A significant percentage of maize produce is rejected by agro-processing factories due to poor quality caused by high level of humidity due to poor post-harvest handling stage. The main problem preventing maize farmers from accessing stable markets include “aflatoxins”, which are poisonous substances regularly found in improperly stored staple commodities such as maize, rice, sorghum, millet, wheat, cassava and others. Read more. Source | New Times
Access to improved seeds by more than 80 million small-holder farmers in the Comesa region remains low standing at 23 per cent. This has resulted in low productivity, especially for cereals such as maize, sorghum and pearl millet. Despite Comesa countries having most of the global arable land, the region still grapples with food production. Read more. Source | New Times
The government of Ethiopia should introduce tax exemption mechanisms for importing farm equipment and agricultural inputs in order to modernize the sector, agricultural expert says. Dr. Melese Temesgen, a researcher said at a public lecture organized in Addis Ababa that tax free imports should be promoted in order to introduce modern ways into the sector.
Noting that the equipment are not currently affordable for farmers, Dr Melese said it is crucial for the government to exempt the equipment from tax so as to encourage farmers use modern equipment. Read more. Source | Ethiopia News Agency
Ethiopia and African Development Bank (AfDB) have signed 15-million-USD grant agreement to finance the integrated Agro-Industrial Parks Support Project (IAIPSP). Signing the agreement today, Finance Minister Ahmed Shide said the project fits very well with the national vision as it focuses on supporting the development of the four Agro-Industrial Parks located in Amhara, Oromia, SNNP and Tigray regional states.
The sites are Bure (Amhara), Bulbula (Oromia), Yirgalem (SNNP), and Baeker (Tigray), it was learned. The project will strengthen the agro-industrial parks link with producers and Small and Medium Enterprises with strategic industrial clusters, the minister added. Read more. Source | Ethiopia News Agency
On the sidelines of TechCrunch Battlefield Africa in Lagos, Nigeria, on December 11, a new platform that utilises Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning to predict crop yields was launched. This technology, when combined with advanced data analytics and blockchain, can further be used to develop a credit score for advancing non-collateralised loans to farmers.
IBM Research Africa partnered with Hello Tractor, a mobile platform to enable farmers hire tractors on demand, to develop an agriculture digital wallet and decision-making platform that provides demand and supply visibility for farmers, tractor fleet operators and banks to give farmers the equipment and technology they need to build a sustainable farming enterprise. Read more. Source | Business Daily
In September and October, the Hub partnered with the Eastern African Grain Council (EAGC) to host regional meetings in Entebbe and Zanzibar to discuss harmonizing East African Standards (EASC/TC/014) for cereals and pulses. These meetings facilitated the review and revision of existing East African Community (EAC) standards for sorghum grains, finger millet, green grams, composite flour and soy flour by the EAC Secretariat and members of national technical committees. The meetings are the first activities under a Hub grant to EAGC which is also set to support the development of an EAC Guideline for sampling and testing aflatoxin levels. The adoption of the revised standards and guidelines are expected to reduce trade failures and ease the movement of grains from surplus to deficit regions in the EAC.
In 2016, the Hub partnered with the EAGC and the EAC Secretariat on the revision of the nine staple grain standards (wheat flour, maize flour, milled maize, dry beans, wheat grains, millet flour, sorghum flour, milled rice and dry soybean). This process was completed in December 2017 with the gazettement of the nine revised standards under EAC Legal Notice Number EAC/149/2017. Two sampling and testing standards and guidelines were also developed as part of the previous grant.
Despite attempts to improve the enabling environment for cross-border trade, challenges persist, making continued efforts to improve grain standards and food safety testing protocols necessary. One area ripe for improvement is the sampling and testing process for aflatoxin levels in staple grains. Inefficient aflatoxin testing delays border crossing times and leads to double testing and lack of transparency in the quality of produce being traded in the region. Harmonizing aflatoxin sampling and testing processes in the EAC will enable regulation of the levels of Aflatoxin in grain.
Harmonization of these East African Standards will increase the flow of quality grain commodities from surplus to deficit areas, eliminate unnecessary barriers to trade in the region and promote confidence among regional trading partners of the quality standards in staple foods.
Rwanda’s agricultural exports generated over $515.9 million (over Rwf447 billion) in a period of one year from July 2017 to June 2018, representing an increase of 44.73 per cent compared to $356.5 million (over Rwf316.8 billion) generated in the same period in 2016-2017. Read more. Source | New Times
A Kenyan greenhouse farming technology company emerged a clear winner of early stage category during the just concluded Pitch AgriHack 2018 in Kigali Rwanda.
Illuminum Greenhouses Kenya, were rewarded grants of between €5000 and €7500. ‘Pitch AgriHack 2018’ is a competition organised by Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) – a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU) – to support young agricultural entrepreneurs (agripreneurs) build viable businesses and boost innovation for a more sustainable agricultural sector. Read more. Source | The Exchange
Farmers have failed to commercialise agriculture due to lack of knowledge on how to access credit facilities, according to Mr Stephen Mukitale, Buliisa County MP. Speaking at a farmers’ workshop in Kampala, Mr Mukitale said commercial agriculture continues to be a dream for many Ugandans because they lack knowledge on how to access agricultural funding sources such as the Agricultural Credit Facility, under Bank of Uganda. Read more. Source | Daily Monitor
Logistics does not operate in isolation, according to a cross-section of policy experts, sector actors and industry analysts Daily Monitor spoke to. Logistics and transport sectors naturally feed into each other. Typically, logistics is related to the movement of physical goods and information. Efficient logistics connects firms to domestic and international markets through reliable supply chain networks. Read more. Source | Daily Monitor