Nigerian Government to Implement 10-Year National Cocoa Plan.

The Nigerian Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment has finalized plans to implement a 10-year National Cocoa Plan from 2013 to 2032. The project aims to develop a sustainable cocoa economy that will primarily contribute to the GDP through increased industrialization and production. It has been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

This was revealed by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr. Evelyn Ngige, during a one-day stakeholders’ forum in Abuja on the execution of the 10-year national cocoa plan 2023.

According to her, the project will lead to higher foreign exchange revenues through the export of consistently superior quality cocoa beans and cocoa products, as well as robust domestic consumption, farm gate prosperity, and youth engagement.


In her words: “Cocoa is one of Nigeria’s primary non-oil export earning commodities, providing income to federal and state governments, and millions of farmers in the main cocoa producing communities and other stakeholders across the cocoa value chain. However, from a peak of over 300,000 metric tons in the 1970/71 trading season, and being the number two cocoa-producing country in the world,

“The proper implementation of this plan will no doubt enhance the achievement of the sub-sector in the following areas,

“Inclusion of cocoa products in federal, state and local government’s food and health programs, mainstreaming of cocoa powder market driven by widespread consciousness of cocoa’s health benefits and nutritional value.

“Promotion of the establishment of Fine Flavor Chocolate producing companies; Increase in revenue and jobs as well as other spin-offs, An upswing in cocoa processing investment and capacity utilization on account of increasing domestic consumption; and. The present two percent cocoa consumption is projected to increase to a minimum of 20-25 percent.”

When the National Cocoa Plan is fully executed, she said, the current metric tons of cocoa production is expected to increase to 714,000 metric tons in the 2027–2028 cocoa season.

According to her, this plan is created under the strategic pillars of the global agenda for cocoa, which comprise strategic management, sustainable production, industry, and consumption of cocoa.

South Africa’s 2023 Restaurant Plate Rating.

The launch of the 2024 JHP Gourmet Guide just happened at Beyond Restaurant on the Buitenverwachting wine estate in Constantia, Cape Town. During the event, they revealed 45 plated restaurants and announced the Haute Performance awards for chefs and restaurants.

Having secured the ‘Best in the World’ title in the digital category at the 2023 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, the digital guide highlightsContinue reading

Cameroonian Engineer Creates Machine for Selecting, Husking, and Pressing Egusi Seeds.

In a small workshop in the hilly town of Yaoundé, the capital city of Cameroon, a set of unique machines are active day and night, helping produce one of the region’s favorite dishes. These “robots”, as their inventor calls them, allow operators to select, husk, grind, and press pumpkin seeds, delivering the raw, husked seeds known locally as “egusi”, “ngondo” or “pistachio”.

It took the inventor almost forty years to go from concept to prototype to filing an international patent to finally producing his machines, which are the only made-in-Africa devices of their kind.

“Apart from here, this kind of the machine doesn’t exist anywhere across Africa”, said Samuel Tchofo, a Cameroonian engineer in his sixties, the inventor of “Robot Ngon”, and founder of Sem Production.

To get to the beginning of the origin story, Tchofo had to go back to his early years after graduating as an engineer in 1982. He had noticed how difficult it was to prepare egusi-based foods, common across Africa, because the seeds first needed to be husked, a very tedious task.

“I was a little bit sad to see these old women, mothers, and grandmothers, struggle to manually husk whole baskets of egusi. The task can take a couple of days just to husk a small basket”, he noticed.

He couldn’t help thinking that if pumpkin seeds probably had a similar importance in Western nations, someone in those countries would probably have invented a machine to solve the problem. “If so, why not in Africa?” So he decided to solve the problem himself.

The task, as it turned out, was huge. After being recruited by an oil sector company in 1984, Tchofo already had a good job in the petroleum industry. So he could only use his spare time and holidays to work on the project.

In the end, from the first design of the machines to the prototypes and tests, it took him 27 years.

His very first prototype was made in June 1988 in Lyon, France, and was built during a holiday. However, the prototype was manual and had a very low output. The same year, he upgraded it, but the result was still unsatisfactory. Feeling like he was on the right track, however, he applied for a patent. The draft patent was approved and filed in 1989 with the Maisonnier firm in Lyon, France.

The oil engineer was subsequently posted to Algeria as an operations engineer, working on a 7-week rotation with a 3-week rest in France. From then on, he took advantage of his frequent rest periods to continue his work, he explained.

In 2012, after taking an early retirement after 28 years in the oil and gas sector, he fully committed to his invention. It would take another four years until he was satisfied that his machine could be operated daily to process pumpkin seeds commercially. In 2017, he optimized a machine to process hard-shelled squash seeds.

Under the brand Ngon, the engineer also started selling a variety of products, highlighting the neglected value chain of pumpkin seeds.

“From “egusi”, we make and sell husked seeds, but also, what is less common, food oil, beauty oil, flour, and cream”, he explained.

These products are now represented in hundreds of supermarkets and shops in Cameroon’s urban centers.

