December 2015
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Tuesday, 01 December 2015

A trio of agreements signed at the Caribbean Agribusiness Forum 2015 will pave the way for stronger development cooperation in the Caribbean. The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with two long - standing partners: the Caribbean Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA),  pledging to work closely with both to further agricultural and rural development in the region. Meanwhile, CARDI and IICA signed a General Technical Cooperation Agreement (GTCA) with each other. The ceremony took place during the Caribbean and Pacific Agri-Food Forum being staged this week in Bridgetown, Barbados.

Friday, 13 November 2015

The European Commission presented its annual proposal for the amount of fish which can be caught by EU fishermen in the Atlantic and North Sea from the main commercial fish stocks for 2016. The Commission proposed to maintain or increase the fish quotas for 35 stocks, and reduce catches for 28 stocks on the basis of the scientific advice received. The proposal also includes an increase in fishing opportunities to help fishermen in the transition to the new obligation to land all catches. This is the first time the Commission proposes so-called quota "top ups" for all the fisheries under the landing obligation as of 2016.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Member of the European Parliament Louis Michel hosted a conference with the Food Bridge vzw in collaboration with the Federation of Anglophone Africans in Belgium and African Diaspora Network in Europe on ‘Food and Gender implications in global food systems’. Prof Dr Peter Scholliers, Professor of Contemporary History at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and head of the FOST (Social and Cultural Food Studies) research group gave the key note address. 

Thursday, 05 November 2015

Members of the European Parliament voted 557 to 75 against the Commission proposal to allow member states to decide on a national basis whether or not to import Genetically Modified Organisms for use in food and animal feed. Ironically, the step was welcomed by the GM industry and green activists alike, albeit for different reasons. Green politicians say the Commission's proposal would have facilitated GM authorisations, while the biotech industry said the rejection of the Commission's "patchwork proposal" was positive. The outcome reflects a matter of principle ― allowing member states to ban GMO products would mean erecting barriers within the EU's single market of.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Four Spanish purse seiners shall be allowed to fish in the Cook Islands waters for the next four years in compliance with the Sustainable Fishing Partnership Agreement (SFPA) signed by the European Union (EU) and the Cook Islands. This gives the EU access to the world's most important tuna fishing grounds providing more than half of the global tuna catch in the western and central Pacific Ocean. In exchange to the access to catch 7,000 tonnes of tuna, the EU will pay Cook Islands a financial contribution amounting to EUR 2.8 million, of which EUR 350,000 is destined to supporting the fishing sector.

The European Commission’s External Action Infopoint hosted a conference on "Improving nutritional outcomes in agriculture interventions". Agricultural interventions (from local projects to large scale policies) are usually regarded as positive or neutral toward human nutrition. The CIRAD/ACF team drew on lessons from 170 studies and identified six pathways from successful agricultural interventions to negative nutrition outcomes, and suggested recommendations to avoid them.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Ministers reached a political agreement on fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea which fixed for 2016 the maximum quantities of fish which can be caught for the commercially most important stocks in the Baltic Sea. The quantities of fish from specific stocks that can be caught take into account available scientific advice and provisions introduced by the recently reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), such as the landing obligation and maximum sustainable yield (MSY). The Council was also briefed on EU-Norway annual consultations in the framework of their bilateral fisheries agreement.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Ghana is expected to lose billions from non-traditional exports following the country's food and agriculture ministry's ban on vegetable exports to the European Union market. The ban follow the interception of a number of fruit and vegetables with harmful organisms and incomplete documentation. According to the European Union Notification System for Plant Health Interceptions Ghana is among countries with the highest number of interceptions on fruit and vegetables exported to the EU.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Next week (13 October), the European Parliament will vote on whether to accept the European Commission’s proposal to tighten rules concerning organic farming in the EU. This will also include whether to accept tighter controls on organic food imports from third non-EU countries. Under proposed rules, organic farmers in the EU would be subject to stricter limits on pesticide use in comparison to conventional farming. This has received much criticisim. Indeed, there seems to be parliamentary support for the rejection of stricter limits in organic production, such as synthetic pesticide levels. On imports, experts have suggested that the EU should work to align its standards with those of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).

Wednesday, 07 October 2015

Plantwise is a global programme led by CABI, which works to help farmers lose less of what they grow to plant health problems. Working closely with national agricultural advisory services Plantwise establishes and supports sustainable networks of plant clinics, run by trained plant doctors, where farmers can find practical plant health advice. Plant clinics promote two way flows of information between farmers and plant doctors. This helps smallholder farmers improve livelihoods. Clinics also record details for the Plantwise Knowledge Bank with the aim to establish an Early Warning System. 

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