In contrast with their counterparts in the global north and Asia, many farmers in sub-Saharan Africa rely on manure rather than chemical fertilisers. But the organic alternative cannot meet the demand. In Europe, organic farming makes up only 5.4% of all agricultural land, according to Eurostat. Food and Agriculture Organisation data shows that, globally, less than 1% of agricultural land is farmed using organic methods. Organic fertiliser can help freshen up Africa’s ailing, rusty-red soils, but there is not enough land available to produce manure in sufficient quantities, says Professor Ken Giller, a soil scientist at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
On Thursday 4th December, the European Commission’s DG DevCo Info Point organised a lunchtime conference to present the work of the European Union-African Union research programme to increase food production in irrigated farming systems in Africa (EAU4Food). Mr. Massimo Burino, the Project Officer for the Use of Natural Resources for Crop Production in DG RTD welcomed Mr. Jochen Froebrich, the EAU4Food Project Coordinator, who presented the result of his work with Dr. Philippe Ker Rault, Researcher on water management at Wageningen University. Mr. Efstathios Dalamangas, Team leader for Water, Energy and Infrastructures in DevCO(C5) presented the work of the Commission in this area.
On 02nd December 2014, the European Commission’s DG DevCo Info Point organised a lunchtime conference to present the new INFORM – Index for Risk Management New tool for shared risk analysis – platform. Ms. Denisa-Elena Ionete, Head of Unit of DevCo (07) Fragility and Crisis Management opened the conference highlighting the importance of INFORM, as the first global tool for managing and identifying risk. Ms. Julia Stewart-David Deputy Head of Unit of ECHO (A3) Policy and Implementation Frameworks and Ms. Hana Kolic Policy officer, ECHO (A3) co-presented the INFORM system.
On 24th November 2014, the European Commission’s DG DevCo Info Point organised a lunchtime conference to launch the UNCTAD Least Developed Countries (LDC) report 2014. Ms. Barbara Lücke, Head of Unit for International Development Dialogue (DG DevCo A3) opened the conference and underlined the current context of EU-LDC cooperation, namely that the EU remains the strongest supporter, trade partner and donor to LDCs. Mr. David Woodward, Senior Advisor in the Division for Africa, LDCs and Special Programmes, presented the flagship UNCTAD report, which is produced on an annual basis with varying themes. There are currently 48 LDCs, of which two—thirds of these are Sub-Saharan countries.
According to an African Development Bank (ADB) report produced in concert with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Africa is interested in adopting Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to meet the food security challenges facing the continent, and with a view to achieving better positioning in world agriculture markets. Presenting a summary of the agricultural situation within the continent, ABD Vice-President Ali Abou-Sabaa stated that: “In order to meet food and nutritional needs, African countries import some 25 billion dollars-worth of foodstuffs every year.”
The Tripartite Free Trade Zone (Zone de libre-échange tripartite – ZLET) project, covering a zone which will be the largest in Africa and which will probably cover the three main regional economic communities (REC) in the continent, is to be launched in December during the Tripartite Summit of the Heads of State and Government to be held in Cairo, Egypt. It was announced on October 25 at the close of a two-day meeting of the sector-based Tripartite Ministers’ meeting in Bujumbura, Burundi.
The Cameroon government has just launched a call for expressions of interest to select a private investor “to establish and run an agricultural-industrial sugar complex” in the east in the “inter Bertoua-Batoria zone”. The invitation, signed on November 17 by Minister for Mines, Industry and Technological Development (Minimidt) Emmanuel Bonde, was published in the press this Thursday, the Minister stating that “the main goal of this project is to supplement the current shortfall in the national sugar market on a yearly basis and to look to the future growth of the markets in the sub-Region and beyond”.
A Common Agricultural Policy is in the process of being honed for the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (Communauté économique des États de l’Afrique central – CEMAC) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). In actual fact, when they met on Thursday in Chad capital Ndjamena, the Ministers of Agriculture of these countries were working on the outlines of this strategy. The tools available to them include the Central African Regional Programme for Food Security, the Regional Agricultural Investment, Food Security and Nourishment Programme, the Special Regional Agricultural Development Fund, the Regional Central African Cotton and Textiles Development Strategy, and the establishment of a Regional Animal Health Centre.
On behalf of the Ivory Coast State, Minister of Agriculture Coulibaly Mamadou Sangafowa has signed a partnership outline agreement with Nestlé Ivory Coast CEO Mauricio Alarcon covering the launch of the Nescafé Plan, under implementation in the country since last year. The partnership relates to the sustainable development of green coffee in Ivory Coast and is a part of the national policy to revive coffee cultivation. According to the Minister of Agriculture, the programme has required the Government to set aside an investment of eight billion CFA francs.
The latest Brussels Development Briefing on “Global food systems, local impact: the role of agribusiness and development partnerships in advancing African agriculture” took place Tuesday 25th November 2014 (9h-13h) at the ACP Secretariat (451 Avenue Georges Henri, 1200 Brussels, room C) with an audience of 130 participants.