Agriculture: Latest News
Staff, 3:50 am
Prospects for agriculture in Africa took a huge boost last week as leaders, business people and major development partners pledged more than 30 billion US dollars in investments to expedite transformation of the sector. The collective pledges at the African Green Revolution Forum in Nairobi, Kenya, mark a major breakthrough in efforts to transform agriculture, the mainstay of the economies of most of African countries, to become the key driver of growth.
Dana Sanchez, 2:41 pm
Africa has 700 companies with revenue of more than $500 million and half are in South Africa. About 40 percent of the 700 are publicly listed, and the continent needs more of them, McKinsey reported. How did they get there? By growing strong at home, not giving up, integrating what other companies would usually outsource, and investing in talent. Family businesses make up 10-to-20 percent of the companies by revenue.
Staff, 9:08 am
The investments are being called historic and may represent the largest package of financial commitment to the African agricultural sector to date. The goal? A new era of business opportunities for the 70 percent of Africans who depend on farming for food and income, but often face poverty and poor nutrition. Presidents Kagame and Kenyatta opened the African Green Revolution Forum 2016, laying out a vision of how agricultural transformation should play out in Africa.
Kevin Mwanza, 8:31 am
Some 11 African countries are making headway in their ambitious pan-African effort to plant trees along the edge of the Sahara desert, the world largest, and beat back its spread into more arable land southwards. The plan dubbed the ‘Great Green Wall’ seeks to counter the spread of Sahara Desert in Africa was launched in 2007 and was estimated to cost more than $2 billion up to completion.
Dana Sanchez, 7:54 am
There’s a potential bonanza for South Africa. If 10 proposed new nuclear power plants are built as hybrid electricity-desalination plants, the amount of fresh water produced from seawater will provide so much fresh water that unused land could be turned into a garden, creating an agricultural industry. This happened in California’s semiarid Central Valley (with snowmelt, not desalination), which now produces over half the produce consumed in the U.S. on land previously unusable.
Africa is a continent where, at least outwardly, we like to celebrate our diversity—the rich variety that can be found in our many cultures, languages, fashions, flora and fauna. That’s why it’s perplexing to see such a large segment of the African population depending on a very small number of food crops, like maize, rice and wheat. And it’s more than just boring to the palate. It’s severely diminishing the quality of our diets and making our farming systems more vulnerable, especially during severe droughts like the one that hit Southern Africa this year.
Dana Sanchez, 9:12 pm
Mozambique has banned the export of whole logs outright from 2017, regardless of the species, in an effort to encourage local processing. China, the biggest importer of logs in the world, has been the driving force behind Mozambique’s illegal logging boom. Falling demand from China for timber exports has provided an opportunity for reform in Mozambique. The problem is, China wants the wood in raw form. There’s little incentive to invest in manufacturing in Mozambique.
Kevin Mwanza, 10:18 am
Ethiopian protesters stormed a Dutch-owned flower farm on Monday in Bahir Day city, Amhara region in North-West Ethiopia and caused damage estimated at about $7.8 million, in what authorities have linked to the deadly Oromo clashes. The farm is one of a series of foreign-owned plantations run by Israelis, Italians, Belgians and Indians that have fallen victim to the latest spate of violence since members of the Oromo and Amhara communities started protests in November.
Keren Mikva, 9:40 am AFKI Original
As with any new business, she faced some financial struggles in the beginning. She admitted that she would sometimes bounce checks to keep the business going, and make good on her debts later on, “I remember one day I bounced five,” she said in an interview. Founder and CEO of Kenya’s first flavored tea brand, she’s a recognized name in the business world. We’re shining a spotlight on Kenyan tea tycoon and entrepreneur, Flora Mutahi.
Keren Mikva, 9:52 am AFKI Original
Robben Island is known as the political prison where Nelson Mandela spent decades of his life. Now a famous tourist destination, it’s becoming notorious for something else — abalone poaching. Nearly $70,000 worth of abalones — 2,858 of them — were found in a raid in May. Poachers often sell the coveted shellfish for drugs. Many of the abalones end up in Chinese restaurants, where diners may pay $130 per kilogram. In South Africa, abalones are on the verge of commercial extinction.
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