Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

August 2017
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EDITO
Wednesday, 23 August 2017

SADC has approved to give R20 million each to Madagascar and Seychelles to help the two island nations improve their participation in regional and international trade. The grants were approved by the SADC trade related facility (TRF) programme steering committee, during its seventh meeting held in Gaborone last month. The facility is a mechanism for financial and technical support given to SADC member states to help them implement commitments made under the regional Protocol on Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and the SADC EPA group.

The European Commission has granted Cabo Verde (Cape Verde) a temporary waiver on the rules of preferential origin for prepared or preserved fillets of mackerel, bonito and albacore according to the implementing regulation published in the European Union’s Official Bulletin. The waiver will last for a year (June 2017 to June 2018) for bonito and albacore and two years for mackerel, with retroactive effect from 1 January 2017. Cabo Verde benefits from the Union’s generalised system of preferences for the rules of origin. The waiver covers annual amounts of 2,500 tonnes of prepared and preserved mackerel or mackerel fillets and 875 tonnes of processed or preserved bonito and albacore.

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.

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.

Monday, 12 June 2017

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.

Livestock farmers in country's communal areas are set to get a financial boost, with the launch of a European Union grant programme, "Support to the livestock sector in the Northern Communal Areas of Namibia" which will run over a period of six years worth Euro 20 million. The programme will be launched under a slot at the the 8th Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU) Ordinary Congress that will take place in Opuwo at the Hotel Le Manoir on Friday 9 June, under the theme: "Non-Title Deed Agriculture Transformation: Key to Wealth Creation & Prosperity".At the event, H.E President Hage G. Geingob will deliver the key note address, while the Head of the European Delegation in Namibia, Jana Hybaskova and Hon. John Mutorwa, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, will launch the EU programme

Thursday, 08 June 2017

Victus Global Capital and Altree Capital have partnered to launch a US$50mn fund focusing on investment into women-led agribusinesses in Africa. The fund aims to boost African agriculture through the practise of so-called ‘gender lens investing’, which focuses on funding women-owned businesses, companies with a track-record of hiring women, and those that aim to improve the lives of women through their products and services. It is initiated by Bo Masole and Zee de Gersigny – the founders of Victus Global Capital, an investment firm focused on transforming agriculture and empowering women in Africa – and Jenni Chamberlain, CEO of African asset management specialist Altree Capital.

Monday, 05 June 2017

The Group of Seven (G7) leaders has in its 'Taormina Communiqué' underscored that "Africa’s security, stability and sustainable development are high priorities". But it has yet to respond to UN Secretary-General António Guterres' specific call for the need to invest in young people, with stronger investment in technology and relevant education and capacity building in Africa. The two-day G7 summit in Italy, in which the leaders of six other industrial nations – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the U.S. also took part, concluded on May 27 in Taormina, a hilltop town on the east coast of Sicily, Italy.

Monday, 29 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.