Sandra Ngoumou, 45, a teacher and mother of four and a regular consumer of pumpkin seed-based products in Douala, said she had been overjoyed to find a locally-produced source of pumpkin flour and oil.

“I discovered these products when shopping in a supermarket here in Douala. When I make cakes, I like to add some “pistachio” flour to them. Egusi is a protein-rich product. I also regularly use “pistachio” oil in several recipes,” she told Bird.

Tchofo is now working to attract investment to develop serial production of his “robots” to expand their presence across all rural areas in the region.

For small retailers of pumpkin seeds like Sarah Kouekam, the machine would be life-changing.

“I generally buy “pistache” from wholesale suppliers, and I sell it to the market. It takes me a lot of time to husk it with my hands before selling,” she said, hoping the solution would soon be available to the public.

Almost forty years after first thinking he could change lives, Tchofo may finally be doing just that.


Kenyan Government Halts Export of Avocado to Ensure Ripening.

Beginning from Friday, the government of Kenya has declared the stoppage of the exportation of avocados in order to allow room for the fruits to mature as part of measures to protect Kenya’s lucrative export market.

The announcement was delivered in a notice on Tuesday in which the Horticultural Crops Directorate (HCD) discontinued the export of Hass, Pinkerton, Fuerte, and Jumbo avocado varieties by sea starting November 3rd, 2023. This also comes months after the American government expressed its willingness to support Kenya in expanding its avocado export market under a $160 million initiative. 

However, the directorate has authorized the shipment of avocados by air, including those that are traveling from other members of the East African Community (EAC). According to the directorate, the choice was made in response to a study it conducted to verify the maturity indices of avocado fruits in the main production zones.

“Following the findings of the survey, we hereby notify the Kenyan avocado stakeholders that the closing of Hass, Pinkerton, Fuerte, and Jumbo harvesting season and export by sea for the 2023/2024 fiscal year shall be in force with effect from November 3, 2023,” said HCD acting Director-General Willis Audi.

He added that “Export clearance (including fruit consignments from the EAC region) shall be granted for air shipment, subject to inspection by the Directorate. Traceability information will be required for all consignments.”

Kenya employs temporary export prohibitions as one of its primary strategies to prevent avocados from being harvested too soon, which results in the export of inferior fruit. This occurs at a time when avocado demand has increased dramatically in recent years. 

For example, Kakuzi, an agricultural company listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), more than doubled its avocado profits in the six months leading up to June 2023, reaching Ksh654.8 million ($4.35 million), from Ksh288.6 million ($1.92 million) in 2022, with a peak in exports to China and Europe.

In the three months leading up to May, Kenyan shipments of avocados to China reached Sh9 billion, beating fierce competition from Chile, the world’s top exporter of the fruit. Between March and May of this year, Kenya sent seven million kilograms to Beijing as more farms and pack houses entered the lucrative Chinese market.

Rwanda, EU Sign €11 million Agreement to Address Food Insecurity.

In an effort to combat food insecurity in the nation, Rwanda and the European Union (EU) on Tuesday, October 31, launched “Kungahara,” a new initiative comprising 14 initiatives valued at 11 million euros.

According to officials, the project was launched in response to rising consumer price indices, as approximately 20.6% of Rwandan households still experience food insecurity. The signing event in Kigali was presided over by the EU Ambassador to Rwanda, Belén Calvo Uyarra, who was accompanied by a number of government representatives.


Speaking shortly after the signing ceremony, Uyarra stated that the initiative will support inclusive agricultural value chains, sustainable food production, and focused interventions in communities that are particularly vulnerable.

“Today, our gathering serves two key objectives. The first is the official launch of the 14 projects, marking the beginning of our collective efforts to combat food insecurity and promote environmentally sustainable agricultural value chains. This launch means our commitment to enhancing the lives of Rwandans, ensuring access to nutritious food, and boosting local food production,” the ambassador stated.

She clarified that the motivation for this project came from a common desire to address the world food crisis and its catastrophic effects on millions of people.

The EU envoy emphasized that it is critical to acknowledge the urgent issues at hand, in particular the global food crisis, which is made worse by protracted food crises in addition to fresh shocks that continue to have an impact on millions of people.

“In 2023, our world is facing extraordinary challenges, and one of the most pressing is the global food crisis. Record levels of acute food insecurity persist in 48 countries, affecting the lives of 238 million people, and this crisis is exacerbated by the Russia-Ukraine crisis which continues to impact food prices and global food value chains,” she added.

She disclosed that the project is expected to benefit over 20 districts and 211,000 households over the space of three to four years. “The initiative projects various beneficiaries including women-headed households, individuals with disabilities, children, pregnant and lactating women, and local committees committed to eliminating malnutrition.”

The situation of food security in Rwanda has significantly improved, and the EU has been one of Rwanda’s largest agricultural partners, especially through budget support projects and technical assistance, according to Olivier Kamana, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources.

“We want to see the project contributing to the reduction of levels of food and security in respective regions promoting environmentally sustainable culture value chains, and ensuring access to foods for all.

