Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

October 2017
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EDITO
Monday, 23 October 2017

Africa’s future billionaires and millionaires will make their money from agriculture, says Akinwumi Adesina, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, who was named Forbes African of the Year in December 2013 for his reforms to Nigeria’s farming sector. African Development Bank is financing $170 million for a Nigerian project that aims to transform agriculture, which aims to create agricultural entrepreneurs and producers by providing about 120,000 jobs along the value chain of priority commodities. An additional 20 million tons of key food crops including cassava, rice, and sorghum will be added to the domestic food supply each year, if all goes according to plan.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

A new pan-African project has been launched to strengthen the continent’s great potential for increased trade in fish. Africa, despite being endowed with plentiful fish resources only accounts for 4.9% of global fish trade. It seems logical that more efficient trade could significantly improve income and nutrition for millions of Africans, particularly those 12.3 million that are directly employed in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors. ‘FishTrade for a Better Future’, a European Commission funded project implemented by WorldFish, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) will strengthen value chains

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The Papua New Guinea National Fisheries Authority (NFA) will initiate full-scale trials of an innovative catch documentation system (eCDS) for on-board fisheries observers. The new system uses near real-time data through Android tablets and satellite transmitters shall "enhance the quality, reliability, and timeliness of critical fisheries information, and will considerably improve the management of tuna stocks”. The system includes electronic forms that can be used to cross reference and validate catch and effort, especially with respect to the vessel day scheme where vessel owners can purchase and trade days fishing at sea in places subject to Nauru Agreement (PNA).

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Scientists for the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) are developing a super breadfruit (Mae) that will be more productive and climate resistant. 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 the SPC “Pacific Island governments want varieties of breadfruit that fruit all year round so that there is a continuous supply, which is vitally important for food security and also for commercial farmers and businesses based on breadfruit products.”

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Despite efforts to reduce imports of agricultural products, commodity imports - vegetables, fruits, poultry and its products, rice, wheat and its products, turkey, maize and its products and oils such - increased by E180 million to E634.3 million from E453.5 in 2013. The report by the Minister of Agriculture Moses Vilakati in parliament states that the total value of imports received rose from E453.5million in 2013 to E634.3million in 2014.

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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.

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Creating high-yielding and disease-resistant banana hybrids is part of the latest project to improve banana farming in Tanzania and Uganda. The project which shall start later on this year is due to continue for five years and has received US$13.8 million funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Developing banana varieties for smallholder farmers can improve the local food security situation. Uganda and Tanzania produce more than 50 per cent of all bananas cultivated in Africa, but achieve only nine per cent of the crop’s potential yield because of pests and diseases, according to the Nigeria-headquartered International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

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Researchers from the University of Nairobi, Kenya, with support from Bio-resource Innovations Network for Eastern Africa Development (Bio-Innovate) Program developed superior, better-yielding, drought-resistant beans. They have much shorter cooking time, about 40 % less cooking time, which makes it a convenient investment for the canning industry as it significantly reduces energy costs. Additionally, beans ‘considered’ a woman’s crop can bring significant advances for women. These varieties are expected to have a strong impact in countries in eastern Africa, including Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

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Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The future management of 30 million square kilometres of the Pacific Ocean, one of the world’s most significant fisheries zones will be under review at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Noumea, New Caledonia. The forum will discuss the role of communities in coastal fisheries and natural resource management, and how community-level action can contribute to national systems addressing future food security and livelihoods.The Pacific coastal fisheries catch is estimated at 155,000 tonnes per year, and is valued at US$320-500 million. European Union (EU) support for fisheries in the Pacific is on the agenda. There will be a session on achievements and lessons learned from the conclusion of the EU-funded SciCOFish Project, and consideration of a potential new EU fisheries partnership for the region.

Friday, 13 March 2015

The Harare municipality recently announced a ban on the keeping ofchickens in residential zones. The city council's bylaws (of 1962) state: 'Nopoultry house shall be placed nearer than three metres from any boundary ornearer than six metres from premises used for human inhabitation. No personshall keep any poultry by reasons of continued crowing, quacking, clucking,gobbling or like noise tends to destroy the comfort of the neighbourhood.' But withRampant unemployment - WorldBank estimates that 80% of Zimbabweans are jobless and 65% earn less than $100a month – and a weak economy, Zimbabweans are asking themselves whether this isa good policy.

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