Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

December 2017
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EDITO
Friday, 15 December 2017

Food security is one of the dominant challenges of our time. In 2015 approximately 800 million of the global population had to endure starvation or malnutrition. The majority of the world's hungry live in Asia (two thirds), but Sub-Saharan Africa is the continent where that number has the highest prevalence - one in four Africans remains undernourished. This problem is intensified by local wars, climate change and weather extremities like "El Nino," which make food prices soar. A main contributor to the problem is inadequate production.

West African exporters and traders have not taken advantage of over $140 billion market of the Economic Community of West African States as they show more preference for the European, Asian and American countries. The situation has robbed them of an opportunity to tap into a market of over 300 million people. Intra-regional trade among ECOWAS countries still lies at 12 percent. This is insignificant compared with other regions with over 25 percent intra-regional trade. “Intra-regional trade in ECOWAS is still consistently low at about 12 percent,” said Kalilou Traore, ECOWAS commissioner for industry and private sector promotion, while announcing plans to establish ECOWAS Business Houses (EBH).

Thursday, 21 January 2016

The year 2015 was quite eventful for China-Africa diplomacy. Several high-level officials from both sides visited in each direction; the African Union (AU) and China signed a memorandum of understanding; China concluded an agreement to build a base in Djibouti; and China signed a host of bilateral agreements with African countries. The capstone of the year’s diplomatic efforts was Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), hosted in Johannesburg on Dec. 4-5 and gathering delegations from 50 African countries, the African Union, and of course China. What did we learn about China-Africa relations from this meeting? FOCAC’s launch was a collaboration among China and several African delegations to convene a triennial meeting that would chart out cooperation projects and discuss China-Africa relations multilaterally.

The Chinese government, through the ambassador to Uganda, Zhao Yali will put aside sh60b towards projects aimed at commercializing agriculture The Government of the people's Republic of China has pledged to support organized business groups especially those in agriculture. The Chinese government, through the ambassador to Uganda, Zhao Yali will put aside sh60b towards projects aimed at commercializing agriculture. Yali said, "My government is committed to working closely with Uganda because the country is endowed with enough land to spur agriculture. Right now, agricultural groups should be better organized and work in solidarity to grow the sector.

As the proverb says, bread is the staff of life, the southern African country Mozambique knows it well. Four years ago, Rudy Manuel, a Mozambican youth, could not imagine that his father's farm, located in Xai-Xai district in Mozambique's southern province of Gaza, can reach a yield of up to 4,8 tonnes of grain per hectare. Before cooperating with China WanBao Co., Ltd. in 2011, Manuel's 42-hectare farm only had the capacity of producing an average of 1,5 tonnes of grain per hectare. It is not an exception in Mozambique, which possesses large alluvial plains as arable land, but is still plagued by a food deficit of nearly 300 000 tonnes of grain, constrained by its primitive farming techniques.

A meeting supported by IICA, the European Union, and Colombia’s Presidential Agency for International Cooperation enabled specialists engaged in promoting the crop to learn about new forms of marketing that could boost markets for the product. Technical officers from six Caribbean countries traveled to Costa Rica to learn about new ways of adding value to cassava production and modern technologies for processing the vegetable, in order to boost the industry, promote the diversification of markets, and improve the chain’s competitiveness.

The year 2015 was an eventful one in Zimbabwe's agricultural sector. The resuscitation of irrigation schemes countrywide under the $38 million Brazil More Food for Africa Programme, revival of the Agricultural Rural Development Authority estates and settlement of the outstanding payments by the Grain Marketing Board characterised the 2015 agricultural year. However, farmers continued to face challenges such as drought, high inputs costs, lack of affordable funding and foot and mouth disease outbreaks which are threatening the sector. Farmers also complained of the imported agricultural produce that flooded the local market as they failed to secure viable markets.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

China’s slowing economy and the turmoil on its stock and foreign exchange markets have reverberated around the world and constitute one of the biggest threats to growth in other emerging markets in 2016. But in Ethiopia, one of the many beneficiaries of Chinese trade and investment, officials remain unfazed. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Ethiopia’s foreign minister, says he is confident that Chinese investors still consider Ethiopia a “target country” for manufacturing operations overseas, as wages rise across Asia.

Every day in the wee hours of the morning Verónica Reyes’ extended family grinds corn to make the dough they use in the tacos they sell from their food truck in Mexico City. (...) The cooked corn dough takes on a yellow tone, an effect caused by a process called nixtamalisation – the preparation of corn or other grain, which is soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution, usually limewater, and hulled. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), 25 percent of world food crops are contaminated with aflatoxins. This technique dates back to before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in Mexico in the 15th century, when local indigenous people cooked corn this way. Nixtamalisation significantly reduces aflatoxins – any of several carcinogenic mycotoxins produced by molds that commonly infect corn, peanuts and other crops.

The first tilapia farm in Belize has become ASC certified. The Fein Catch tilapia farm is the first of its kind in Belize to gain certification against the ASC Tilapia Standard for responsible aquaculture after independent assessment by certifier Control Union Peru. "I would like to congratulate Fein Catch on their certification. This is a great example of the diversity of the farms engaged in our programme," said Chris Ninnes, ASC's CEO.