Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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EDITO
Tuesday, 17 October 2017

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. 

Friday, 02 October 2015

While food production, consumption and ironically food waste is high in Europe, for some stakeholders the answer to sustainably transform Europe’s food industry is not more export to third countries but reduced consumption all together. Contrary to EU farmers request for more aid for better export marketing strategies, some lobby groups advocate for reducing the level of EU meat consumption in particular.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

In a recent report entitled Hunger, just another business, the NGOs CCFD-Terre Solidaire, Oxfam France and Action Against Hunger are critical of the new drive for GMO crops in Africa puched by third country development partners.  While GM crops are authorised in only a handful of African countries today, they appear to be gaining in popularity. So far, the only three Africna countries that have commercial GMO crops include South Africa, Burkina Faso and Sudan are the only three African countries that currently commercialise genetically modified crops. However, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda and Egypt have recently carried out field tests.

In a decision on 17 September 2015, the French Constitutional Council overturned the ban on the use of Bisphenol A (BPA) in food containers destined for the export market, while the sale and import of the substance remains prohibited. BPA is used to preserve the flavour of foods and protect them against contamination from microorganisms and has been prohibited in France since 1 January 2010. A number of studies have demonstrated the negative health effects of exposure to bisphenol A. This led to the French ban the use of BPA in products that come into direct contact with food for babies and young children, like feeding bottles. At the EU level, the ban became effective from January 2011.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The DAFF (Dept of Agriculture, Forest and Fisheries) will inspect the last South African citrus destined for export to the European market from  Citrus Black Spot (CBS) regions ahead of stopping exports a month before schedule. This does not apply to citrus CBS-free regions of West and North Cape. Moreover, traditionally South Africa stops exports to the EU from October 15 as from that date they are subject to the import duties.  Deon Joubert, Special Envoy to Europe from the Citrus Growers Association calls it a proactive decision: "This year there have been eight interceptions and that is less than last year.

Friday, 18 September 2015

CTA, in collaboration with IFPRI, the ACP Secretariat, the European Commission, PAFO shall host a panel and launch the Sub-Saharan Africa Food Security Portal, on 16 September 2015, 9h30-13h00, at the ACP Secretariat, 451 Avenue Georges Henri, 1200 Brussels, Room C. Register to attend the launch here.

Data has become a key asset for agricultural transformation in Africa. The availability of timely, relevant, and reliable data on the agriculture sector is necessary for effective planning, monitoring, and evaluation of agricultural and rural development policies and to increase the impact of field interventions. For more details, go to brusselsbriefings.net.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Members of the European Parliament have voted to reject the European Commission proposal to allow member states to limit or ban imports of genetically modified food and feed. MEPs in the Agriculture Committee argue that national bans could distort competition on the EU's single market and undermine the European food and feed sector, which currently, is heavily reliant on imported GMOs.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

The European Parliament has a new publication, which defines and outlines unfair trading practices in business-to-business food supply chains. While a large chunk of EU agri/food products stay within the EU’s internal market, up to 30% are destined for export to third countries. Whether internally or externally, unfair trading practices lead to market distortions, which have negative effects on the food supply chain as a whole. This publication adds to a body of work that has been developed on unfair trading practices in the food sector since the issue was first discussed in 2009.

The European Union’s Rapid Alert System for food has detected excessive levels of chemical contaminants in Nigerian food exports of beans, melon seeds, sweet potatoes, cashew kernels, dried fish and meat, peanut chips, nutmeg, soft drinks and sesame seeds. The discovery has prompted the EU to ban import of these foods until the pesticide level reaches a “safe” limit of 01. mg per kilogram. The EU which has issued 50 notifications to Nigerian beans exporters since January 2013 and shall uphold the ban until June 2016.

Tuesday, 08 September 2015

Sugar is a sensitive product for many African countries and therefore attracts relatively higher tariffs in the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) trade regimes. In Kenya alone, the sugar sector contributes over 15 % of the agricultural GDP and provides income to about 250,000 small-scale farmers. The total contribution of the sugar sector in the country supports an estimated 10 million people. Since March 2002, Kenya has been imposing safeguards on sugar imports courtesy of Article 61 of the Comesa Treaty that provides for safeguard measures for domestic industries that need international protection until they become mature and stable.