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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Jamaican Government plans to expand the cassava industry in partnerships with the private sector partner Jamaican beer Red Stripe and the University of the West Indies, with support from the Colombian government. Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, said the partnership between government and the manufacturer of red Stripe, which is using the tuber as part of its brewing process, has shown that the industry can grow. PM Miller stated, “As this new industry develops, I look forward to the opening soon, of a new cassava processing plant in Elim, St. Elizabeth, and thanks to the Government of Colombia for having provided this gift."
In recent years, Aflatoxin contamination in food grain and feed in Kenya has become a major health concern. However, Kenya recently approved the use of Aflasafe - a product that combats aflatoxin poisoning - by farmers. This decision is expected to have a major impact in the agricultural, public health and trade sectors. This builds on ongoing work by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, which already dedicated Ksh1.5 billion ($15 million) for aflatoxin mitigation in the country. The Pest Control Board approved the registration of Aflasafe, which was developed by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock research Organisation.