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News Brief: Week of October 29, 2012

News Topics


Foreign Assistance
Equatorial Guinea Gives US$30 Million To FAO For Food Aid In Africa, 12 October 2012, Ein News, MALABO  -  Equatorial Guinea has offered US$30 million to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to assist African countries with food shortages and improve food security across the continent. The donation comes after a meeting between the President of Equatorial Guinea and Jose Graziano Da Silva, Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization at the 67th United Nations General Assembly in September. READ MORE
Boost for Tanzania’s Agriculture Sector, 25 October 2012, The Financial - The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved US$25 million to boost the productivity of Tanzania’s agriculture sector through timely delivery of seeds and fertilizer to 300,000 farmers, and additional financing of US$30 million to enable farmers to access the latest in agricultural knowledge, farm technology and irrigation infrastructure. READ MORE
EU Grants Ivory Coast 115 Million Euros Budget Support, 26 October 2012, Reuters, ABIDJAN  - The European Union granted Ivory Coast 115 million euros in budget support on Thursday, aiming to help the West African nation back on its feet following a decade of political crisis that ended in a brief war last year. The world's top cocoa grower, Ivory Coast suffered from years of stagnation during the conflict which saw the country divided between northern rebels and southern government loyalists. READ MORE

Agricultural Policy
Forum Suggests Ways for Africa to Better Manage Natural Resources,  31 October 2012, African Manager - The eighth African Development Forum (ADF VIII) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, has adopted a Consensus Statement suggesting better ways in which African countries can use their natural resources to promote people-centered sustainable development. The 11-page document is the outcome of the 23-25 October Forum, with the theme “Governing and Harnessing Natural Resources for Africa’s Development.” It focused on how to generate maximum benefits from the exploitation of Africa’s land, minerals, fisheries and forests for the benefits of the people. READ MORE
Small Farmers 'Need More Support', 23 October 2012, - President Jacob Zuma has urged stakeholders in South African agriculture to find ways of providing tenure security for communal farmers, to increase support for emerging farmers, and to consider a new approach to land reform in the country. READ MORE
Africa's Food Security Challenges Unmanageable Without Addressing Climate Change, Land Tenure, 20 October 2012, Africa Science News  - The prospect of Africa rising from its bleak food security reality may never come to pass if three key problems are not addressed. Dr. Braimoh Ademola, the senior natural resources management specialist, agriculture and rural development department (ARD) at the World Bank, cites Africa's need to increase productivity for about 750 million people in Africa by 2050 as the continent's greatest challenge what with the lacking resilience in the agricultural sector to cope with the reality of climate change whose impact is likely to decrease crop yields to as low as 20-30 per cent. READ MORE

Agricultural Markets & Trade
Lifting Barriers Could Unlock Africa Food Trade - World Bank, 24 October 2012, Reuters - Africa could avoid food shortages if it reduces the tangled web of rules, fees and high costs strangling regional food trade and by putting large swathes of uncultivated land to productive use, a World Bank report said on Wednesday. READ MORE
Intra-African Trade a Must for Growth, 29 October 2012, Mediaclub South Africa - Doing business in Africa, intra-regional investment and perceptions of South Africa and the continent came under the spotlight at the recent Nedbank-Nepad Business Forum, a quarterly event for industry and business leaders to discuss emerging and long-term business perspectives on the continent. The forum is an initiative of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) Business Foundation (NBF), and Nedbank. The objective of the NBF is to promote sustainable economic and social development on the continent. READ MORE
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries : Media Statement: South Africa to host the World Dairy Summit (WDS), 30 October 2012, 4-traders - On 4 to 9 November 2012, South Africa will play host to the World Dairy Summit (WDS). The summit will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre and will draw more than a thousand international and local dairy industry leaders. The event comprises governmental bodies, corporate dairy companies, organised agricultural leaders, dairy farmers, dairy processors and marketers. READ MORE
Africa Can Avoid Food Crises And Earn Billions, 30 October 2012, BlackSeaGrain - Some 19 million people in West Africa’s Sahel region are living with the threat of hunger and malnutrition, though the potential to increase agricultural production in Africa is enormous. Poor people in the slums of Nairobi pay more for their maize, rice, and other staple food than wealthy people pay for the same products in local supermarkets. READ MORE
Should Africa Be Growing More Wheat?, 16 October 2012, AP News, DEBRE ZEIT - The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center says demand for wheat is growing faster than for any other food crop in sub-Saharan Africa, where corn has long been considered the most important cereal crop. As the U.N.'s Food and Agricultural Organization marked World Food Day on Tuesday, experts are reexamining what crops are best produced in Africa, for Africans. READ MORE

