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.
The European Commission should come up with legislative proposals for mandatory country origin labelling of certain foods, such as milk, dairy and meat products, MEPs said in a new resolution on Thursday (12 May). Ever since the horsemeat scandal three years ago, which revealed that a lack of transparency in the food chain enabled producers to replace beef with horsemeat in certain products, the European Parliament and the Commission have debated how to improve food labelling. In several non-binding resolutions, Parliament told the executive to get back to the drawing board, and on Thursday, in Strasbourg, a majority of MEPs (422 votes to 159, with 68 abstentions) reiterated that country of origin labelling has to be made mandatory for all kinds of dairy and meat products, in order to boost consumer confidence in food products. They also said that the European Commission should consider extending the legislation to cover single-ingredient foods, or those with one main ingredient. The legislators emphasised that they don’t expect adding extra labelling to products would be a major cost for food producers.
The Namibian Standards Institution (NSI) is collaborating with the ACP EU TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade) Programme to assist the Institute to achieve its strategic objectives in a number of areas. The project aims to make recommendations for incorporating a new National Quality Policy into a comprehensive National Quality Infrastructure that includes the developing of national standards and the provision of testing, inspection and certification activities for Namibian products and services. Activities under the project will include the provision of training, attachments of NSI staff to other quality-related institutions, and a range of capacity-building interventions for the NSI Testing Centre and Fishery Inspectorate at Walvis Bay as well as capacity interventions for the NSI Certification staff. The successful completion of the project will further enhance Namibia's ability to maintain standards of quality for products and services, including exports of key products such as fish and fishery products to international trading partners, and will raise awareness among SME's of the benefits of participating in and supporting NSI's activities.
The European Union (EU) says it has earmarked N2.5 billion to support and improve the standard and quality of four Nigerian agricultural products. Mr Filippo Amato, the Counsellor and Head of Trade and Economics Section of EU, disclosed this at a National workshop on the Development of Standards and Engagement of the Private Sector, in Abuja on Thursday. The workshop with theme, 'Standards and Quality-Unleashing the Potentials of Agricultural Products to Grow Non-Oil Exports in Nigeria’, was organised by EU in collaboration with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
Prarastatal beef exporter, Botswana Meat Commission (BMC), has closed indefinitely its major abattoir for EU market pending the assessment of the buffalo incursion in Southern Botswana, APA learnt here Monday.The Minister of Agriculture Patrick Ralotsia states that a specimen has been taken to Botswana Vaccine Institute laboratories to test if the buffalo was harbouring the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).