According to Kamana, food security continues to be a major concern for the growth and way of life of the Rwandan people, particularly farmers. For example, he stated that 1 percent of Rwandan homes experience severe food insecurity while at least 18% of households experience moderate food insecurity.

“The overall objective of this program is to contribute to sustainable transformation in Rwanda by fostering Rwanda’s agricultural transition to social and environmental inclusive food systems and ensuring Rwanda’s environmental and climate sustainability. “

According to Kamana’s statement to The New Times, the project is meant to supplement current efforts that are trying to boost agricultural growth through strengthening cooperation between regional and global non-governmental organizations and local government bodies.

“As you may be aware, the Russia and Ukraine crisis will have a significant negative effect on agricultural productivity and production, and this is consequently expected to affect the food and nutrition security globally. There is no doubt that this initiative is part of the solution to revamp this situation.”

According to Kamana, 1 percent of Rwandan homes are suffering from acute food hardship, while 18% of households are experiencing moderate food insecurity. Furthermore, he stated that while over 65 percent of households spend their income on food purchases, about 29 percent of households rely on the market for food expenditures.

According to him, there is minimal food insecurity in the eastern province and high food insecurity in the western region, with 35 percent of households living in food insecurity. Stunting rates among children under five have also remained high, with a national average of 32.4%.

“I would like to make a call for strong collaboration and stakeholder engagement. We encourage a strong collaboration of international and local NGOs and districts and the engagement of our farmers who are the first beneficiaries of the project.”

He continued, saying that regular talks with beneficiaries are still vital and important to determine what, how, when, and where they need support.

Rwanda Partners with BGK to Finance Diary Sector.

Rwanda and the Polish development bank Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK) have inked a finance deal worth €23 million (about Rwf29.9 billion).

After the export contract between the Rwanda Agriculture Board and Faspol for the delivery of milk cooling installation with extra equipment and building components is finalized, the long-term loan will be utilized to buy a milk chilling system from a Polish company, Faspol.

The goal of delivering around 400 systems to nearby milk collection locations is to boost production capacity, improve accessibility to dairy products, and minimize milk losses from correct storage.

This project’s implementation could have a significant impact on the nation’s socioeconomic development, particularly in a sector where value addition has not yet been added.


According to Uzziel Ndagijimana, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, the credit financing agreement has a 12-year term with a three-year grace period. “The agreement we are signing today is a testimony of the fast-growing bilateral cooperation between Rwanda and Poland. The two parties are exploring more opportunities for economic cooperation.”

The BGK management board member Marek Tomczuk praised the speed at which the arrangement was negotiated and mentioned that Rwanda is the first nation in Africa to use the bank’s funding facility.

He stated that the sovereign bank will keep collaborating with Rwanda’s public and private sectors in addition to the agriculture sector. In addition, it has already selected a number of industries, including IT, infrastructure, mining, food processing, education, and defense, in which Polish companies may be active.

“This agreement will open a new chapter in cooperation between our countries and it should also be a trigger for other Polish companies to start doing business here,” he said.

According to Eric Rwigamba, State Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources, the development will drastically alter people’s means of subsistence, particularly for those who raise animals. They will be able to sell their goods in more organized and secure markets and at better prices.

Rwanda pledged in December 2022 to raise milk output by 34% in one way. Rwigamba claimed that despite several factors being addressed, there has been little progress towards reaching the target.

The largest agro-processing company in Rwanda, Inyange Industries Ltd., has earlier declared plans to establish a milk powder factory with an anticipated expenditure of $45 million (about Rwf55.6 billion). It was planned for the production to begin in May 2023.

As one kilogramme of milk powder is produced from every ten liters of liquid milk, the plant is anticipated to be able to handle 500,000 liters of milk in liquid form every day, or 50 tons. With that, it will have an annual milk powder capacity of about 15,000 tonnes.


Anuga 2023 Brings Tunisian Agri-Food Industry to Spotlight.

Forty Tunisian exhibitors operating in the agri-food sector are participating in the world’s leading trade fair for food and beverages, “Anuga 2023,” organized October 7th-11th, in Cologne, Germany.

Spearheaded by the Export Promotion Centre (CEPEX), the Tunisian 25th consecutive participation in this event includes exhibitors specialized in olive oil, canned food (tuna, sardines, and harissa), dates and by-products, pastry, charcuterie, pre-prepared dishes, and dried tomatoes.

Anuga which brings together all the key players, producers, buyers, and decision-makers in the sector, is considered to be the world’s leading agri-food event, with a record number of exhibitors exceeding 7,800 and over 200,000 professional visitors, CEPEX said on Monday.

The Tunisian exhibitors succeeded in making contact with trade visitors from over 55 foreign countries, according to CEPEX.

Tunisia’s participation in this trade fair also served to showcase a fairly comprehensive range of Tunisian products and to promote Tunisia’s strengths in a market that offers real export opportunities.

A cooking show space was set up to offer visitors the opportunity to sample flavors concocted from products on display in the 435m² national pavilion.

