November 2015
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Thursday, 26 November 2015

Cassavas is currently one of the world's fastest-growing crops, and is holding up better to the rising temperatures caused by climate change, as pointed out by experts. Since the 80s, the global production of cassava has increased by 52% due, among other reasons, to the doubling of its production in Africa. It adapts better to higher temperatures compared to other crops, such as beans or corn, as it is less sensitive to climate changes.

Africa’s future billionaires and millionaires will make their money from agriculture, says Akinwumi Adesina, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, who was named Forbes African of the Year in December 2013 for his reforms to Nigeria’s farming sector. African Development Bank is financing $170 million for a Nigerian project that aims to transform agriculture, which aims to create agricultural entrepreneurs and producers by providing about 120,000 jobs along the value chain of priority commodities. An additional 20 million tons of key food crops including cassava, rice, and sorghum will be added to the domestic food supply each year, if all goes according to plan.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

China shall soon take Japan’s place as the third largest donor to the Pacific Islands. Currently however, there are misperceptions about its actual size, reach, focus, and purpose, which, in part, stem from the lack of information about Chinese aid activities. New data published by the Lowy Institute shows that since 2006 China has provided $1.4 billion in foreign aid to eight Pacific Island countries - the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Fiji, Niue, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu. In addition to its bilateral aid program and support for regional organizations, China also provides scholarships for Pacific Islands students and significant human resources training for government officials.

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Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) has recommended that Kenya be granted a one-year extension to limits on sugar imports from the trade bloc, offering relief to local millers that feared competition from cheap producers from the block (comprised of - Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan, Comoros, Djibouti, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Seychelles, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe). The Comesa Trade and Customs Committee agreed to Kenya’s application for more time to open up fully its market to imports after more than a decade of being allowed to protect its sugar farmers with high tariffs.

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Creating high-yielding and disease-resistant banana hybrids is part of the latest project to improve banana farming in Tanzania and Uganda. The project which shall start later on this year is due to continue for five years and has received US$13.8 million funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Developing banana varieties for smallholder farmers can improve the local food security situation. Uganda and Tanzania produce more than 50 per cent of all bananas cultivated in Africa, but achieve only nine per cent of the crop’s potential yield because of pests and diseases, according to the Nigeria-headquartered International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

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Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The EU's 11th European Development Fund (EDF) has entered into force with a total of €30.5 billion in financing. The EDF will finance the EU's development cooperation projects in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and with Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) to assist countries in their efforts to eradicate poverty and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Key areas include: sustainable development, including rural development and sustainable agriculture; environment; energy; food and nutrition; and health and education. The EDF will also support work related to democracy, good governance and the rule of law.

The EU-Cariforum Economic Partnership Agreement between Caricom countries and the European Union was a driver behind the enactment of geographical indication (GI) legislation in most Caricom countries. The World Trade Organization TRIPS agreement is only available for wine and spirits GIs, and there is currently no uniform reciprocal legal recognition for non-wine and spirit GIs in international jurisdictions. Jamaica’s Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is one of the country’s domestically GI registrable products. It can classify as a GI which is protected by  intellectual property, based on the natural and/or human capital characteristics directly related to its geographic or territorial origin. 

On Tuesday 10th March the European Commission’s External Action INFOPOINT held a conference on ‘Agriculture and nature for poverty reduction’. Ms. Nicoline de Hann from International Water Management Institute presented the work of the CIGAR ( Consortium if International Agricultural Research Centres) research programme on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). It seeks to develop an ecosystems based approach to agricultural development in response to growing resource constraints and rising natural disaster risks. The research conducted focuses on enhancing women’s access and decision-making power over productive natural resources.

Friday, 13 March 2015

The Brussels Development Briefing n.40 on “Data: the next revolution for agriculture in ACP countries?” was held in Brussels on 18th February 2015 and brought together 155 participants representing  ACP-EU policy makers, regional organizations, representatives of EU Member States, European Commission services, Members of the European Parliament, private sector, civil society groups, European research and development practitioners and international organizations.

All video recordings are now available in French and English.

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President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe is recorded to have recently said, “We don't need a white man to continue to guide us. No. We are now equipped with skills.” Mugabe’s government is analyzing the number of white farmers still active in the farming sector in Zimbabwe following the land seizures carried out under his government in 2000.  His government is also considering to reduce current farm sizes owned by black beneficiaries to benefit upcoming generations of youths and encourage their entry into farming. The European Union recently gave Zimbabwe 234 million euros ($267 million) in aid. This is the first allocation of aid since imposing sanctions in 2002.