The European Union has allocated 84 million euros to support the agricultural sector in Angola for the next five years. This support aims to help combat malnutrition, which is the fifth leading cause of infant death in the country. Malnutrition in Angola is very troubling. There is recognition of the Angolan authorities of its strong impact on human development and on the country per se. The National Indicative Programme which outlines the strategy and priorities for cooperation between the government of Angola and EU aid, considers food and nutrition security as one of the partnership’s priority areas.
While the European commission and all 28 EU member states are signatories to the international treaty on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, Marie Haga, the executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust questions the commitment to agrobiodiversity. Population growth is expected to exceed nine billion by 2050 and necessarily, such rapid population growth will correlate with an increase in global food demand, currently estimated at 50%. But there are many crucial challenges including climate change, crop pests and diseases, and pressure on agricultural land. As a result of globalisation and industrialisation of agriculture, the planet currently rely on only 150 crops for nearly all its nutrition.
Scientists for the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) aredeveloping a super breadfruit (Mae) that will be more productive and climateresistant. The joint research by the SPC’s Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees(CePaCT) aims to improve food security in the Pacific Islands. According to theSPC “Pacific Island governments want varieties of breadfruit that fruit allyear round so that there is a continuous supply, which is vitally important forfood security and also for commercial farmers and businesses based onbreadfruit products”.
Twenty days after the signing of the new law on growing genetically modified (GM) crops in the European Union by the European Parliament, (11 March) and it’s publication in the Official Journal of the EU, the new law shall enter into force. The first crop likely to get European Commission endorsement is to be an insect-resistant maize known as 1507, whose developers DuPont and Dow Chemical have been lobbying 14 years for the EU to authorise cultivation. It is widely-grown in the Americas and Asia. It still remains a very divisive issue in the EU: Britain is in favour, while France is opposed.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) report has found that more than 97% of foods contain pesticide levels that fall within legal limits: 55% of the samples evaluated by EFSA were free of detectable traces, while strawberries and lettuce are the most likely to exceed safe limits. The European Crop Protection Association (ECPA), a trade group representing the pesticides industry, hailed the EFSA report, saying it "confirms once again that Europe’s food supply is among the safest in the world." ECPA added that traces of pesticides exceeding the maximum residue levels (MRLs) were found more often in imported food (5.7%) than in samples originating from the EU and the European Economic Area (1.4%).
Cassavas is currently one of the world's fastest-growing crops, and is holding up better to the rising temperatures caused by climate change, as pointed out by experts. Since the 80s, the global production of cassava has increased by 52% due, among other reasons, to the doubling of its production in Africa. It adapts better to higher temperatures compared to other crops, such as beans or corn, as it is less sensitive to climate changes.
The Brazilian government has received confirmation from the South African health authorities that it is to reopen the market for exports of boneless beef. This announcement comes after the South African government banned the import of these products in 2005, following the outbreak of the foot and mouth disease, and the atypical case of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Brazil.
Informal markets provide 85-95 per cent of animal food products eaten in Africa. Yet, a new book recommends that African countries should pay more attention to food safety issues in informal markets where animal products are prepared and sold to help improve human health and generate more income. “Food safety and informal markets: animal products in Sub-Saharan Africa”, launched at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) campus in Kenya details 25 case studies resulting from ILRI’s Safe Food, Fair Food project, which commenced in 2011 in eight African countries — Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania.
In the ongoing battle against obesity, heart disease and diabetes in the Pacific region, a new study has revealed that allocating sufficient tuna for local consumption and keeping it affordable could significantly improve health outcomes.
Pacific Island communities have the highest rates of obesity and diabetes in the world, primarily because traditional foods such as root crops, fish and shellfish are being replaced by relatively cheap, energy-dense and nutritionally-poor imported foods.
Increased consumption of fish and shellfish, which are rich in protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, is seen as an important part of the solution.
The Dutch Agricultural Development & Trading Company (Dadtco) shall sign an agreement with the International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC) to boost large-scale production of cassava in Mozambique’s Inhambane province. Since 2001 Dadtco, in partnership with IFDC, has processed cassava produced by small Mozambican farmers into cassava cake, which is used by Cervejas de Moçambique to produce beer. In 2012 the IFDC, created a public-private partnership to support small cassava farmers, with the distribution of improved cassava planting material from the Mozambique Agrarian Research Institute and training of farmers in improved practices.