exporters have been encouraged by Agriculture and Rural Management Training Institute’s (ARMTI’s) Acting Executive Director Dr. Olufemi Oladunni to increase their vegetables exports take advantage of the current vegetable shortage currently being experienced in Europe. Consumers in northern Europe are seeing extremely limited availability of a number of vegetables. He advised them to address quality certification issues that have been a major hindrance food exporters have been facing in the European Union (EU) market.

Tobias Ellwood, the UK Minister for Africa and the Middle East, and Baroness Northover, the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy visited Angola this week for calls with senior ministers covering the wide range of areas in which the UK and Angola work together.In his first visit to Angola, minister Ellwood met senior Angolan ministers. These important discussions were built on the progress made during the visit of his predecessor, James Duddridge, in 2016, when a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the UK and Angola covering the political, economic and commercial bilateral relationship. As well as discussing bilateral relations, discussions focused on the region and the international agenda. Not only is Angola a valued UK partner in terms of trade, but we have the same objectives in terms of regional and international peace and security Ahead of his visit, Mr Ellwood said: I am delighted to be visiting Angola for the first time and look forward to discussing areas of mutual interest to our two countries.

Spain’s Citrus Management Committee (CGC) has claimed South African citrus exporters are avoiding the Mediterranean country’s ports in favor of the Netherlands as Dutch points of entry are allegedly far less “effective” at detecting citrus black spot (CBS). The CGC claimed it had seen unspecified documents from the Citrus Growers Association of Southern Africa (CGA) which it said showed that Dutch inspections during the 2014 campaign were 24-times less effective than Spanish inspections for the CSB-causing Gignardia Citricarpa pathogen. It alleged that it was because of this that the Netherlands received the highest volumes of South African citrus in Europe. It went on to claim that inspections were not carried out in the Netherlands by the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, but a private company called Kwaliteits Controle Bu­reau (KCB) headed up by Dutch produce importers.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Germany's Development Minister Gerd Müller has called for more German investment in Africa and argued that the investments could help reduce poverty. One such project he used as an example was Kevian. The filling plants were supplied by a German company and financed by a loan from development agencies in Germany. The company has grown from 60 employees to 600. The fruit suppliers also benefit. "That's how it should be. 300,000 farmers supply mangos for processing. The farmers have long-term contracts, get a fixed price and can live on it," Müller said. According to the 61-year-old minister, Africa needs ten thousand of such factories.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

South Africa's Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Senzeni Zokwana recently met with the Ambassador for the EU Marcus Cornaro to discuss bilateral trade relations, amid increasing concern about the state of the poultry industry in South Africa. The meeting took place in the context of the entry into force of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) EPA group in October 2016.

Food security in South Africa remains a challenge, with just 30 000 commercial farmers being responsible for most of the country’s food production. Over 200 000 smallholder farmers and an estimated 2 million subsistence farmers have an important role to play in food security and poverty reduction, yet their access to markets, information and finance is limited or non-existent. There is also a lack of available data on smallholder farmers and their supply chains, which is a barrier to informed decision-making by agribusinesses and policy makers. Mobile ICT solutions such as Vodacom’s Connected Farmer platform will help to address this by providing farmers with the services they need.

Mr Albert Atuah Amponsah, the Managing Proprietor of Albe Farms, producers of pineapples and vegetables, has called on the Government to formulate a policy to encourage investment into Non Traditional Exports (NTEs) to feed the local and international markets.He said an increase in the production of NTE crops and items would result in food sufficiency to ensure economic growth, create jobs for the youth and improve the standard of living. Ghana exports yam, cassava, gari, bananas, plantain, pineapples, citrus, beans, shea nuts, textiles, and handicrafts among other things under the Non-Traditional Export drive that started in 1994. Mr Amponsah was speaking to the Ghana News Agency after participating in a three-day fruit and vegetable fair in Berlin, Germany, from February 8-10.

The Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) is striving to get the European Union to lift its ban on the exportation of beans from Nigeria to member countries. The Coordinating Director of the agency, Dr. Vincent Isegbe, said all hands are on deck to ensure that the EU lifts the ban before 2019. Noting that the EU ban on Nigerian beans has severely affected the economy, Isegbe said there was a need to avoid future rejection of Nigeria’s agricultural commodities. According to him, the EU had promised to reverse the ban if necessary measures were put in place before 2019.