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News Brief: Week of October 15, 2012

News Topics


Foreign Assistance
Village Project Helps Rural Producers in Senegal, 16 October 2012, Inter Press Service, POTOU - Increased harvests in the northern Senegalese community of Léona provide evidence of the benefits of multifaceted support for agriculture. But as their yields grow, farmers are calling for consistent policy to protect markets for their crops. Since 2008, the village of Potou has been the site of a multi-sector poverty eradication effort, one of 12 “Millennium Village” sites found in hunger hotspots in ten countries across Africa. READ MORE

U.S. Pledges Continued Support for Global Agriculture, 16 October 2012, US Department of State, WASHINGTON- The United States will contribute up to $475 million to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), promising to give $1 for every $2 committed by other donors. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner announced the additional U.S. support for GAFSP October 12 during the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Annual Meetings in Tokyo. READ MORE
IITA Seeks More Effort to Boost African Agriculture, 16 October 2012, This Day Live - As nations across the globe mark another World Food Day today, the Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, has called on world leaders and other stakeholders to double efforts to save Africa from the pangs of hunger and poverty. In an address to participants at the 21st Annual Congress of the Nigerian Rural Sociological Association (NRSA) held at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Sanginga said that “challenges to food security in Africa are huge, and that the barriers to wealth creation, food security, improved nutrition, and sustainable management of natural resources in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are on several fronts.” READ MORE
South Sudan: WFP Pledges Commitment to Reduce Hunger Among South Sudan's Vulnerable, 15 October 2012, Sudan Tribune, JUBA
- As the world marked World Food Day on Tuesday, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) reiterated its commitment to reduce hunger and poverty levels among the vulnerable globally. WFP Executive Director, Ertharin Cousin, in a statement, said the agency will work closely with communities, the civil society, governments and the private sector to end hunger, which it says is worsened by high food prices. READ MORE

Agricultural Policy
Creating Business Opportunities for a Globally Competitive Agricultural Sector, 16 October 2012, IFAD, ROME - The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) senior staff highlighted the potential of smallholder farmers in economic development and food security at the Agricultural Sector Forum in Kenya today.  “The particular experience of IFAD has demonstrated that smallholder agriculture is profitable and that rural communities can thrive when they have access to markets, and have the resilience to overcome the increasing environmental and financial challenges of this modern world,” said Périn Saint Ange, IFAD’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa.  READ MORE
18th African General Assembly Ongoing in Accra, 16 October 2012, Joy News Television - Agricultural exports from sub-Saharan Africa continue to decline, although the region possesses about 12 percent of the world’s arable lands. Officials from the African Rural and Agriculture Credit Association are meeting in Accra to find solutions to the dwindling fortunes of the sector which plays a critical role in most economies across the continent. READ MORE
Africa Looks Into Higher Wheat and Maize Production, 17 October 2012, The Africa Report - Agricultural initiatives in Africa and Asia have reduced the world's hungry from 1 billion 20 years ago to 870 million, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has revealed. But the World Bank believes Africa still needs to increase agricultural productivity. Despite the success of agricultural programmes, with FAO registering declining hunger in Asia and Latin America, Africa has registered an increase in the number of people without enough food. One in eight people around the world still go to bed on an empty stomach, every night. READ MORE
Climate Conversations - Supporting Rural Women is Good for the Environment, 15 October 2012, AlertNet - On this International Day of Rural Women, what I am most conscious of is how much rural women do for their families and communities. And how much more we all need to do to support them so that they can achieve improved livelihoods and food security in a way that is sustainable. “Sustainability” is a word you hear on everyone’s lips. This past year I personally have heard it repeatedly - from the World Economic Forum to the annual summit of the G8, to the Rio+20 conference and more recently at the African Green Revolution Forum. But how will all this talk lead to real action to benefit rural women and girls, who account for more than a quarter of the global population? READ MORE

Agricultural Markets & Trade
Trade and Technologies: Africa in the Year 2022, 15 October 2012, Fair Observer - Few scholars have envisioned a day in which African security and economic prosperity were no longer dependent on a constant flow of blue helmets and aid packages. While exceptionally belated, the day has finally arrived in which African private investment has finally surpassed aid exchanges. READ MORE
African Trade to Surpass EU, US, 13 October 2012, China Daily - Africa is likely to surpass the EU and the US to become China's largest trade partner in three to five years, a senior commerce official and government adviser said. In the process of China's ongoing strategic repositioning in the global market, increasing effort is being made to build economic ties with the continent, said former vice-minister of commerce Wei Jianguo in an interview with China Daily. READ MORE
'EU Doesn't Consider Effects of Farming Policies', 16 October 2012, Deutsche Welle - The European Union pumps billions of euros into the agriculture industry, especially into large operations. But a shift in priorities could save the livelihood of African farmers, says the head of the NGO group VENRO. READ MORE

