Agriculture: Latest News
Peter Pedroncelli, 11:22 am AFKI Original
The idea of funding a venture by raising money through many small contributions on the internet strikes a chord among Africans. It’s ubuntu at its finest. When Media 24 closed Ideas magazine in South Africa in 2016, former editor Terena le Roux took it upon herself to resurrect the publication. Thanks to support on social media, she launched a crowdfunding campaign via Thundafund. The money continues to come in, and she was able to relaunch the magazine.
Staff, 1:01 am
The U.S. did not have a trade policy for Africa when Rosa Whitaker went to work for the U.S. State Department. U.S. policy was to view Africa as a charity case. Whitaker helped draft AGOA, the law gives duty-free access to the U.S. for African countries meeting eligibility requirements on human rights, rule of law and labor standards. With AGOA, the whole narrative changed, Whitaker said. “We no longer saw Africa as benefactors of charity. We were able to substitute paternalism with partnership.” The U.S. had trade representatives for every other region of the world except Africa. President Bill Clinton did not wait for AGOA to be passed before appointing Whitaker assistant trade representative for Africa.
Mongabay, 1:34 pm
Ethiopia has failed to make the most of emission reduction projects that allow developing countries to sell certified carbon credits, a stakeholder said. Making carbon credits marketable requires time, substantial investment and resources. Even then, a prospective buyer might reject them. Proponents say the carbon trading projects can’t come soon enough. The country is losing five times more forest than it’s planting. If Ethiopia is strategic, it can sell abundant resources like water to help power industrialization, boost tourism, boost electricity generation and create a wealthy green economy. And it’s renewable.
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:24 am AFKI Original
Mauritania requires no royalty payments, which is not the norm. This is a benefit for oil, gas and mining explorers anxious about paying royalties when commodity prices are unpredictable. Mauritania’s corporate income tax rate is relatively low at 25% — a plus in a region where the tax and fiscal systems can change any investor’s outlook on risk and reward. Large government irrigation projects have aided agricultural production in the desert. Israeli technology and cropping strategies have had some success in other parts of Africa. There is potential here, but it requires investment in technology — not always a priority in agriculture.
Dana Sanchez, 11:52 am AFKI Original
Africa has been reluctant to adopt GM food technology for crop production, but that’s changing. Many African countries are willing to overcome domestic and international opposition to GM technology to boost their agriculture sector. Just four African countries allow GMO crops for cotton. In Africa, only South Africa grows GM food. Opponents urge African countries not to commercialize GM crops, saying it will put their agricultural sector in the hands of large multinational agri-businesses and hurt biodiversity. Proponents say GM crops are as safe.
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:34 pm AFKI Original
Equatorial Guinea is not the easiest place to get to, or the easiest place to understand. Sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest oil producer is aggressively spending oil revenue on building roads, schools, hospitals and housing. First-time visitors to this closed, mysterious country will encounter easily navigated highways. The government is constructing Oyala, a planned city deep in the rainforest, to possibly replace Malabo as the capital. Oyala will feature new government buildings, a university, five-star hotels and conference centers. Kempinski, one of Europe’s oldest luxury hotel groups, plans to operate the first Oyala hotel and golf resort.
Peter Pedroncelli, 7:40 am AFKI Original
The rich will pay more tax. That’s one of the most riveting things to come out of South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s 2017 budget speech. Income tax increases across the board did not materialise, but wealthy South Africans will be taxed at a higher bracket. Taxpayers earning more than $115,000 a year will pay a 45% tax rate. Around 100,000 taxpayers will be affected. Investors and global credit agencies were keen to hear Gordhan’s speech — his second one in his second stint as finance minister. Here is a closer look at 12 things you should know about the 2016 South African budget speech.
Dana Sanchez, 2:37 pm
Marijuana is illegal in South Africa, but the country is a step closer to legalizing it for medicinal purposes. The South African government plans to soon publish proposed guidelines for production of cannabis, known locally as dagga. “This is a major breakthrough and fantastic news for freedom of choice,” said Narend Singh, MP for the Inkatha Freedom Party. The hemp industry is interested in legalizing the strain of cannabis used for hemp. SA imports $76 million worth of hemp products a year, Singh said. There’s also a case due to be heard in the Constitutional Court calling for full legalization including for recreational use.
Mongabay, 9:25 am
There’s a mistaken belief that Africa is a continent of empty, freely available land open for development. Companies investing in land in Africa feel they can cut a deal with the government, raze the land, and create vast plantations. “No land is unclaimed,” a stakeholder said. “Uprooting communities without their consent from their lands and traditional livelihoods creates conflicts and social unrest.” Most disputes involving private investments in Africa – 63 percent – relate to local people being displaced off their land. These disputes affect sugarcane and palm oil production, mining for gold, diamonds and coal, and green energy to harvest wind and solar power.
Dana Sanchez, 8:53 am
A combination of native African armyworms and Fall armyworms from the Americas are ravaging staple crops in southern Africa. Uncontrolled, they have the potential to cause food shortages. Damage to maize is likely to have the biggest impact because it’s the main staple food crop. The Fall armyworm destroys the cob itself. In parts of their native range in the Americas, genetically-modified Bt maize is grown to combat the Fall armyworm. This may be an option for South Africa and other countries where GM crops are already grown. But many parts of Africa do not allow or welcome GM varieties.
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