Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

January 2018
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Saturday, 20 January 2018

The Ministry of Agriculture agreed with the governments of Tanzania, Zambia, and Congo to establish three pilot model farms with areas ranging between 500 and 600 acres. Director of COMESA Department at the Ministry of Agriculture Maher El-Maghrabi said the ministry agreed with the three countries to establish farms to produce various crops.

African Development Bank (AfDB) president Akinwumi Adesina says Zambia is not in a crisis, and the challenges posed by low copper prices presents the country with an opportunity to embrace agriculture and improve the food-crop processing industry. Zambia’s economic mainstay is copper, which accounts for over 70 percent of foreign exchange earnings but with low prices, currently at US$4,471 per tonne, the country is facing some economic challenges. During a business luncheon on Monday hosted by Ministry of Finance, and attended by diplomats and Government officials, Dr Adesina said the AfDB is committed to the Zambian economy as can be seen from the 19 projects worth US$900 million being undertaken in various sectors in the country.

Some industrialists, particularly those badly hit by Nigeria’s trade restrictions, seem to think so; they think that since diplomacy has failed, Ghana must come up with its own ‘prohibition list’ and refuse certain goods entry -- giving the excuse that it targets no country in particular. That way, they argue, the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS), which is the main ECOWAS operational tool for promoting the West Africa region as a free trade area, might gain some leverage. “If we also make it difficult for them to export, then we would have to find common ground,” Kate Quartey-Papafio, CEO of Reroy Cables, told the B&FT in an interview.

Driving through the western maize belt in the North West bordering Botswana, vast stretches of normally lush and green fields lie dry and brown. Farmers are battling the worst drought on record, which has transformed parts of agricultural lands into what looks like desert, says Wandile Sihlobo, grains economist at Grains SA. So far five out of the country’s nine provinces have been declared drought disaster zones, as crops fail and livestock perish. And it is not just SA. The whole Southern African region has been hit by an intense drought since early last year that was brought on by El Niño weather phenomenon. With SA being an important regional grain exporter, international food and aid agencies are fearing that millions of people will require humanitarian aid this year.

The revival of East African Community 15 years ago during the NRM rule has placed the region in the metropolis on the global map increased market size of the region, led to high economic growth among benefits that comes with integration. Regional economic integration is one way countries achieve national interests only in concert with others. It expands national markets to the region. Like globalization, it can be thought of as an alternative to international embeddedness or how one or countries relates to the rest of the world. Learning from international experience and reorganizing the importance of regional integration, the establishment of the Permanent Tripartite Commission for East African Co-operation, was signed by President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Daniel Arap Moi of Kenya and Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania.

As many as 49-million people in Southern Africa could be affected by a drought that has been worsened by the most severe and longest El Nino weather pattern in 35 years, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said on Monday. The WFP, which has previously said 14-million people face hunger in the region, said the El Nino conditions had caused the lowest recorded rainfall between October and December since 1981. The forecast for January to March indicated a high probability of below-normal rainfall in Southern Africa, which would result in one of the worst droughts on record, it added.

Growing up on a farm in central Kenya, Winston Wachanga witnessed the piles of fruit and vegetables that perished after never making it to a market. Later with a tomato farm of his own, he experienced the same struggle of farmers across the country trying to find a buyer. “We have so much produce but accessing customers is difficult. We don’t have capacity to get produce to market and we end up being exploited. It becomes frustrating,” he says. To solve this gap, Wachanga set up online delivery company Kitchen Soko. In less than a year he has built up a network of 80 local farmers in Kenya whose produce is delivered in a box straight to the customer’s front door. Customers can find out exactly which farm the produce has come from.

Thursday, 03 March 2016

In order to trade goods and services efficiently, to become a more active partner in global and regional trade, and to connect to global value chains, it is crucial for every region and country to offer solid trade infrastructure. Improved trade efficiency strengthens conditions for increased technology transfer, innovation, and production capacities, which stimulate the creation of additional jobs and contribute to poverty alleviation. Infrastructure needs throughout the world have never been greater. They shape our environments and largely determine our livelihoods today and in the future, reason why infrastructure lies at the core of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The first negotiating session of the Continental Free Trade Area negotiations will take place later this month, the Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission has announced. This first set of negotiations will lay the groundwork for upcoming substantive negotiations throughout this year until 2017, the indicative deadline for the establishment of a Continental FTA across Africa. The Tripartite FTA, a stepping stone bringing together Africa’s three major regional economic communities in preparation for the CFTA, was signed into force in June of last year. A week later the African Union summit formally launched negotiations for the CFTA at its meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa on 15 June.

Despite the fact that all 54 states making the African Union had inked the Malabo Declaration on Agricultural Development on the continent, only eight countries have so far executed its bedrock requirement of pumping at least 10 per cent of their respective public expenditures into the sector. "It is rather strange that, in almost all African countries, agriculture employs more than 80 per cent of their population, yet when it comes to budgeting, the sector only gets peanuts," stated Mr Christophe Bazivambo, the Chairperson of the East African Legislative Assembly's Committee on Agriculture, Tourism and Natural Resources.