Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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EDITO
Sunday, 22 April 2018

Agriculture Colleges and Universities in West Africa recently met at a Workshop to discuss strengthening of their capacity in the ECOWAS sub-region. The Agricultural Colleges and Universities want a stronger role in proposing and implementing Agriculture Policies to support the regional and national governments. In their view, this would enable the region to achieve Food Security and also promote the growth and development of commercial agriculture. Discussions recommended the development of new academic curriculum and training courses to support government officials, private sector and civil society in the development of skills to enhance trade policy and negotiation skills which supports the growth of the agriculture sector within the ECOWAS sub-region.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has released a report presenting the potential uses of geothermal energy for food production and processing in developing countries. The report, titled 'Uses of Geothermal Energy in Food and Agriculture: Opportunities for Developing Countries,' explains that heat generated from geothermal energy can be used in many activities, such as drying foods, pasteurizing milk, sterilizing produce, as well as heating greenhouses, soils, and water for fish farming.  Many developing economies lose as much as half their harvest, and this is also beacuse of affordable energy for food processing. Developing countries could increase their food security by using their abundant geothermal resources to process foods for a longer shelf life.

The International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed is willing to promote insects as a source for animal protein for both human consumption and animal feed. Given that the global population is expected to reach nine billion by 2050, the world by then would have to increase its food production by 70% in order to feed the population, meaning that the global demand for animal-based protein sources would double between 2000 and 2050. As the animal feed production is already competing for resources such as water, land and fertilizers, insects could play a crucial role.

Friday, 17 April 2015

7 April was the World Health Day and European Commissioner for Health & Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, and European Commissioner for International Cooperation & Development , Neven Mimica, took this opportunity to emphasize the importance of food safety, malnutrition, and fighting health threats both in the Union and in developing countries. The EU leads the way in promoting the development of internationally agreed standards in food safety and health protection in international trade and cooperation agreements. The European Union needs to ensure that people living in developing countries have enough to eat and sufficient nutrients for their proper development.

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.

U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening recently stated that the U.K. Department for International Development (DfID) could play an increasing role in trade in the future and that the department was progressively looking to enhance economies in developing countries.This reflects changes that have already taken place in the Australian and Canadian administrations, where trade and foreign aid departments were merged. This could see more interplay between the U.K. Trade & Investment and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. In Greening’s view, the private sector should be a natural part of foreign aid work.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Cassavas is currently one of the world's fastest-growing crops, and is holdingup better to the rising temperatures caused by climate change, as pointed outby experts. Since the 80s, the global production of cassava has increased by52% due, among other reasons, to the doubling of its production in Africa. Itadapts better to higher temperatures compared to other crops, such as beans orcorn, as it is less sensitive to climatechanges.

A new pan-African project has been launched to strengthen thecontinent’s great potential for increased trade in fish. Africa, despite beingendowed with plentiful fish resources only accounts for 4.9% of global fishtrade. It seems logical that more efficient trade could significantly improveincome and nutrition for millions of Africans, particularly those 12.3 millionthat are directly employed in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors. ‘FishTrade for a Better Future’, a EuropeanCommission funded project implemented by WorldFish,

Thursday, 02 April 2015

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%).