Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

October 2017
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EDITO
Thursday, 19 October 2017

This week over 600 regional and international industry leaders are in Dar es Salaam for the Agribusiness Congress East Africa to share best practices and discuss strategic plans relating to regional growth and market accessibility in the agricultural corridors. "A unique feature of Agribusiness Congress East 2016 conference is the roundtable discussions between the representatives of the public and private sector, presenting each industry with its own challenges and requirements in an interactive Business to Business (B2B) intimate dialogue," Melisa Bender, the Agribusiness East Africa Marketing Manager said last week.

Fiji has set an example for other Pacific Island countries to follow when it comes to inter-island trade. This is revealed in a report  which will be jointly launched by the the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the European Union on February 3. The report  is an outcome of the European Union-supported Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade project implemented by SPC. The launch will be officiated by SPC director-general Dr Colin Tukuitonga, the ambassador of EU Delegation to the Pacific Andrew Jacobs and the Fijian Trade commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Navitalai Tuivuniwai.

The Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretariat is proceeding apace with implementing the Community Strategic Plan 2015-2019, including the preparation of a strategic business plan, guided by the recently established Change Management Office. This assurance was given to the Community Council of Ministers by Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Caricom Secretary-General as he addressed the opening of the 37th meeting of the Community’s second highest organ, referred to as The Council. It is meeting in Georgetown, Guyana to consider the Caricom Secretariat’s work programme and budget for the year 2016, ahead of the Twenty-Seventh Inter-Sessional Meeting in Belize in February.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

The Federal Republic of Germany has given the East African Community (EAC) Euros37m (over Sh138b) to support the economic integration, regional health facilities and water resource management. “Germany signed a total of euros 37m in grants to the EAC for 2016-2018, highlighting the strong commitment to support the integration process in East Africa,” a statement issued by EAC headquarters, Arusha has said. Euros10m will be invested in the establishment of a regional network of reference laboratories for communicable diseases, it said.

Guyana’s company registry is expected to be among several others across the Caribbean Community (Caricom) Single Market and Economy (CSME) that are set to go online this year. The Caricom Headquarters said this development stems from an ongoing project funded by the 10th European Development Fund to create an online regional registry of companies. “This will serve as a central repository of information on companies and other legal entities established in the CSME.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

South Africa Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana said that the country will have to import five to six million tonnes of both white and yellow maize due to a severe drought. The minister disclosed this at a press briefing in Pretoria, adding that combining this with the predicted regional needs such as Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland, import needs will be at 10, 9 million tonnes covering other commodities such as soya and wheat. Zokwana added that from the food security standpoint, South Africa’s infrastructure might struggle to cope with the volume of maize imports required if a drought aggravated by the El Niño weather phenomenon further decimates the local crop.

Rules governing international trade of food and agricultural products should be crafted with an eye to improving countries' food security and other development objectives. For this, a pragmatic approach that would align agricultural and trade policies at the national level is needed, a new FAO report argues. The expected increase in global trade of farm products along with shifting patterns of trade and multiples sources of risks to global supplies will give trade and its governance a heightened influence over the extent and nature of food security everywhere.

There is need for effective coordination at regional level to control plant pests and diseases that threaten food security for countries in the Southern African region, experts say. Plant-disease scientists who gathered in Harare for a two -week Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF) regional plant health sanitary and phytosanitary (relating to the health of plants, especially with respect to the requirements of international trade) management (SPS) workshop said the region harboured hundreds of unreported crop pests and diseases which posed a significant threat to agricultural productivity.

Southern Africa, parts of which are experiencing the worst drought in more than a century, will need to increase grain imports to meet demand as farmers struggle. Nations in the region, which includes Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland, will need to find 10.9 million metric tons of grains such as corn, wheat, and soybeans, South African Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana told reporters Friday in Pretoria, the capital. This includes 5 million to 6 million tons of corn for South Africa, which is usually a net exporter of the commodity and was last a net importer in the 2008 season. Last year, rainfall in South Africa was the poorest since records began in 1904, the weather service said Thursday.

PineBridge Investments East Africa Senior Investment Manager, Edward Gitahi, told a media briefing in Nairobi on Tuesday that East Africa has been less impacted by the weaker global commodities prices. “We expect the East Africa region to grow on average by six percent in 2016 compared to Southern and Western Africa region which is expected to grow by between three and four percent,” Gitahi said. Gitahi said the East African economies were resilient in 2015 and are expected to remain so in 2016.