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.
A group from South Africa will visit European countries to clarify inspection procedures for Citrus Black Spot (CSB). Currently, the CSB costs the industry at least ZAR1 billion (US$86 million) every year. There has been a reduction of interceptions going through Rotterdam from 30 cases in 2013 to just 5 in 2014. However, the South African exporters are concerned by the inconsistencies in sampling procedures and methodology between importing 3rd countries. Furthermore, they query the interceptions in rival markets such as Spain, Italy and France.
480MEPs voted in favourof approving the controversial rules permitting EU member states to decidewhether to allow the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) .For some theagreement undermines the single market, but rapporteur of the agreement, BelgianMEP Frédérique Ries, said that there was no credible alternative: “We have a legal jungle and a recalcitrant council,” she added. Thismeans, even if Brussels does allow GM cultivation, individual member states canrestrict it on environmental, agricultural, social and economic grounds.Adopted by a very large majority, the agreement will give more freedom,more flexibility to Member States as well as greater legal certainty, sheinsisted.