As part of its strategy of supporting SMEs, CEPEX offered five small Tunisian companies operating in the agri-food sector the opportunity to exhibit in a “NewComer” space.

A working meeting was held with all the exhibitors. Discussions focused on export opportunities and potential business development alternatives in the German market.

The meeting also offered an opportunity to discuss the promotional program of the Tunisian Embassy in Berlin for 2024.

Germany ranks second on the list of countries with which Tunisia can considerably develop its exports, with an untapped potential estimated at $1.1 billion.


Kenya Farm to Host First On Site-Hydrogen-to-Fertilizer Plant.

The first modular green ammonia plant in the world is opening in Kenya, and the company developing the fertilizer-making technology intends to spread its facilities as far as Iowa in the US.

The project, which was constructed and will be operated by US-based Talus Renewables, is located just outside Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, close to Naivasha. Talus will supply Kenya Nut Co., which farms a variety of crops, under a 15-year off-take agreement.

In Kenya Nut’s case, the ammonia plant will use electricity from an on-site solar farm to split water atoms, releasing hydrogen that may then be combined with nitrogen to generate fertilizer. As a result, there is no longer a need to import fertilizer from nations like Russia, which lowers costs, secures supply, and lowers greenhouse gas emissions.


Hiro Iwanaga, the founder of Talus said in an interview that “the average bag of fertilizer in sub-Saharan Africa travels 10,000km”. He said with this plant “you can locally produce a critical raw material, carbon-free.” Ammonia used in fertilizer is mostly made through natural gas. 

Although the Kenya Nut plant is small, producing only 1 t of fertilizer per day, the business intends to eventually have Talus generate 200 t per day from larger plants on its sites to meet 95% of its demands, according to Graeme Rust, Kenya Nut’s chief executive officer. The plants are available in two sizes: the one used at Kenya Nut and a 10-t/day plant. 11.5 megawatts of power are required for the larger ones.

In an agreement with Iowa-based Landus Cooperative, which is owned by farmers, Talus is attempting to establish its plants in a variety of areas both within Africa and in the US. In order to create the ammonia used in blasting, it also intends to collaborate with mining firms.

Iwanaga stated that the business is now conducting a funding round and anticipates conducting a larger one the following year, which will also include getting project financing.

“The green ammonia that Talus’s systems produce is both reliable and locally produced, which reduces costs by addressing supply chain insecurity and challenges,” Matt Carstens, Landus’s CEO and president, said in a response to questions. Green ammonia is “an exciting innovation to consider,” he said. 

Namibia: Government to Launch Drought Relief Program Next Month

The Prime Minister, Hon Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, asserted that to solve the problem of drought and food insecurity, the government, through the Office of the Prime Minister, will launch a drought relief program effective from 01 October 2023 to June 2024.

The announcement was made by the Prime Minister on Tuesday when she briefed the Parliament on the outcomes of the Annual Livelihood Vulnerability Assessments and Analysis (VAA) that her office conducted in all 14 regions from May to July this year, as required by Section 13 of the Disaster Risk Management Act, 2012 (Act No. 10 of 2012).

The assessments gathered and analyzed data on livelihood and food security for the 2023/24 period to inform policy and assist in understanding the threats of natural and socioeconomic disasters to food and nutrition security.

Moreover, staff from government offices, ministries, and agencies (OMAs), regional councils, local authorities, civic society organizations (Namibia Red Cross Society), the University of Namibia, and United Nations agencies (FAO, WFP, UNDP, WHO, and UNICEF) participated in the assessment.

The food relief program, set to roll out next month, will provide both food and water assistance to drought-affected households countrywide.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister stated that the Livestock Support Programme, which incorporates livestock marketing incentives and subsidies for fodder purchased, grazing leases, and transportation to grazing areas, will be implemented from the beginning of next month through March 2024.

Meanwhile, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila stated that existing social safety net programs like the San Development Programme, which provides food assistance to marginalized communities, and the Conditional Food Bank in urban areas would continue to serve areas where the drought program was unable to reach.

She also highlighted that regarding the prevailing malnutrition cases in the country, the Ministry of Health and Social Services would continue with the nutrition program intended for assessing acute malnourished persons and refer diagnosed cases to existing feeding programs.

She said that the program would cost the government N$892.4 million.

“The VAA’s key findings are as follows: Between October 2023 and March 2024, approximately 695,000 people (equal to about 172,000 households) are likely to endure severe acute food insecurity and require urgent humanitarian assistance. When rainfall conditions improve between March and June 2024, a 7% reduction to 491,000 people is expected,” she said.

According to the Namibia Meteorological Services 2022/2023 seasonal report, Namibia experienced below-normal and sporadic rainfalls which culminated in a combination of flash floods and dry spells in some parts of the country.

“With the anticipated El Niño, which is likely to affect us during the 2023/24 agricultural season, the situation in the country will be negatively affected due to more dry and limited rainfall, which could put food security in the country at risk.”

