Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

August 2017
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EDITO
Monday, 21 August 2017

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.

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 Pacific Fishery Management Council has recommended regulations governing the use of electronic equipment to monitor at-sea discards of target, non-target and prohibited fish for certain West Coast groundfish fisheries. If approved by National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), this will mark the culmination of a four-year process to develop and implement regulations for electronic monitoring system use in West Coast groundfish fisheries. Council Member Dorothy Lowman said, “For many fishing operations, electronic monitoring will provide a more cost-effective way to meet 100 percent monitoring requirements. This will allow fishermen the flexibility to choose the monitoring method that makes the most sense for them while maintaining full accountability.”

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Council of ministers began a meeting here yesterday with a call on the 79-member grouping to meet their financial obligations so as to allow their group to better survive a changing global environment.The Guyanese ACP Secretary General Dr Patrick I Gomes, addressing the 105th Council Session, said that a prerequisite to the continued well-being of the ACP Group in general, and the Secretariat in particular is to better serve all our stakeholders. “I would therefore like to appeal to member states to continue your efforts towards the timely payment of statutory obligations in order to improve our self-reliance and the smooth functioning of the secretariat

Monday, 08 May 2017

The National Agricultural Marketing Council of South Africa, together with tralac, an NGO studying trade law, has released a study on African agricultural trade as it plays out on the world stage. The conclusion of ‘WTO: Agricultural issues for Africa’ by Prof Ron Sandrey and his fellow authors, is that there are few agricultural sectors where Africa would benefit from WTO intervention and that the continent couldn’t do better than its current preferential access to the European Union. For South Africa, which is designated a developed nation under WTO rules (apparently a self-selected designation), the situation is more complex.

Today in each EU nation, most people wear genetically modified (GM) cotton, and farm animals massively feed on imported GM soy. Yet many countries vote against import authorizations of the very same GM crops they depend upon: We import more than 60kg of GM soya for each of the EU’s 500 million citizens each year; on the other hand, most European farmers are banned from growing GM crops. The European Academies of Science have said: “There is compelling evidence that GM crops can contribute to sustainable development goals with benefits to farmers, consumers, the environment and the economy.”A recent Food and Agriculture Organization report confirms that agricultural biotechnologies can help small producers to be more resilient and adapt to climate change. Like safety authorities around the world, the European Food Safety Authority regularly confirms that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are as safe as conventionally bred crops

Tuesday, 02 May 2017

The EU currently has nine Outermost Regions (ORs), which are an integral part of its territory: the Canary Islands (Spain), the Azores and Madeira (Portugal), and Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Ma rtinique, Saint Martin, Réunion and Mayotte (France). While t he rights and obligations of the EU Treati es apply fully to these regions, Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) recognises that the y have particular features which constrain their development, and allows the adoption of specific measures adapted to the situation of the ORs. Under the current common fisheries policy (CFP) , OR fishing fleets are subject to the same management measures as all EU fleets . A s the CFP sets maximum limits of total tonnage and engine power, the capacity of the OR fleets cannot increase (though Mayotte, which became an OR more recently, benefits from a derogation) OR fleets ' capacity limits are set for each fleet segment of each OR.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Ethiopia and Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) launched Drought Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods Programme (DRSLP) in Semera, Afar State with 12 million Euro fund secured from the latter. The Programme, supported by the technical of the Agency and Italian soft loan, is in line with IGAD Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustainability Initiative (IDDRSI) assisted by the African Development Bank, GiZ, the World Bank and the European Union in the lowlands of the country. The Federal Coordination Unit within the State, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries and State's Coordination Unit within the Bureau of Agricultural and Pastoral Development are in charge of coordinating the activities.

Africa needs more than token action towards building green economies. Without adequate climate action, African farmers may lose 40 % to 80 % of their croplands for growing grains. Preventing the loss of biodiversity (SDG 9) and ecosystem degradation will safeguard urban people’s food supply too. The big question is: how will private sector resources be mobilised? No doubt, African financial institutions have significant capacities to support investors. However, they have a history of risk aversion and lack sufficient market instruments to facilitate risk-sharing. Therefore investments in agribusiness has stayed below what is needed. A further drag is the macroeconomic situation. Interest rates are rising and are increasingly beyond what smallholder farmers and small and mid-sized enterprises can afford.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Delegates from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania have decried what they called political interference in the management of water resources. During the recent Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO) conference in Kampala, which was funded by the European Union [EU] and SmartFish Programme, the delegates said such interferences have increased cases of illegal activities on the lake that is shared by the three East African countries. "Our lake is not in good shape, yet there has been constant intervention. The problem has been made worse by political interference; we need to build resilience that resists this interference in order to have a sustainable Lake Victoria," Susan Amendi, a delegate from Kenya, said.