Main events for the week: 29 May - 02 June 2017

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European Commission

29 May- 02 June: EU GreenWeek 2017

30 May and 31 May: Citizens Energy Forum

31 May: cities for food system innovation green jobs

31 May: Coreper I and Coreper II

01 June: Workshop on Climate action in agriculture and forestry

Council of the EU and European Council

31 May: Marine Protected Areas: Opportunities and Initiatives

European Parliament

29 May and 01 June: Committee Meeting

31 May and 01 June: Plenary Session

Nigeria's Trade Dilemma

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Is the federal government leaving prosperity on the table by refusing to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement? Earlier this month in Kaduna, on a day Facebook predicted late rainfall, the European Union (EU) Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS (The Economic Community of West African States), Mr. Michel Arrion took to the podium at a trade and investment seminar for the Kaduna business community. In attendance were the crème de la crème of the state's industrial workforce, manufacturers, and business owners. Arrion, a tall, majestic presence, was enchanting. The primary aim of the seminar was to help Kaduna's business community see the glorious beauty of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), a trade deal negotiated and completed over a period of 14 years between the EU and ECOWAS, but which the Nigerian Government had failed to sign off on.

Cameroon: Development program for its horticultural sector

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The Cameroonian government will soon launch a development programme for its horticultural sector, financed by the 11th European Development Fund (EDF), we learned at the end of a workshop organised in Douala on 16 and 17 May. The meeting, we learned, was meant to identify the levers on which it is necessary to act, to give an impulse to the development of horticulture in Cameroon. Labelled “Fit For Market” (FFM), this programme is meant to support the horticultural sectors in African-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) countries, whose main horticultural products exported to European Union territories are increasingly in demand.

EU, Health Ministry Introduce Food Fortification

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The European Union (EU) and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) introduced a food fortification opportunity for nutrition sensitive food system in The Gambia to overcome under-nutrition, at a ceremony held at the Senegambia Beach Hotel on Wednesday. In his remarks, Darrell Sexstone, programme manager for Agriculture Food and Nutrition security, climate change and institutional support at the EU delegates, said the effect of poor nutrition represents one of the most serious and preventable tragedies of the time. He said millions of children survive but grow up stunted with a low height for their age and impaired mental development.

EU Gives Tanzania U.S.$200 Million

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The European Union, through the Energy for Growth and Sustainable Development programme, has given Tanzania €180 million ($200 million) to develop its energy sector. The bloc, working with the German Development Bank (KfW) and the French Agency for Development (AFD), is funding a €42 million ($47 million) electrification project in northwestern Tanzania, covering the Kagera, Geita and Kigoma Regions. The head of the EU delegation in Tanzania, Roeland Van de Geer, said that reliable energy is key to poverty reduction and pledged more support to make energy available across Tanzania.

IFAD President Travels to Uganda

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At a time when nearly one million South Sudanese have crossed into northern Uganda, creating one of the world's largest refugee settlements, Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), arrives in Kampala 25 May to discuss efforts to support small scale farmers and increase food security in the country. According to a recent analysis, some 4.9 million South Sudanese are food insecure and 100,000 are at risk of famine. The arrival of nearly one million refugees in Uganda puts additional strain on local farmers and food production. The situation underscores the fact that rural areas are often neglected by development but are crucial for national and global food security.

AfDB to Make Africa's Food Imports History

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has pledged to make the continent self-sufficient in food production within a decade. AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina made the pledge at a press conference in Ahmedabad, India Monday morning, a day ahead of the official opening of its 52nd annual meetings. Dr Adesina noted that Africa was currently spending $36 billion every year on food imports. "If things don't change, Africa's annual spending on food import would reach $110 billion by 2025.""Last year, we invested a total of $800 million in agriculture in eight African countries, which is the biggest in our bank's history," he said. AfDB has been supporting the improvement of agribusiness in Africa for several years.

EU-EAC Trade Deal - Why Has It Been a Hard Sell?

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The East African Community is divided on whether to sign a key trade agreement with the European Union. ALON MWESIGWA explains how the EU-EAC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) would affect the region. It is midday on a Sunday and Tom Sajje organises his fishing net in Kitooro on the shores of Lake Victoria, preparing for the evening's journey to fish. "These days, we struggle to get fish; it is no longer as available as it used to be," Sajje said, referring to the dwindling fish stock in the lake.Sajje, who is clearly using archaic methods, says they have not been helped much to improve their fishing methods and their general well-being. People like Sajje have a special mention in the EU-EAC EPA trade deal. It promises "ensuring preservation and priority of particular needs of the artisanal/subsistence fishery."

PHL seeks European Union aid with no strings attached

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“We believe that to help a friend and provide aid it must be without conditions,” Mr. Lopez said in an interview late Saturday at a meeting of Asia-Pacific trade ministers in Hanoi, Vietnam. “We would appreciate all aid but we would just request that there be no conditions,” he said. “We would simply not want to be questioned and we follow the principle of non-interference and independence in foreign policy.” The Philippines has told the EU it will no longer accept new development grants, which could mean foregoing around 250 million euros ($280 million) in assistance, unless they come with no strings attached. The EU has criticized President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s war on drugs, which has led to the deaths of thousands of suspected dealers, and his planned reintroduction of capital punishment.