“This has subjected communities to prospects of lower crop yields, impacts on livestock, and ultimately reduced household food stocks, compromising food security at household levels,” according to her.

She further noted that poor grazing conditions in most regions affect livestock body conditions. 2022/23 crop prospects show 153,000 MT harvest, 9% less than 168,200 MT from the previous season, indicating poor livestock conditions, she said.

The assessment indicated that 85% of the population obtains water from private and public taps, while 7% comes from boreholes. Additionally, 76.4% of the population walks less than 2.5 km to water points, with 5.6% walking more than 5 km, particularly in Kavango West, Oshikoto, Ohangwena, and Zambezi regions.

“On the reported cases of hunger among the marginalized Ovatjimba communities in Otjikojo, a village located 25km west of Okangwati in the Kunene region, the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare has provided the food assistance required. This intervention was necessary, and the government would act promptly to address such vulnerabilities,” she said.

Ethiopia, AfDB Reach Agreement to Enhance Wheat Production.

Ethiopia has received grant assistance from the African Development Bank Group worth $84.3 million to boost wheat production and raise farmer incomes.

The grant agreement for Ethiopia’s Climate Resilient Wheat Value Chain Development Project (CREW) was signed on August 2, 2023, by Finance Minister Ahmed Shide and Abdul Kamara, Deputy Director General for East Africa of the African Development Bank Group.

The donation consists of $54 million from the African Development Fund, the Bank Group’s concessional lending window for low-income nations, $20 million from the Netherlands government, $10 million from the agriculture company OCP Africa, and $300,000 from the Global Center on Adaptation.

The initiative will get $10 million in complementary funding from the government of Ethiopia. The project consists of three parts: Project Coordination and Management; Market Infrastructure, Linkages, and Agri-Finance; and Climate Smart Wheat Productivity and Production.

Ethiopia and numerous other nations on the continent have received assistance from the African Development Bank Group to increase agricultural productivity as part of its flagship Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) initiative.

CREW was created to scale up and maintain the positive outcomes of TAAT. The plan will be implemented over a five-year period and supports Ethiopia’s ambitions to increase wheat self-sufficiency. A total of 500,000 small farmer households will profit from the programme.

Kamara made the following statements at the signing ceremony in Addis Abeba: “The CREW Project will ensure that farmers in Ethiopia can access agricultural inputs to raise local production of wheat such that supply disruptions resulting from the Russia—Ukraine crisis do not worsen the food security situation already made precarious by Covid-19, climate change and rising cost of living. It also seeks to sustain Ethiopia’s exemplary strides in attaining wheat self-sufficiency and export orientation, a model that other African countries should emulate.”

He noted that “The signing of this grant demonstrates the Bank’s unwavering commitment to supporting Ethiopia and its people, and further reaffirms the partnership between the Bank and the government towards achieving Ethiopia’s vision of becoming a lower middle-income country by 2025.”

H.E. Ahmed Shide, the minister of finance, praised the bank’s assistance on his behalf and emphasized that the project will help the government’s measures to increase wheat self-sufficiency.

After South Africa, Ethiopia produces the second-most wheat in sub-Saharan Africa. By using tried-and-true techniques and novel ideas like TAAT, the nation hopes to produce an additional 4.2 million tonnes of irrigated wheat by 2025 or 2026, becoming self-sufficient in the grain and a net exporter.

With this funding, the Bank has now committed $1.23 billion to Ethiopia, which covers the crucial areas of basic services, electricity, transport, water supply and sanitation, agriculture, and the private sector.


Ghana Plans to Maximize Forthcoming Africa Food Systems Forum.

According to Juliette Lampoh-Agroh, Ghana’s Country Manager for AGRA, the country will use the next Africa Food Systems Forum in Tanzania to highlight the significant investment potential available in the agricultural sector. According to her, the event would provide Ghana the chance to continue the momentum the nation was gaining in its attempts to improve its food system.

“We have already developed a food system investment plan and I’m looking forward to investors coming into that programme and making commitments for a sustained investment plan. And I hope that we’ll be able to get a few people coming in to support our agenda to transform Ghana’s food systems,” Madam Lampoh-Agroh said at a media event in Accra.

The flagship forum on African agriculture and food systems is held annually and was formerly known as AGRF.

Samia Suluhu Hassan, the president of Tanzania, will preside over this year’s event in Dar es Salaam, which will bring together stakeholders to take concrete steps and share insights that will advance African food systems.

The 5–8 September 2023 summit themed “Recover, Regenerate, Act: Africa’s Solutions to Food Systems Transformation” will focus on developing Africa’s agricultural systems and food sovereignty, with youth and women at the forefront.

With an emphasis on reigniting interest in agriculture as a source of wealth creation for the continent, the summit will call for a re-energized commitment and a fresh sense of energy in the conversation around food systems.

The forum will feature more than 350 speakers, and more than 3000 attendees from 70 nations are anticipated. It will also host a number of events, including the Agribusiness Dealroom. It is a platform for introductions that brings together interested parties to encourage collaborations and financial investments in African agriculture.

