Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

December 2017
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EDITO
Monday, 18 December 2017

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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A new report explains that beansmay be Africa’s answer to lack of access to expensive fertilizers. A project currentlyencourages African farmers to plant beans as food and fertiliser could helpcounteract the impact of limited fertiliser take-up across the continent. Globaluse of nitrogen fertiliser is forecast to grow by 1.4 % each year to above 119million tonnes in 2018, But less than five per cent of that growth will comefrom Sub-Saharan Africa, because fertiliser is often too expensive forsubsistence farmers. As an alternative to fertiliser, Africa’s crop yields aregetting a boost from an edible and more environmentally friendly sourceinstead: beans.

The Local Enterprise and Value Chain Enhancement (LEVE) modernizationProject co-financed to the tune of $ 250,000 the Caribbean Harvest to enablethem to double their production of tilapia, from 1.2 to 2.4 tonnes. 300 cagesfor fry will be provided to 150 farmers who live on Lake Azueï to allow them tobreed fingerlings to market size. This co-financing will also be used toincrease the capacity of solar equipment to 60 kilowatts to the Farm HarvestCaribbean "The LEVE co-financing will enable more farmers to producetilapia, providing them and also to their families, improved livelihoods,"stressed Dr. Valentin Abe, CEO of Caribbean Harvest.

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Thursday, 05 March 2015

The government of Angola has set a maximum quota for the import of products included in the basic basket of goods in 2015 at around 2 million tons, including cooking oil, flour, rice and sugar, according to a joint executive decree dated 23 January.

The decree, signed by the Ministers of Finance, Agriculture, Fisheries, Industry, Commerce and Transport, together with the National Bank of Angola, aims to “ensure food and nutritional security of the people” and take regulatory measures which ensure domestic supply of over 60 percent of national consumption.

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In order to attain self-suffi­ciency in food production, Nigeria has been selected to benefit from about N610.5 billion (about $3.3 million) granted by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the German Development Cooperation (BMZ), under the Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) project.

Other three African countries included in the project are Burki­na Faso, Ghana and Tanzania .

The project, which has been scheduled to end in 2017, was designed to reach about 120,000 small-scale rice producers, as well as rural service providers and rice millers as secondary beneficiaries.

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Smallholder farmers in the East Africa will soon be able to track movement of their produce from warehouses. The trading platform, dubbed G-Soko, will be used to automate certified warehouses and link them to a transactional e-trade platform that will involve agents within the supply chain. The technology launched by FoodTrade East and Southern Africa (ESA) was one of two other investment projects that aim at enhancing the regional staple foods trade. One major reason for food insecurity in this East Africa is poor exchange of food across the region, with smallholder farmers lacking markets for their produce.

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Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are a hotly contested subject. Some believe it is the solution to malnutrition and hunger in the developing world, or even threat to food sovereignty. Ugandans who eat, on average, a pound of bananas daily, may soon be talking about the subject following the threat of banana wilt disease. Banana wilt was first seen in Uganda in 2001, and neither pesticides nor chemicals have stopped it. Scientists at Uganda’s National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) — which receives funding from the Gates Foundation — created a genetically modified banana by inserting a green pepper gene into the banana’s genome. Currently, no regulation exists around GMOs in Uganda. However, as a signatory of the Cartagena protocol, Uganda is obliged to take a cautionary approach to GMO technology.

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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.

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The Jamaican Ministry of Agriculture will be increasing Irish potato production to 15 million kilograms to satisfy the local demand for the produce. Lenworth Fulton Chief Executive Officer of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority, said “We have embarked on import substitution programme, which began with Irish potato. The aim is to provide for the total table Irish potato need of this country by 2016-2017.” Since 2008 imports of the produce declined significantly from 9.3 million kilograms, to 2.2 million in 2013, a reduction of more than 75 per cent. At the same time, national self-sufficiency has moved from 32 per cent to between 85 and 90 per cent.

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