Private Sector Investment
G8 and Africa Leaders Announce Expansion and Progress of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, 26 October 2012, Feed The Future - The United States Government, along with other G8 members, hosted a side event today at the United Nations General Assembly in New York to announce that Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire and Mozambique have joined the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. In addition, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah announced that 21 additional private sector companies, most of them African companies, have signed letters of intent, committing themselves to invest an additional $500 million in African agriculture. READ MORE
Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture to be Developed, 22 October 2012, FAO Media Centre, ROME - A two-year consultation process to develop principles for responsible investment in agriculture that respect rights, livelihoods and resources was approved by the 39th Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), which ended on Saturday at FAO headquarters. READ MORE
Indian Firms Reap Bitter Harvest in Africa, 26 October 2012, The Hindu, ADDIS ABABA - Indian companies which invested in controversial deals involving hundreds of thousands of acres of land in Ethiopia have found themselves out of their depth in a fast-growing African economy that is still in the process of building critical transport and irrigation networks. Documents related to one such transaction reveal how Emami Biotech, a subsidiary of the Rs.2,200-crore Emami Group, pulled out of a Rs. 400-crore, 40,000-hectare, bio-fuel plantation only a year after the project was announced. READ MORE

Capacity Building for Science and Technology
The Face of Food Security Is Female, 19 October 2012, Inter Press Service, DES MOINES, Iowa- In a major endorsement for investment in women – the bulk of food growers in the developing world – United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said food security could not be achieved without women, and that the world’s hungry also needed leaders to prioritise actions. READ MORE
CICR Training Cotton Scientists from 6 African Nations, 26 October 2012, The Times of India, NAGPUR - City-based Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR) is conducting a fortnight long training on modern cotton production technology for 32 participants from six African countries. This in keeping with Indian government's commitment to cotton growing African countries made during May 2011 India-Africa summit In Ethiopia. READ MORE

Relief to Development
Cooperatives Cushion the Blows of Hunger, 23 October 2012, IPS News, YAOUDE - “One in eight people goes to sleep hungry every day,” according to the ‘State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012’, a document released annually by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). The report goes on to state that 870 million people worldwide are starving, a decrease of 130 million since 1992 but still a far cry from the Millennium Development Goal of halving the world’s hungry people by 2015.  READ MORE
Cooperatives Help Women Farmers Tighten Ranks, 19 October 2012, Inter Press Service - It is a tried and tested truth that when women come together in groups they can address their issues more powerfully than they can as individuals. Cooperatives provide a sense of accountability and commitment, as well as healthy competition that brings tangible results, according to Saquina Mucavele, executive director of MuGeDe – Mulher, Genero e Desenvolvimento (Women, Gender and Development), a Mozambique-based non-profit organisation with a focus on sustainability, rural development and gender. READ MORE
The Lions Roar For Africa, 26 October 2012, Slow Food - Representatives of Lions Clubs Italy had the opportunity to meet African coordinators of Slow Food’s Thousand Gardens in Africa project today at Salone Del Gusto and Terra Madre, where they presented the International Club’s commitment to adopt 200 participating community and school food gardens. READ MORE
Small-Scale Farmers Have No Time to Lose in Adapting to Climate Change, 30 October 2012, IFAD, ROME- Farming has always been a risky enterprise, but climate change is magnifying the risks, especially for smallholder farmers living on the precarious margins of the earth’s productive lands. Over the centuries, smallholders have drawn on traditional knowledge and historical observations to manage the effects of a variable climate. Today, the speed and intensity of environmental change is outpacing their capacity to do so. Historical averages are no longer a reliable guide for the future. Losses and damages from extreme weather keep increasing, as the pattern of droughts, floods and tropical storms becomes ever more unpredictable. READ MORE

Food Shortages Can Be Eliminated, 24 October 2012, Tanzania Daily News, DAR ES SALAAM - Tanzania and by extension Africa, is perennially threatened by famine. However, the problem of food shortages should not be as commonplace as it is reported, especially for a country like Tanzania which is tipped to become a model for African green revolution. READ MORE
Boosting Africa's Wheat Production, 9 October 2012, VOA News- Agricultural experts are meeting in Addis Ababa (10/8-12) to discuss ways of making sub-Saharan Africa a major wheat producer. The region traditionally has played a small role in wheat production, but that could change in the coming years. READ MORE
Is China Good or Bad for Africa?, 29 October 2012, CNN World - China’s growing presence in Africa is one of the region’s biggest stories, but even seasoned analysts cannot decide whether this booming relationship is good or bad for Africa. Critics say Chinese strategy is entirely self-promotional, aimed at maintaining access to Africa’s precious mineral resources even when that means propping up odious governments. China’s supporters say the Asian superpower is strictly neutral and business-oriented, preferring to generate economic growth not a dangerous dependency on aid. READ MORE