African Wheat - Balancing Consumer and Farmer Demands, 15 October 2012, IRIN News, ADDIS ABABA
- Whether Africa can scale-up wheat production to meet growing demand will depend on governments’ support of local producers. A key test is whether they are willing to take on wheat import subsidies, which keep bread prices low and urban consumers happy, said experts at a recent five-day conference on African wheat production. READ MORE


Private Sector Investment
Can Big Business Contribute to Food Security?, 16 October 2012, AllAfrica, CAPE TOWN - Nothing could be more appropriate than the World Food Day focus on cooperatives this year, given the benefits they can have on livelihoods and food security. The collective power of cooperatives can enable better access to market, better returns, better access to inputs and services, and a better support network for smallholder farmers. Higher returns act as an incentive for farmers to invest back into their farms, so farms become more sustainable. READ MORE
Tanzania: Tib to Loan Out U.S. $685 Million, 14 October 2012, East African Business Week, DAR ES SALAM- Tanzania Investment Bank (TIB) is expected to dish out a three-year loan amounting Tsh1,099bn ($685m) to farmers so as to boost farming productivity in the country by 2015. Speaking to East African Business Week in Dar es Salaam, the TIB's Managing Director Mr. Peter Noni said his bank intends to inject a big part of the loan in agricultural and value addition sector so as to supplement the government efforts of ensuring green revolution initiative. READ MORE
Maiden ‘Tractor Future Farm’ in Nigeria Underway, 16 October 2012, The Guardian Nigeria - The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is set to partner AGCO, a leading U.S.-based global tractor manufacturing company to set up the first ‘tractor future farm’ in West Africa. The Minister, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, disclosed this on Thursday, in Abuja, when the Managing Director of AGCO for Africa and Middle East, Nuradin Osman, led a delegation to his office. Adewumi advised them to collaborate with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), through the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) initiative, to enable farmers’ to access loans to purchase tractors. READ MORE
Gates: Invest more in agriculture, 11 October 2012, KBC News, YAOUNDE- The Co-Founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates says malnutrition and disease are the main challenges affecting growth and sustainability in Africa. She warned that the re-emergence of preventable diseases like meningitis is worrying and urged parents to make use of vaccines now available to protect children in Africa from the devastating ailment. She called on parents to use vaccines whose efficacy is now proven to deal with the menacing disease which often has devastating effects on patients. Speaking at the Africa Green Revolution Forum 2012 - (AGRF 2012) in Arusha, Mrs. Gates said lack of investment in agriculture and use of conventional technologies in agricultural productivity is a major constraint to dealing with poverty and disease in Africa. She called for greater investment in agriculture in order to fight poverty and malnutrition in on the continent. READ MORE
Nigeria: World Food Day - FCT Disburses N412 Million to Farmers, 17 October 2012, Leadership, ABUJA - Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, yesterday said that out of the N1 billion Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS), on lend to the FCT N412,353,000 had so far been disbursed to 1,398 farmers in the last one year of the programme implementation. This she said is part of efforts to boost food production in the country. Speaking at the World Food Day Celebration at the Agric Show Ground Km 18, Abuja-Keffi Road, the minister noted that despite the initial hitches in the implementation of the Growth Enhancement Support Programme (GES), FCT was able to deliver 4,000 metric tonnes of assorted farm inputs to 37,038 farmers out of 50,000 farmers. READ MORE