More than 800 companies, 15 government delegations, and 150 public and private investors are anticipated at the Agribusiness Dealroom as they explore a variety of investment opportunities.

Dr. Regina Aku Richardson, the AGRF program officer in charge of seed systems, is optimistic that after the forum next week, the discussions will be put into practice. She said, “My expectation is that at the end of the forum, the various deals, the various networks that are established during the forum, will be concretized into action. I know Ghana will be participating in the deal room.”


Uganda: Nile Breweries Equip Barley Farmers.

In a bid to expedite financial literacy and inclusion among barley farmers in Kabale and Rubanda Districts, Nile Breweries Limited has equipped over 1,000 farmers in the region with financial literacy skills, this was said in a news release distributed on 21 August.

The training carried out under the theme “Financial Empowerment of Farmers” has seen farmers across the two districts undergo training in financial planning, budgeting, investment, bookkeeping, and saving and credit management skills to qualify them to manage and grow their farming businesses.

While speaking during the training, Emmanuel Njuki, the head of legal and corporate affairs at NBL noted that the training is part of the brewery’s objective to improve the farmer’s standard of living.

“We depend 100% on the farmers for barley, by financially empowering our farmers, we want to ensure that the crop is profitable for them and that the proceeds are well invested,” Njuki said, “Empowering them with financial skills such as budgeting, investments and how to access credit ensures that they are better placed to access better financing to grow their farming businesses,” he added.

Nile Breweries uses homegrown barley, sorghum, maize, and cassava to brew its beers. Currently, the brewer has contracted 25,000 farmers (15,000 for barley and 10,000 for sorghum) in Northern, Eastern, and South-Western Uganda. According to Njuki, the brewery purchases produce worth Shs109.3 billion annually from local farmers.

One of the biggest challenges facing the majority of smallholder farmers is the lack of access to credit facilities.

Bob Mutegeki the NBL Agriculturist Team Leader- South Western region said that the financial literacy training is also geared towards ensuring that the farmers have increased access to credit facilities.


Liberian Own Food Delivery Company Sold to Nigerian Lady.

Liberia-based food delivery service, Balance Bolw owned by Andrea Kamara has been acquired by Nigerian Lady, Omolara Olarerin, the Chief Executive Officer of PocketFood.oi in Nigeria. This comes after several years of service both in Liberia and Nigeria. 

While Madam Kamara spoke about how she grew the business with FrontPage Africa, she noted that it was more than a cook food she started after graduating from the university at her home. She explained that it was not easy but because of the good preparation of the food, she had so many customers who were mostly cooperate workers. She got a driver who used to do the delivery.

However, according to her, the business had a new twist after the drawdown of the UN Mission in Liberia. “From ELWA to Bushrod Island, my customers base were expatriates but when the UN drew down their forces my numbers dropped,” she told FPA.

Thereafter she moved to Lagos in Nigeria and established the business there, leveraging on the huge population in Lagos. She built an app for customers to track their orders, the first app she built was a fail but eventually built the second after she met with a group at a summit in South Africa.

“I went to the business conference in South Africa and met with a few guys. I told them about building another app but don’t have money. They told me that they could build the app but would want a share in my company and I promised them,” she said.

Madam Kamara later left Nigeria after the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 which led her to closing up the business and going to the United States. She resided in the country for more than two years.

She added that she is highly involved in her new endeavor to run a food delivery business in Nigeria. She is currently a co-founder of an agro-tech company. Because of this, she was forced to sell her business to a Nigerian woman who runs a comparable enterprise.

“A friend of mine introduced me to a young lady who was doing a similar thing, she provides lunch for cooperation workers. She asked me what are you doing with the Balance Bolw and I told her I don’t know yet. And she approach me and said she would offer to buy my company,” Kamara explains.

She continues: “Initially, I said no, it was my baby, I don’t want to give my company out yet, I still have hope that I was going to come back to revive my company but I have been offered to join another company that is involved in agro-tech and I am a co-founder, I also had just given birth. And so, I later called back and asked her do you still want to buy my company and she yes, we went through the negotiation and that is how I sold the company.”

With over 1000 dedicated subscribers, Balance Bowl has demonstrated its commitment to reshaping how Africans approach their health and wellness journeys, Omolara Olarerin, the Chief Executive Officer of PocketFood told a media outlet in Nigeria after the purchase of the Balance Bolw from Madam Kamara.

“This acquisition marks a significant milestone for both and Balance Bowl,” stated Madam Olarerin, CEO of PocketFood.

Madam Olarerin added that the combination is convenient and will seek the well-being of her subscribers.

“PocketFood’s mission has always been to simplify the lunch experience for Africans, and now, with Balance Bowl’s expertise, we’re poised to elevate workplace nutrition to an entirely new level,” she said.

Ethiopia Achieve Self Sufficiency, Slashes Barley Imports.

Ethiopia has become almost fully self-sufficient in barley production in just four years, an unprecedented achievement the International Finance Corporation called a transformation for the country’s agriculture.

