The Ghana Vegetable (GhanaVeg) Programme, which was introduced by the Dutch government, is working through the horticultural value chain to help Ghana overturn a European Union (EU) ban on exports of selected vegetables. The EU last year banned the exports of chillies, aubergine and other vegetables from Ghana to stop the introduction of pests into the ecosystem of the EU.
South Africa's renowned Rooibos Tea has secured geographic indicator status in a pact with the European Union (EU), Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Friday. "Geographical Indications (GIs) are recognition that the use of a particular name, which is usually derived from some place name, that this is exclusively for producers who come from that area," the minister told a media briefing at Parliament in Cape Town.
The European Union may be planning to lift the ban placed on the export of some vegetables from Ghana last year, because the produce did not meet the required quality standards. This was hinted at by the EU Ambassador to Ghana, William Hanna. According to Hanna, though there is a huge market in the EU for Ghanaian produce, the union will not compromise on quality standards. Speaking to Citi Business News on the latest development, William Hanna explained that the EU is currently assisting local farmers through its Trade Related Assistance and Quality Enabling Programme (TRAQUE) to ensure that they meet the standards.
South Africa’s wine industry has received a major boost with the signing of an agreement between the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the EU which will allow the country to export 110-million litres of wine to Europe — up from the current annual duty-free quota of 48-million litres. Although SA exports worldwide, the EU is by far the wine industry’s biggest export destination, accounting for close to 75 % of annual off-shore sales volumes, worth R5bn. SA’s nearly 100,000ha of vineyards, mostly situated in the Western Cape near the coast, generate about 3% of the world’s wine production.
A draft bill at the EU parliament which urges G8 member states not to support GMO research and cultivation in Africa, has been criticised by Kenyan MPs. Mt Elgon MP John Serut said he reads malice in the proposed draft bill on the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. “.. it looks like it is intended to make Africa remain in subsistence farming,” said Serut a member of the agriculture committee. The bill has been drafted and sponsored by the Committee on Development in the EU parliament and it claims that the technology is not good for Africa. The MPs and biotechnology experts noted that the success of this motion will lead to termination of most Africa based research and development for GM crops. He called for support from the Kenya’s legislatures by writing a formal protest letter to the EU Parliament. “Interestingly, there is no single word in the Bill that touches on export of GM products to Africa,” he said.
Mr Peter de Wit is a Netherlands based PUM horticultural expert; according to de Wit the blueberry industry is poised for growth, with European consumers prepared to pay more for fruit and vegetables with certain health or wellness attributes. Blueberries are popularly known as a ''superfood'' for their health benefits. De Wit recently visited Zimbabwe, where Zimtrade is urging growers to cultivate alternative high value fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, mange tout and sugar snap, among others. In Africa, the top producers and exporters of blueberries are Morocco and South Africa, but the two only account for 4.9% of the world market share.
Dominica is among seven Caribbean islands participating in an over seven million dollar project for the revision and strengthening of the national emergency response plan for the highly pathogenic, avian influenza or bird flu. Avian influenza is a severe, often fatal, type of influenza that affects birds, especially poultry, and that can also be transmitted to humans. It is considered a global problem. The 42 month project which ends in 2017 includes countries from the Caribbean forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, CARIFORUM. The other countries are Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This exercise follows an on-farm simulation with farmers which took place last year. The table top simulation brought the relevant parties together to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the response and plan better for a possible occurrence.
Citrus export from South Africa is going well at the moment although some traders say that they are not doing lemons or grapefruit because they just cant get a hold of it. Volumes of grapefruit are short but with lemons it is the huge demand which is making them scarce. Navels however, are available as harvest started 2-3 weeks ago and demand is good. Gary Britz from Ele Trading said they were starting to get a bit of cold weather which is very important for colour development. "There are lots going into Canada, UK and the EU where the demand is good and the Middle East is still good prior to Ramadan. Some people have already started Valencias, but the big volumes will start in around 2-3 weeks and prices are pretty much the same in comparison to last year but the exchange rate is giving a slight advantage to the growers and exporters. Spain and Turkey finished their citrus seasons early leaving a clear European market but according to Gary the consumer is not prepared to pay more for a Navel or Valencia, they would rather leave it and buy something else so prices will be around the same as last year.
European Union import restrictions concerning citrus black spot disease (CBS) and South African exports have been partially relaxed with revised rules coming into force from June 1. One of the most significant relaxations concerns the CBS interception threshold of five which was a limit aimed at stronger controls and was often referred to as the ‘five strike rule’. The other easing is for citrus used in juicing. It must still come from CBS-treated areas, but from June will only be subject to a visual inspection. If CBS is detected then only that particular consignment will be refused, without knock-on effects for the South African packing facilities from which it originated. Both relaxations come after a European Food Safety Authority risk assessment that determined there is a low risk of transferring CBS to processing juice. Reacting to the EU’s partial easing, South Africa’s Citrus Growers’ Association’s special envoy for market access and EU matters, Deon Joubert, tells www.freshfruitportal.com it’s a step in the right direction.
This week, Denmark's environment and food minister Esben Lunde Larsen is in Kenya as part of a Danish export delegation, which aims to gain a foothold in the country and boost its ability to produce more fresh fruit and vegetables. Larsen has signed a co-operation agreement with Kenya to improve food security in the African nation. “Kenya has considerable potential as a food-producing and food-exporting nation, and it’s positive that we can help contribute with Danish expertise in a growing market,” said Larsen. In the World Bank’s most recent Ease of Doing Business Index, Kenya shot up 28 spots on the global rankings, attesting to the nation’s significant growth potential and its relevance as a regional trade hub in east Africa.