Rice import restriction extended

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The maximum volume of rice that private traders can ship in annually will remain at 805,200 tons until 2020, with the tariff also kept at 35%, the order signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on April 27 showed. The Philippines, one of the world’s top rice importers, is supposed to lift the import restriction by July 1 this year under an agreement with the World Trade Organization (WTO). It was not immediately clear if Manila needs to seek another waiver from the trade body from its obligation to open up the domestic rice market. In 2014, Manila won WTO approval for a waiver but, as part of the agreement, it pledged to increase the annual import volume from 350,000 tons and reduce the rice tariff from 40%. Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol, who believes the Philippines could be self-sufficient in rice production by 2020, had been pushing for a two-year extension of the restriction, saying local farmers are not ready to compete with cheap imports.

CSOs appeal to gov’t on imported rice

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Civil Society organizations have called on government not to completely remove taxes on imported rice. This follows a proposal by government through the Ministry of Finance to remove taxes on imported rice so as to cater for the food insecurity situation in the country. The same idea is being hatched in South Sudan too. The Office of the Prime Minister is already distributing food items including rice, maize flour and beans in different parts of the country. But CSOs led by the food Rights Alliance (FRA) said whereas the idea is good for now, it is not good in the long term. FRA executive director, Agnes Kirabo, said the exemption will be for one year and yet Ugandan rice matures in a space of 90 days

Brexit to benefit African exporters in long-term

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While trade and investment in Africa may decline when the UK leaves the European Union, the long-term effects are expected to be net positive for the continent’s exporters, according to Ecobank Transnational Inc. In the longer term, capital flows are especially likely to increase between the UK and English-speaking countries such as Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria, said Edward George, the head of research at Africa’s most geographically diverse lender. While increased exports of agricultural and mineral products will partly depend on whether the UK develops as a hub for processing, transporting and consuming those products, the biggest opportunities may lie in digital-service and financial-technology collaboration, he said in a phone interview.

Summit Asks Europe Not to Punish Kenya

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The East Africa Community (EAC) has asked the European Union not to punish Kenyan agricultural products exported to Europe. A heads of states summit in Dar es Salaam resolved to petition the EU on behalf of Kenya and agreed to dispatch Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, the new EAC chairman to present Kenya's case. President Museveni, the new chairman of EAC, said his first assignment is to harmonise the organisation's position on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) that allows countries in the region to export their agricultural products to Europe without attracting tax. Mr Museveni told the 18th Ordinary Summit of EAC Heads of States in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Saturday that the EAC was committed to solving the stalemate surrounding the EPAs once and for all.

EAC Ministers Spotlight Non-Tariff Barriers for Slump in Trade

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Trade volume among member states of the East African Community (EAC) has declined during the past one year, with officials attributing the fall to existing non-tariff barriers (NTBs) Tanzania's Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Co-operation, Dr Augustine Mahiga, said however that the decline was due to reduced trade in some products, such as food crops, mainly rice, but official figures fall short of specific reasons for the slump in trade."Trade has been growing over the past years save for 'just' last year ... the removal of non-tariff barriers is among issues to be resolved," he explained.

Commonwealth African countries: Review World Trade Priorities

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Amid an unprecedented global trade slowdown, African policy-makers, negotiators and trade analysts will meet on 25-26 May 2017 in Mauritius to discuss priorities for reviving world trade and strengthening their trading capacity. Since 2014, world trade has declined by more than US$3 trillion with Sub-Saharan Africa’s combined exports falling by about 40 per cent - from US$403 billion to less than US$250 billion. Participants will discuss the most pressing trade and development challenges for Commonwealth African member states, in the light of unfavourable global economic and trade patterns, rising protectionism and growing discontent about globalisation.

Caricom to review import taxes

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The 15-nation Caribbean trade bloc is undertaking a complete review of its import taxes regime into the regional free market including poultry and agriculture products from the United States in the wake of a plethora of requests from governments and the private sector to periodically suspend tariffs to correct shortages of items in various member states. The bloc has hired an international consulting firm to “undertake a rather comprehensive look” at the common external tariff governing the importation of products not manufactured in the region.Part of the reason for this stems for pressure from governments and the private sector for suspensions or waivers of duties to the council of trade ministers (COTED) for particular products to make up for shortfalls of materials or finished products in particular countries.

Participatory 3D Modelling in Samoa: Triggering behavioural changes and climate change resilience

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Participatory 3D Modelling in Samoa: Triggering behavioural changes and climate change resilience

A study demonstrated that P3DM contributes to natural resource management and climate change resilience and showed the transformative power of the approach at various levels, such as community, NGO and governmental level. Through the P3DM process, meaningful interactions between government representatives and community members resulted in greater collaboration and mutual learning. While government representatives have changed the way they approach local communities – from ‘teaching’ to ‘listening’ – communities have also changed ...

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Desert farming could increase food security in Kenya

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North Eastern Kenya was one of the regions in the country that experienced perennial drought. One proactive and sustainable option for insulating the region and indeed, the entire country, against the negative effects of drought is through large-scale investment in desert agriculture. With the availability of labour and a virgin territory five times the size of Rwanda, there is no better place to experiment with desert agriculture. Some of the farm produce harvested locally already signifies the great potential for agriculture in the region.They include lemons, bananas, watermelons, pawpaws, mangoes, tomatoes, kales, onions, cassava and millet.