International agencies and players in the brewery industry, along with authorities, started putting efforts in 2018 to develop Ethiopia’s barley sector after data showed the country was importing a staggering 70 percent of the grains needed by its booming brewing industry.

With Ethiopia the fifth largest barley producer in Africa, experts believed the potential was there to drastically cut imports so they worked to achieve that. 

The innovative public-private BOOST program spearheaded by Soufflet Malt Ethiopia has been a primary driver of this success by providing training, resources, and markets to over 7,300 smallholder farmers. This program was launched with funding support from IFC and the Private Sector Window of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP).

Jean-Benoit Vivet, General Manager of Soufflet Malt Ethiopia, told IFC that “building local supply chains is at the heart of our strategy to ensure we have enough barley to feed our factory.”

The company’s investments and farmer support model have paid dividends, allowing Soufflet to now source 100 percent of its needs domestically.

The turnaround is reflected in UN trade data showing Ethiopia slashed barley imports by an enormous 78 percent since 2018. 

According to a story shared by IFC, the impacts have exceeded expectations. Farmers like nearly doubled yields and incomes through BOOST. Remarkably, the program has increased smallholder earnings by 150 percent on average, the same source added.

For generations, farmers in Ethiopia’s highland regions have cultivated barley due to the favorable climate. However, traditional farming methods along with restricted access to key resources have kept yields below what the land could truly produce. In addition, inefficient supply networks have created challenges for farmers seeking reliable markets and incomes.

Breweries have benefited the most from the country’s import substitution program, as they obtain a significant proportion of their barley supplies from domestic producer Souflett.

Contract Farming in Lesotho; Beans Farmers Taste First Fruit.

Mamahali Peete, a mother of three children, left her marketing career in the vibrant Johannesburg city in neighboring South Africa and relocated to Lesotho when she married. After three years in the country, she ventured into farming in the rural area of Bela-Bela, and she has never looked back since. She rotates between growing beans and maize on her 30 acres of land.

“Agriculture was not my first choice of business. But realizing the local demand for food I decided to give it a shot. Living in Africa, I now see a lot of potential in agriculture. There will never be a time when people don’t need food. The demand for food is even higher in Lesotho,” said Mamahali.

Lesotho is a net importer of agricultural products, with 30 percent of its total food requirements produced locally and the remaining 70 percent imported.

Mamahali is one of the first-ever bunch of farmers who signed up for Contract farming; this is a kind of trading arrangement that is not common in Lesotho. The Contract Farming initiative was pioneered by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in the country as an innovative business model establishing meaningful market linkages between farmers and the market.

Mamahali and 29 other farmers signed the contract with ‘Tasty Food Packers’, a leading Pulses supplier in the country. At the end of this season, Mamahali made her first delivery to the company.

“Contract farming brings security and gives us farmers bargaining power. It also motivates us to work hard to honor our portion of the deal. For example, this season we received agricultural inputs late in the season, but I tried everything possible to grow so that I can make delivery,” says Mamahali with a smile of triumph.

Under the agreement, ‘Tasty Food Packers’ buys the beans from all the farmers it has contracted with at an agreed price for the produce delivered. However, if there are fluctuations in prices during the harvest season, the two parties can revise the costs, and the same can be done for the quantities.

“I didn’t have a guaranteed market for my beans. Every season we have to look for potential markets. Sometimes we are unsure if our last buyer will be willing to buy from us the next season’s harvest. I made my first supply of beans to the buyer. It inspires me to work hard and honor the agreement,” says Tlalane Sebeko, a block farmer from Berea.

The farmers and the buyer who signed the contract were trained to increase their understanding and knowledge of Contract farming, and their fields were monitored right from planting to ensure good production and productivity, thanks to the support from the Ministry of Agriculture Food Security and Nutrition of Lesotho in collaboration with FAO.   

Most financial institutions in Lesotho just like elsewhere in Africa, have provided limited or no credit and insurance to farmers, although farmers represent the most significant opportunity for scale and impact in financial inclusion today. This is mainly because agriculture is considered a highly risky business undertaken with limited risk mitigation or sharing measures. About 80 percent of Lesotho’s rural population depends on the agricultural sector for their livelihoods. With proper investment and improved access to the market, agriculture has a huge potential to contribute to economic growth and uplift the livelihoods of rural populations.

Contract farming assists with credit because most of the time financial institutions accept contracts as collateral for a loan directly to the farmer.

“Access to finance has been a challenge to farmers in Lesotho. Banks and Insurance companies here fear to give us loans, yet our saving capacity is low. However, when Banks learned about Contract farming, they told us that they were going to tailor-make a product for farmers. I will be applying for a loan using this contract soon,” says Tlalane Sebeko excitedly.

Nizam Abubaker, owner of ‘Tasty Food Packers’ said the contracts will enable his company to get a steady supply as he is currently importing most of the beans from neighboring South Africa to meet the demand in Lesotho. 

