The network initiated by seven African countries finance and agriculture ministers has now increased to 14 countries. The ministers launched the network a day ahead of the United Nations international Fund for Agriculture Development in Rome, Italy, which is expected to discuss on sustainable development of agriculture from 15-17, 2015.
Labeled ‘Leadership for Agriculture’, the network aspires to transform Africa’s heavily smallholder farmers’ dependent agriculture into a commercially viable business.
African ministers of finance and agriculture launch the ‘Leadership for Agriculture’ network. It aims to mobilize funds to improve the continent’s agriculture performance, particularly targeting smallholder farmers. It hopes to transform Africa’s heavily smallholder farmers’ dependent agriculture into a commercially viable business through increased financing from public resources and financial institutions. While it was initiated by seven countries, fourteen African nations are now on-board with the project. “The biggest impediment [of African agriculture] right now in the context is the lack of investment in the sector... because those who invest perceive agriculture as a risky sector,” says Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office.
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.
The Secretary General designate of the ACP Group, H.E Dr Patrick Gomes met with the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Mr. Kanayo F. Nwanze last week in Rome, where they discussed strengthening of ACP-IFAD relations in the area of South-South & Triangular Cooperation. One of the key areas to be examined will be a collaborative effort of ACP and IFAD in assessing the socio-economic and cultural impact of the Ebola epidemic on the rural livelihoods of communities in the affected countries - Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - and designing a strategy to rehabilitate key aspects of small and medium rural enterprises.
The government of South Africa has proposed a ban on foreign land ownership that will apply only to agricultural land. There will be a 12,000 hectare ceiling on land ownership would not be done in a way that threatened food security. President Zuma said, " the Land Holdings Bill applies to agricultural land. It does not affect those foreign nationals who are planning to buy homes for residences.Multi-nationals will be affected only if their future property purchases consist of agricultural land."
The European Union (EU) will contribute €1.5 million to “improve the income of small cashew producers,” in Guinea-Bissau. €700,000 is earmarked for projects supporting small producers who want to improve the yield and quality of production; € 700,000 for the integration of activities of small producers in the value chain, promoting local cashew processing and improving the management skills of the sector’s organizations; €100,000 shall be invested in improving the legal framework of the cashew sector. This financial support is part of the programme for Nutrition and Agricultural Development (EU-AINDA). Guinea-Bissau is considered to have “high levels of poverty alongside food and nutrition insecurity.”
Within the remit of the WTO, the EU offered developing countries preferential access to the Eu market in a wide range of services e.g. allow professionals from such countries to provide short-term services in the EU; to transfer management trainees to their affiliated companies in the EU ; to send skilled professionals to the EU to provide these services for up to six months; independent professionals from LDC countries will be able to provide services in the EU for up to six months, including architecture, engineering, research and development and management consulting, and computer services. Cureently, the the EU and its Member States provide approximately 60% of global trade-related assistance.
Four African countries-Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Tanzania shall receive a $3.3 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates (BMGF) and the German Development Cooperation (BMZ), under the Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) project. 120,000 small scale rice producers, rural service providers and rice millers shall be targeted to improve sourcing capacity of quality supply up until 2017. Nigeria and the West African sub-region imports close to 50 percent of rice, approximately N1 billion daily. 40 per cent of rice supply comes from Thailand and Vietnam, who are top suppliers of the commodity to the region.
A factory with capacity to process 1,000 tons of beans per year is due to be operating within a few months. The initiative of Sociedade Malonda aims to motivate farmers to increase their production areas and support the sale of beans produced in Niassa. New machines were bought in Japan and China, and staff shall be trained to work with them. The beans processed in the factory will be exported to Portugal and Spain, after Sociedade Malonda reached an agreement with importers from those countries who participated in the 2014 Maputo International Fair. Portugal and Spain will be the factory’s first export markets.
The European Union will provide 15 million euros for a rural development project in Guinea-Bissau. Victor Madeira dos Santos, Head of the EU delegation in Guinea-Bissau said, “The approach focuses on good governance and promotion of the country’s agricultural potential, socio-economic development and food sovereignty.” The project is part of the EU-Active European initiative, which will target three main areas: development of regional agricultural plans, repairing pathways (which may also improve access to health services) and increasing the population’s knowledge. The project shall be completed over 48 months, in the regions of Quinara, Tombali and Bafatá.