Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

October 2017
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EDITO
Tuesday, 17 October 2017

A new report by Banana Link and the Fair Trade Advocacy Office FTAO shows how increasing market power and Unfair Trading Practices (UTP) of European supermarkets affect smallholder banana farmers and plantation workers. The report, “Banana value chains in Europe and the consequences of Unfair Trading Practices” details the exposure to toxic agro-chemicals, low wages and precarious work situation of many workers and farmers involved in the banana supply chain. It notes that this case is emblematic of global injustices in agricultural supply chains e.g. while wholesale banana prices have dropped since 2001, by almost 25%, retailers have increased their share of banana value by 40%.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Demographic change is an opportunity for developed and developing economies alike, to combat poverty but also as a means of achieving long-term economic stability. In order to harness the potential that demographic change presents, countries must gear their policies towards “growth, investment and insurance”, which address the very critical demographic phenomenon of an aging labour force in most industrialized economies, and in developing economies, a large youth population that needs to be integrated into the work force. Here is the presentation.

In a recent publication, Sir Ronald Sanders explains how the European Commission has issued public documents wrongly naming several CARICOM jurisdictions as ‘tax havens’. Reference to the Tax Justice Network (TJN) - an independent European-based think-tank -  report shows that no Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member state ranks among the top 20 jurisdictions worldwide for financial secrecy: the United States of America (3), Germany (8), Japan (12) and Britain (15).

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

The EU has supported turning fish waste into value-added locally produced organic fertilizer in Fiji. Entrepreneur and Chairman of the Fiji Organic Association (FOA) Donald Pickering received technical and financial support via the EU Agricultural Commodity Trade (EUACT) programme.Mr. pickering said that the unrefined fish waste soil enhancer “can help overcome serious soil deficiency issue (…) As well as delivering the desired results, farmers find our liquid product easier to apply than traditional fertilizers."

Thursday, 05 November 2015

On 26th October, the European Commission’s External Action Infopoint held a session with the French Centre of Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD) on the subject of ‘Aflatoxin contamination in food and feed’. The Platform for African European Partnership on Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD) presented the work it does to support research between a wide range of organisations in Africa and Europe. The  conference detailed the devastating impacts that poor crop food management (development of mycotoxins such as aflatoxin) has on nutrition and health of women and children, and the reduced income consequences for farmers. Here is the policy brief and here is the presentation.

During a recent trip to southern Africa, CIRAD President Michel Eddi signed four general cooperation agreements involving a regional organization, CCARDESA, and four universities in South Africa and Zimbabwe. CIRAD is keen to strengthen its links with its partners in the region. To this end, the hundred or so researchers it has in the zone will be working with five platforms in partnership. The aim is to foster interactions between those platforms, open them up on a regional level and build new scientific links between Réunion, Madagascar and southern Africa.

The Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) has launched a 4.5 euro multi-year project in Uganda, which shall benefit more than 350,000 smallholder farmers using satellite data to improve production and marketing of three value chains-maize, soya beans and simsim. Designed as a demand driven, market led, user owned ICT4Ag Enabled Information service (MUIIS), the program seeks to strengthen information and communication technologies (ICT) and knowledge management capacities of grass root farmers through providing satellite based timely accurate information on crop management in central eastern, northern and western Uganda.

Neven Mimica gave the opening speech at the "Building an emerging Mali" conference organised by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris. The Conference follows up on the international donor conference on Mali held in May 2013, and the signature of the Peace and Reconciliation Accord of June 2015 in Mali. This peace accord was instrumental in forging a long-term strategic dialogue between the Malian government and its partners and marked a turning point towards stability and the improvement of living conditions of the people in Mali. The conference will aim in particular at providing a platform for the Malian government to present the immediate steps it is taking to implement the Accord.

The European Union (EU) is a strong supporter for Agriculture development in Fiji and around the Pacific. In first ever debate on organic and conventional farming methods in University of the South Pacific, the EU Ambassador for the Pacific, Andrew Jacobs said organic farmers and associations should not only engage with private sector but also with public sector and respond to the for organic food in hospitals, schools or for public functions. He underlined that the European Union spends more money on agriculture than other sectors and funds have been under constant reform since in the 1970s. Jacobs says the EU is seeking to open up commercial opportunities and should exist not only in the private sector but in the public sector as well.

While organic farming has a role to play in the new Common Agricultural Policy, an EU spokesperson said that it cannot address the perplexing issue of food security. The new Horizon 2020 Work Programme for 2016-17 will provide €33 million for organic farming and €174 million organic agriculture projects. However, critics suggest that there is little research funding for GMOs, due to the huge public opposition in Europe. In Italy, GMO research has not been allowed for over 10 years, according to the Public Research and Regulation Initiative (PRRI), a worldwide initiative of public sector scientists active in modern biotechnology research.