Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Belgian biological controls specialist, Biobest, has acquired Thika­based pest­control firm Real IPM Kenya. Biobest, a leading global player in pollination and biological pest control, said the acquisition would allow it get a strong foothold in a part of the world where it has no presence. The Kenya firm has a broad market presence in the export­driven flower market and among smallholder grain farmers. Details of the stake and its worth were not disclosed. The transaction is, however, due to close in early 2017 subject to authorisation by the Competition Authority of Kenya and other regulators.

As the European market continues to dictate strict standards for any product entering its territory, many exporters have been caught out. However, rejected products are finding their way onto local markets. EurActiv Germany reports. Kenya, one of the largest exporters of fresh produce to the EU, has been hit hard by officials wedding out produce that the European market has deemed high in residual levels of pesticides and heavy metals unfit for human consumption and environment. Exports to the EU include flowers, vegetables, fruits, peas and fish. The EU has placed Kenya on the radar as one of the countries with 10% increased Maximum Residual Levels (MRLs), which are the set legal levels of concentration of pesticide residues in or on food.

Russia has announced its desire to strengthen its agricultural trading relationship with Nigeria. Mr Nikolay Udovichenko, the Russian Ambassador to Nigeria said that the Russian government would export finished agricultral products and machinery to help boost the sector in Nigeria. According to him, the production of agricultural machinery is even higher than that of arms. “The Russian government is delighted and ready to export Nigerian agricultural products, especially, mangoes, pineapples, banana, pawpaw and cocoa beans."

The Commercial Registry has received three applications for the registration of the name Demerara as a Geographical Indication (GI). The three applications are for Demerara Sugar, Demerara Molasses and Demerara Rum. Frist Vice President (VP) Carl Greenidge said that recapturing the name provides opportunities for producers to obtain market recognition. ... GIs are names and other designations associated with quality products coming from specific places where the geographical origin of the products gives them specific qualities, characteristics and reputation. Unlike trademarks, a producer cannot take the name if production is no longer done in the country. The project is being funded by the European Union (EU) through the ACP-EU TBT Programme.

The European Commission is set to propose new measures to regulate Citrus Black Spot and False Codling Moth. This would extend the current measures on CBS and introduce a regulation for the first time on FCM. South Africa, while not the only country to be affected by these possible new regulations, would be severely affected. Some Southern EC Member States would, in addition to the regulations already in place, like to delete the derogation for citrus fruit processing [juice] with regard to CBS and on the FCM side they want to change the “consignment freedom” approach of the Commission to a mandatory cold sterlisation requirement for citrus fruit across the board. To date, discussion among the Member States (SCOPAFF) are unresolved – there is no majority in favour of either approach – and the Commission will look to make compromises in view of a tentative vote at the January SCOPAFF.

The 2016 South African citrus season has come and gone. The 2016 crop was down 8%, largely due to drought. The export to Europe increased by 5.1% in a total of an 8% lower crop.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Rising temperatures will have severe implications for crops, water and livestock in African small states if urgent measures aren’t taken, a new report has found. The Commonwealth Secretariat’s Small States: Economic Review and Basic Statics, Volume 19 warns of the intensifying impact of climate change on the agriculture sectors in Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland. It also identifies strategies that could help countries address the challenge. “What the Commonwealth report shows is that there is need for urgent action. For Africa, we need to start with better co-operation and co-ordination between those working in climate change and agriculture,” said Dr Reginald Darius, head of economic development at the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Thursday, 08 December 2016

A five-year project aimed to support farmers' groups in Arusha and Manyara regions to enable them to improve agricultural productivity was launched here last week with the partner organisations involved optimistic on its success. The cost of the project is euro 1,058,000, according to the communications officer with the Tanzania Horticultural Association ( Taha), Ms Adda Ngoya The official launch of Cooperation Agreement attracted four organisations which will support implementation of the project titled 'Strengthening Farmers' Organisations for Sustainable Agricultural Development'. Besides Taha, others are Trias Tanzania, Andreas Hermes Akademie (Aha), a German institution. Aha is a German farmer-based agri-agency and capacity-building institution.

So far, over 7,000 farmers have been trained and linked to different markets through a 4-year project designed to help farmers market their produce, the Private Sector Federation (PSF) has said. The Rwf4bn Link Farmers to Market Project (LIFAM), to be concluded this year, is financed by the Netherlands government and implemented by PSF, according to Regina Kayitesi, the national project coordinator. She was speaking to The New Times, on Monday, at the closure of a four-day farmers exhibition at Gikondo Expo grounds. The expo, attended by over 200 farmers, was organised by the Chamber of Agriculture and Livestock at PSF. The expo was themed "unlocking the potential of Rwandan farmers to markets."

An official of European Union, John Clarke, has projected Nigeria to be an agricultural powerhouse in 10 years time with the entrepreneurial spirit of the people and its abundant land. Clarke, who is the Director, International and Bilateral Relations of the EU, made the projection at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry International Investment Conference in Lagos. The conference was part of the activities marking the 30th Lagos International Trade Fair organised by the chamber slated for November 4 to 13. Clarke said: “Positive policies geared toward attracting investment into the agricultural sector will make the projection a reality.”