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News Brief: Week of December 3, 2012

News Topics



Foreign Assistance
Agricultural Development Gets Doubled U.S. Investment, 26 November 2012, United States Department of State, WASHINGTON- Through the Feed the Future initiative, U.S. government research investments in global food security more than doubled from $50 million in 2008 to $120 million in 2011, according a report released in October. In addition, the 3-year-old Feed the Future has reached close to 9 million children through nutrition programs, helped nearly 2 million farmers adopt improved technologies and spurred private-sector partnerships in agriculture. It aims to reduce poverty and stunting in children under age 5 by 20 percent in its 19 focus countries by 2014, states the report Boosting Harvests, Fighting Poverty (PDF, 4MB), from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the lead agency for the initiative. READ MORE
Germany Supports African Union With Additional € 30 Million, 30 November 2012, Sierra Express Media, ADDIS ABADA- 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

Agricultural Policy
Europe Signs Pact to Protect Traditional African Agriculture Products, 28 November 2012, The Chronicle - The European Commission has signed a co-operation agreement with the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) to improve the protection of traditional agricultural products (geographical indications -GIs) in Africa. This will involve, among other matters, promoting the GI legal framework, informing producers and other stakeholders and enhancing the public’s awareness of GIs and their potential for African producers. READ MORE
Climate Change Policies Implementation Programme On Cards, 28 November 2012, Tanzania Daily News, DAR ES SALAAM - THE Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives in collaboration with the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has developed an innovative policy support programme aimed at implementing climate change adaptation policies. A Senior Agriculture Official in the Ministry, Ms Mary Majule, said the programme dubbed the Environment Policy Action Node would mainly focus on advocating elements of a climate strategy that promotes climate smart agricultural practices. READ MORE
Report Urges New Development Agenda for Small-Scale Farming, 29 November 2012, Ghana Business News - A three-year study of the ways small-scale farmers operates in Africa, Asia and Latin America by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) has prompted calls for a major rethink of development and business interventions. The final report dubbed HIVOS Project by the IIED and published on Thursday- shows how mainstream efforts to make markets work for poor farmers can fail to operate in tune with the ways such farmers themselves try to make their markets work.. READ MORE

Agricultural Markets & Trade
Sowing the Seeds of Success in Africa, December 3, 2012, The Irish Time - Many Irish companies and agencies are looking at ways to improve Africa’s agricultural industry. Talk to anyone in investment circles and Africa is likely to emerge as a topic of conversation. Perceived by many as the forgotten continent, Africa has recently emerged on the global consciousness as a potential site for investment, particularly for the agriculture sector. READ MORE

Gabon To Become Major Palm Oil Exporter By 2020, 30 November 2012, Ventures -
Gabon’s Agriculture Minister, Julien Nkoghe Bekale, has disclosed that the central African nation’s bid to reduce its reliance on  crude oil exports, will make it a major exporter of palm oil by 2020 as it diversify into the agricultural sector of the economy. READ MORE

Commerce Drives Science and Technology In Africa, 27 November 2012, Forbes

- African countries have long aspired to transition from being raw material exporters to technology-based economies. But this vision has remained elusive. For decades the continent believed that industrial development would be achieved through increased investment in research and development (R&D) along the paths pursued by industrialized countries. International consultants and United Nations reports bamboozled Africa into believing that allocating 1% of GDP to R&D would do the trick. But the 1%-of-GDP fetish is not just fundamentally flawed, it has also failed to win political support or show positive results. READ MORE

Private Sector Investment
Bloomberg News, 15 November 2012, Bloomberg News - Agco Corp. (AGCO), the world’s third- largest farm-equipment maker, plans to invest $100 million in Africa over the next three years to capitalize on an agricultural boom and a shift to commercial farming. The company, based in Duluth, Georgia, opened a $35 million parts warehouse in Johannesburg in May and on Aug. 17 signed a deal with Algeria Tractors Co. to build a plant to produce Massey Ferguson tractors, Nuradin Osman, Agco’s director for Africa and the Middle East, said in an interview on Nov. 13. Most of the future investment will come from existing funds, he said in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. READ MORE

Does the Future of Farming in Africa Lie in the Private Sector?, 23 November 2012, the Guardian -
African smallholder farmers are some of the most impoverished people in the world (43% are women) and they account for 80% of food production in sub-Saharan Africa. Some people argue their future will be driven by the private sector – the UK's Department for International Development has been working to link up businesses with smallholder farmers. Giant food retailers are also starting to realise that they need to look after African smallholders to safeguard their future. READ MORE

Deal Of The Week, 29 November 2012, FM Fox -
Joining the scramble into Africa's agricultural sector, Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund (PRIF) has teamed up with US private equity firm Carlyle to invest US$210m in Export Trading Group (ETG). Headquartered in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, ETG is one of Africa's foremost integrated agricultural firms. "ETG offers a unique combination of strong management and access to the agriculture supply chain in Africa and key markets in China and India," says Herc van Wyk, CEO of PRIF. READ MORE

Absa-John Deere Venture Has Lent R1bn to Farmers for Equipment, 29 November 2012, BusinessDay-
ABSA, in partnership with US agricultural company John Deere, had lent farmers R1bn for equipment in the past seven years, Wessel Steffens, head of the bank’s vehicle and commercial asset finance division, said on Thursday. Both companies expect their strong profits to continue as agricultural commodity prices remain high and farmers continue to purchase agricultural equipment. READ MORE

Capacity Building for Science and Technology
Trust 'A Major Challenge' to Agricultural Biotechnology, 29 November 2012, SciDev, NAIROBI - Building trust in agricultural biotechnology as one of the potential solutions to food security in Africa is essential, according to a study. Published in Agriculture & Food Security this month (1 November), the study is the result of four years spent investigating how public trust in agricultural biotechnology in Africa can be developed. One of the researchers behind the study, from the Sandra Rotman Centre, a research institute based at the University Health Network and the University of Toronto, Canada, says it requires the cultivation of honesty, transparency, accountability, capability and solidarity between scientists and the public. READ MORE

Striving to Increase African Food Productivity, 30 November 2012, Inter Press Service

- For decades food security and self-sufficiency in Africa have been seen as a distant dream. The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, however, hopes to make it a reality, and while it may have begun with a slow start, its coordinators are confident it will produce more positive results in the coming years. The programme is implemented through the African Union’s (AU) Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA), which was set up to improve food security, achieve sustainable development and improve livelihoods on the continent. READ MORE

Ghana Secures $119.5m US OPIC Insurance Cover for Major Agric Projects, 29 November 2012, Ghana Business News - After sourcing for funds to strengthen agricultural value chain in the country, Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) has secured an amount of $119.5 million in political risk insurance from US agency, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). The Ministry is embarking on some major agricultural projects that will improve the efficiency as well as modernize the sector, bringing much-needed food security to the country and also boost efforts of becoming a regional food exporter. READ MORE

Namibia: New Water Plan for Water Equity, 30 November 2012, The Namibia Economist
- The recently launched Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) plan will enable the country to achieve sustainable water resource management, contributing to social equity, economic efficiency and environmental sustainability of future development. READ MORE