Capacity Building for Science and Technology
How To Achieve Green Revolution In Africa, 16 October 2012, The Star, NAIROBI - Alarmed by the growing poverty and hunger in Africa the international community has mounted a vigorous campaign to transform Africa’s agriculture in ways could produce a Green Revolution for Africa. Development experts and donor agencies have made the case for ramping up global capital flows to revitalize Africa’s agriculture through increased use of mineral fertilizers, high yield seeds, putting more land under irrigation and increased use of pesticides. READ MORE
Tanzania: Farmers to Get Improved Sweet Potato Seeds, 18 October 2012, Tanzania Daily News - UP to 400 farmers in Kigamboni, Temeke and other districts in the Coast Region stand to get improved seedlings for cultivation of orange fleshed sweet potatoes in an ambitious project to persuade farmers to plant the vegetable for food and capture the export market. Temeke Extension Officer, Mr Stephen Mruma told the 'Daily News' over the weekend during a Farmer's Day event organised by the Tanzania Agriculture Productivity Programme (TAPP) that they had recently acquired and identified better variety with the Kibaha Research Centre. READ MORE
South Africa: U.S.$20 Million Project Aims to Transfer Brazilian Know-How in Support of Cotton Farmers, 17 October 2012, FAO Media Centre, ROME - Brazil and FAO signed a new South-South cooperation agreement today worth $20 million that aims to channel Brazilian expertise in cotton production to other developing countries. The four year collaborative effort between FAO, the Brazilian Cotton Institute (Instituto Brasileño del Algodón, IBA) and the external cooperation wing of Brazil’s Foreign Relations Ministry (Agencia Brasileña de Cooperación, MRE) will target participating countries with technical assistance and training in best practices in cotton cultivation and marketing. READ MORE
Nigeria: Food Security Challenges - Biotechnology to the Rescue, 16 October 2012, Vanguard - In all spheres of socio-economic development of Nigeria, there have been traces of failure which have given rise for calls for drastic measures to be taken in order to improve on the country’s present status of a failing economy. Nigeria is today at the bottom of other African countries in terms of socio-economic development. READ MORE

Relief to Development
AfDB Joins Development Partners in Support of Agricultural Cooperatives on World Food Day 2012, 16 October 2012, African Development Bank Group - The African Development Bank joins its development partners and member countries today in celebrating World Food Day 2012. The official World Food Day theme, announced each spring by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), gives focus to World Food Day observances and raises awareness and understanding of approaches to ending hunger. “Agricultural cooperatives – key to feeding the world” is the formal wording of the 2012 theme. READ MORE
Ensuring Africa’s Development Critical Task for UN, Says General Assembly President, 17 October 2012, UN News Centre - The United Nations system and African countries must strengthen their partnership to advance the continent’s economic growth, development and participation in the global economy, the President of the General Assembly said today. “Ensuring Africa’s development should be a strategic task for the entire United Nations system,” President Vuk Jeremic said in his opening remarks to the Assembly’s discussion of the world body’s engagement with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). READ MORE
Creating Business Opportunities for a Globally Competitive Agricultural Sector, 16 October 2012, IFAD, ROME - The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) senior staff highlighted the potential of smallholder farmers in economic development and food security at the Agricultural Sector Forum in Kenya today. READ MORE
African and Global Leaders Agree on Concrete Actions to Drive Agricultural Growth in Africa, 28 September 2012, African Press Organization, ARUSHA - The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Arusha, which concluded today, produced concrete actions to transform Africa’s agricultural sector. African heads of state, ministers, private sector representatives, the internjjational community and farmers united on the roadmap for increasing agricultural productivity and income growth for the African agricultural sector. Support for Africa’s smallholder farmers remains at the centre of all solutions. READ MORE

Addressing Food Wastage to Fight Hunger, 16 October 2012, IRIN, NAIROBI- Experts have called on governments and development organizations to put in place measures to significantly reduce the amount of food lost in the global food delivery chain. “The amount of food lost along the food supply chain should be reduced as a way of reducing wastage within the food production system and also as a way dealing with global food insecurity,” Joseph Alcamo, chief scientist at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), told IRIN. READ MORE
Malawi: Laughing at Hunger on Empty Stomach, 17 October 2012, Africa News - She felt weak in her legs after on several days sleeping on an empty stomach because she had literally nothing to eat within her household. But her face beamed with hope that she would this day have something to fill in her stomach after the country's first citizen a longside a representative of an organization that had donated 50 Kg bags of maize flour to government for free distribution to the needy placed one on her gray haired head. READ MORE
Oil Revenues Should Be Directed Towards Agriculture, Says Speaker, 16 October 2012, Oye!News - James Wani Igga told South Sudanese lawmakers yesterday during the opening of the assembly that poor infrastructure in the agricultural sector hinders the diversification of the sector. “It is only poor roads conditions hampering food to come to the national capital,” Igga said. READ MORE
Angola joins the SWF club, 17 October 2012, Financial Times - The sovereign wealth fund – known as Fundo Soberano de Angola (FSDEA) – will start with $5bn in assets, and look to invest primarily in sub-Saharan Africa. Angola joins Nigeria and Tanzania in launching or planning to launch a SWF in 2012. The SWF will target the infrastructure and hospitality sectors, as according to FSDEA’s statement “they represent significant wealth creation opportunities across sub-Saharan Africa and also offer the potential for a higher growth multiplier for the Angolan economy.” Other sectors also on the hit list include agriculture, water, power generation and transport. READ MORE