Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

September 2017
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EDITO
Monday, 25 September 2017

The Gambia government has launched a US$11.4 million project, funded by the European Union, to improve food security and reduce stunting growth among children in North Bank, Lower River, Central River and Upper River regions. The 30-month project, to be jointly implemented by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), was launched at Kairaba Beach Hotel on Thursday. It would be implemented in close partnership with the Department of Agriculture (and its specialised units), the National Nutrition Agency, the Ministry of Health, the National Disaster Management Agency, the Gambia Red Cross Society, Farmer Based Organisations, and the Women’s Health, Productivity and the Environment NGO (BAFROW).

It is often said the macroeconomic standing of the agricultural sector has diminished, an argument supported by the sector's declining share of GDP, which fell from 4.2 percent in 1996 to 2.3 percent in 2015. However, what is not captured in this narrative is that the value of the agricultural sector has grown 40 percent, from R50.5bn to R71.4bn over that period. This translates to a fairly modest average annual growth rate of 2.1 percent over the past two decades, which explains why agriculture's relative share of the economy has been declining. Agriculture is not becoming insignificant -- it is just that other sectors, particularly the services sector, have grown at a faster rate from a lower base.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The African Union (AU) has launched a joint business plan that will be used by member states to implement the CAADP-Malabo declarations. The plan that runs from 2017 to 2021 will support operations at a country level that will support agriculture transformation. The plan was launched on Wednesday at the official opening of the 13th Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) meeting taking place in Kampala. Launching the plan, the commissioner Rural Economy at the African Union, Josefa Leonal Correia Sacko said using the plan, they will negotiate with development partners to mobilise financial support to member countries.

Wednesday, 07 June 2017

Representatives of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) met in Addis Ababa on May 10, 2017 and agreed on a roadmap for the implementation of the partnership agreement signed between the two entities in January 2017. During the meeting, which was held under the theme, "Achieving agricultural transformation in Africa," participants identified and agreed on four key programme areas including, enhancing rural entrepreneurship and employment for youth and women; addressing natural resource degradation and scarcity, conflicts and migration; ending hunger, nutrition and poverty in Africa; and effective response to climate change.

Lack of storage forces farmers to sell their harvest at low prices - but changing that can help them get ahead Surveying his village's stocks of rice, sesame, millet and other food in a storehouse piled high with bags, Amadou Hassane is satisfied - but still a little anxious about the oversupply of baobab leaves. With the rainy season set to start soon in Niger, Hassane and his fellow farmers need buyers for their leaves before the rains come, driving the prices down as fresh leaves sprout and supply surges across the western region of Tillabery. "Life is hard because it is difficult to know when the first rains will come," Hassane told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, holding a list of each farmer's contribution to the village's stockpile.

World leaders must step up and take action in fighting famine to prevent further catastrophic levels of hunger and deaths, said Oxfam. Ahead of the 43rd G7 summit, Oxfam urged world leaders to urgently address the issue of famine, currently affecting four countries at unprecedented levels. "Political failure has led to these crises - political leadership is needed to resolve them... the world's most powerful leaders must now act to prevent a catastrophe happening on their watch," said Oxfam's Executive Director Winnie Byanyima. "If G7 leaders were to travel to any of these four countries, they would see for themselves how life is becoming impossible for so many people: many are already dying in pain, from disease and extreme hunger," she continued.

Monday, 29 May 2017

The European Union (EU) and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) introduced a food fortification opportunity for nutrition sensitive food system in The Gambia to overcome under-nutrition, at a ceremony held at the Senegambia Beach Hotel on Wednesday. In his remarks, Darrell Sexstone, programme manager for Agriculture Food and Nutrition security, climate change and institutional support at the EU delegates, said the effect of poor nutrition represents one of the most serious and preventable tragedies of the time. He said millions of children survive but grow up stunted with a low height for their age and impaired mental development.

At a time when nearly one million South Sudanese have crossed into northern Uganda, creating one of the world's largest refugee settlements, Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), arrives in Kampala 25 May to discuss efforts to support small scale farmers and increase food security in the country. According to a recent analysis, some 4.9 million South Sudanese are food insecure and 100,000 are at risk of famine. The arrival of nearly one million refugees in Uganda puts additional strain on local farmers and food production. The situation underscores the fact that rural areas are often neglected by development but are crucial for national and global food security.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) released its annual report showcasing the 110-fold increase in adoption rate of biotech crops globally in just 21 years of commercialization – growing from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to 185.1 million hectares (457.4 million acres) in 2016. ISAAA’s report, “Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2016,” continues to demonstrate the long-standing benefits of biotech crops for farmers in developing and industrialized countries, as well as consumer benefits of recently approved and commercialized varieties.

A delegation of business people from Ghana are in the Netherlands to look for opportunities in food processing technologies and packaging, a joint press release from the Netherlands Embassy in Ghana says. The 23-member delegation from Ghana led by the Private Enterprise Federation (PEF), the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and GhanaVeg is on a week-long tour with the goal of promoting cooperation, investment and knowledge exchange between Ghanaian and Dutch businesses, the release said.The release noted that the delegation is visiting a wide range of companies in the Netherlands active in fruit and vegetables processing, aquaculture and other industries.