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July 2017
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EDITO
Thursday, 27 July 2017

The maximum volume of rice that private traders can ship in annually will remain at 805,200 tons until 2020, with the tariff also kept at 35%, the order signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on April 27 showed. The Philippines, one of the world’s top rice importers, is supposed to lift the import restriction by July 1 this year under an agreement with the World Trade Organization (WTO). It was not immediately clear if Manila needs to seek another waiver from the trade body from its obligation to open up the domestic rice market. In 2014, Manila won WTO approval for a waiver but, as part of the agreement, it pledged to increase the annual import volume from 350,000 tons and reduce the rice tariff from 40%. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol, who believes the Philippines could be self-sufficient in rice production by 2020, had been pushing for a two-year extension of the restriction, saying local farmers are not ready to compete with cheap imports.

Civil Society organizations have called on government not to completely remove taxes on imported rice. This follows a proposal by government through the Ministry of Finance to remove taxes on imported rice so as to cater for the food insecurity situation in the country. The same idea is being hatched in South Sudan too. The Office of the Prime Minister is already distributing food items including rice, maize flour and beans in different parts of the country. But CSOs led by the food Rights Alliance (FRA) said whereas the idea is good for now, it is not good in the long term. FRA executive director, Agnes Kirabo, said the exemption will be for one year and yet Ugandan rice matures in a space of 90 days

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

North Eastern Kenya was one of the regions in the country that experienced perennial drought. One proactive and sustainable option for insulating the region and indeed, the entire country, against the negative effects of drought is through large-scale investment in desert agriculture. With the availability of labour and a virgin territory five times the size of Rwanda, there is no better place to experiment with desert agriculture. Some of the farm produce harvested locally already signifies the great potential for agriculture in the region.They include lemons, bananas, watermelons, pawpaws, mangoes, tomatoes, kales, onions, cassava and millet.

Monday, 22 May 2017

The European Union has cautioned President Museveni to go slow on his plans to hurriedly implement donor-funded projects, warning that it could end in shoddy work and increased corruption. The World Bank and European Union are some of the biggest funders of agriculture and infrastructure projects. At last week's World Economic Forum in Durban, South Africa, Mr Museveni criticised international financial agencies funding infrastructure projects in Africa as "unserious", citing "frivolity" on their part.Ambassador Kristian Schmidt, the head of the European Union Delegation in Uganda, (EU) in a rejoinder said whereas the President's comments were not directed at the EU, they "strictly follow and monitor our projects".

Countries in the tropics and sub-tropics are particularly vulnerable to climate change, as extreme weather conditions pose a serious threat to their food security. In India, droughts and damaging floods are continuously affecting the well-being of a growing population, of which the vast majority reside in rural areas and are highly dependent on natural resources for their food, shelter and income. To address these issues and find solutions to climate-related challenges for Indian agriculture, ClimaAdapt, an interdisciplinary and integrated research project, was initiated in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu states in 2012. The project had its final meeting in May 2017. ClimaAdapt's coordinator, Dr Udaya Sekhar Nagothu from the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, NIBIO, explains that active participation and continuous dissemination of research results and other information between researchers, policy makers and stakeholders, has been essential in the project.

China and Nigeria held a strategic discussion in Abuja on Tuesday to strengthen agricultural cooperation between them. Tagged China-Nigeria Agricultural Modernization Cooperation Forum 2017, the meeting discussed ways on how China can assist Nigeria to achieve an increase in agricultural productivity, food security and poverty reduction toward overall sustainable diversification of its economy. Chinese ambassador in Nigeria Zhou Pingjian said China, as a strategic partner of the west African country, stands ready to share its experience in agricultural development and provide financial and technical support toward the country's realization of its agricultural and food security plans.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Only 100,000 hectares of arable land, out of Angola’s 5 million hectares, are annually prepared using machinery and/or animal traction for sowing and harvesting agricultural products, the agriculture minister said on Thursday in Luanda. Minister Marcos Nhunga also said that the rest of the available land is still tilled using hoes, which is worrying and reveals the low level of agricultural mechanisation in Angola.

The coconut is undoubtedly the most important tree in the Pacific. Over the past few decades the economic significance of this important tree to the Pacific has been subject to major international shifts. With funding from the European Union, the Pacific community has recently launched a new project entitled “Coconut Industry Development for the Pacific Project” or CIDP which aims to better position Pacific Island nations to take advantage of these opportunities.PIFON is proud to announce that it has recently signed a contract to support the CIDP over the next 16 months. Through its network, PIFON will be providing a range of expertise to CIDP to carry out market studies and value chain analysis for a range of coconut products from the region.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative (SIANI) offers seed funding to expert groups that support its vision and mission to understand emerging issues in food security and nutrition in low-income countries. Expert groups comprise a diverse group of stakeholders (academia, NGOs, private business, government, etc.) to prepare publications, organize events, and engage in other activities that strengthen the Swedish resource base and their partners. Expert groups do not need to be geographically located in Sweden. However, if an expert group is established outside Sweden, it needs to have a clear link to the Swedish resource base and Swedish funded activities.

Uganda's potential in fruits and vegetable exports will be showcased this week in Italy's biggest International fair called Macfruit which will take place from May 10 to 12. At least 10 exporting companies all members of the Uganda Fruits and Vegetables Exporters and Producers Association (UFVEPA), are scheduled to participate in the fair. Ms Brenda Opus, Uganda Export Promotion Board's marketing executive said. "It is the only vertical trade fair in Europe representing the entire sector. This trade fair is a platform of business meetings and conferences that will provide Ugandan companies the opportunity to learn more about international quality requirements and new initiatives in the organic sector geared towards a fast growing segment."