“Communication is important during the season so that if the farmer encounters difficulties let’s say unfavorable weather conditions or poor harvest, we are aware and can trigger the ‘force Majeure clause in the contract that protects farmers from uncertainties,” says Nizam Abubaker. 

Nizam acknowledges that Contract farming is a win-win arrangement for both the farmer and the buyer, however noting that the government should work to establish laws regulating contract farming to protect and efficiently integrate producers and actors down the value chain, such as agribusiness, processors, exporters, or retailers.

FAO would like to see the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Nutrition Expanding Contract farming to other commodities such as vegetables, maize, and others in Lesotho, which would eventually allow farmers to diversify into new crops, which would not be possible without available and stable market.


Kenya: Milk Coolers to be Installed in All Wards.

President William Ruto has promised that the government will install coolers in the modernization program of Kenya Co-operative Creameries (KCC) facilities in all the wards in the country.

Speaking in Nyeri during his five-day tour of the Mount Kenya region, Ruto said that he had coordinated with officials in the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that the coolers are delivered to farmers by December 2023.

“We have planned for 650 milk coolers that we will distribute to at least every ward to process and store milk. My instructions are that before December the milk coolers should be in Kenya and distributed to all the farmers in all the areas,” President Ruto said.

He said that the government has set aside Sh3 million in the modernization program of the facilities and the stalled facilities will be completed using the Sh700 million that had already been funded for in the supplementary budget.

Further, the modernization process will be used to increase milk production capacity from 380,000 liters to 800,000 liters.

Ruto said that the milk coolers will also do away with middlemen who buy milk at throw-away prices in the rural areas to make profits by selling at higher prices in the upper market.

“In our quest for the local and international market for milk, we will also ensure that people who are aiming at making money quickly by importing powder from other countries through fraud and coming to compete with our farmers. That door we shall close,” Ruto said.

He promised to deal with cartels in the milk sector to ensure that farmers get the profit that has been landing in the hands of fraudsters.

Additionally, the president promised to reduce the cost of production by reducing the cost of fertilizers for farmers.

Ethiopia Set to Take Third Spot in Cocoa Exportation.

On Thursday, August 4th, there was a discussion with the media leaders where Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed expressed Ethiopia’s ambition to become the world’s third-largest exporter of coffee. They are currently ranked as the 8th largest coffee exporter globally and they have been diligently working towards this goal of becoming third-largest globally. 

In recent years, millions of coffee seedlings have been planted in the country, reflecting a strong commitment to the industry’s growth. The Prime Minister expressed his hope that within the next two to three years, Ethiopia will successfully ascend to the coveted position of the third-largest exporter of coffee beans.


In 2021, Oromia signaled the continued expansion of seedling coffee and the replacement of decades-old trees. In its recent article, the World Bank (WB) said that almost 80 percent of Ethiopia’s 1 million hectares of coffee trees were underproductive because the trees were not trimmed often enough.

According to this article, the quality of Ethiopian coffee isn’t the problem. About 95% of production from the country’s diverse coffee varieties is organic, traditionally cultivated without the use of pesticides and fertilizers. Demand isn’t the issue either. The article, however, questions, why is Ethiopia’s coffee productivity lagging behind other leading coffee-producing countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. As the research shows, the problem boils down to a lack of pruning.


Shimelis Abdisa, President of the Oromia region, back then said that, unlike the preceding trend for the past couple of years, the regional administration has given fundamental attention to bean production and productivity. He pointed out how there was no investment or special attention to coffee, it was only generating revenue. “In general, previously, the Ethiopian government was only generating revenue from coffee but not investing in it. The farmer was the only actor in the total production activity,” he said.


The WB said that the low productivity of Ethiopia’s coffee trees poses an obvious problem for the more than 2 million smallholder farmers dependent on coffee production for their livelihoods. Shimelis said due to different reason including the trading scheme, the farmers’ revenue from the bean have been declaimed which led them to cut the coffee bush and replace them with alternative profitable crops.


“Based on understanding the farmers and the sector challenges, the regional government is taking action to come up with a solution,” the regional President said. “In our region for the last two years, we have introduced three major changes in the sector. We have improved the marketing system by creating alternative trading for Ethiopian Commodity Exchange by issuing an export license for the farmer enabling them for direct export which also contributed to reducing the illegal trade,” Shimelis told Capital.

“The new trading plays a key role. It has shown positive results for instance the price of red cherry which was 12 birr per kg in the past has now reached 30 birr because of the new scheme,” he explained.

The other initiative introduced in the past two years was rejuvenating and replacing the aged and unproductive coffee trees with new seedlings. The regional President said that the coffee trees in the region are aged up to 40 years, which is a factor in the small harvest.


“Rejuvenate existing trees by trimming and replacing the old trees and seedling new coffee trees in new areas has been conducted for the past two years,” he said.

“In 2019, we have planted over 800 million new coffee seedlings, 900 million in last year and this rainy season we will plant 1.1 billion coffee trees in the region,” Shimelis elaborated.

The World Bank article said that different initiatives have been involved to elevate the challenges like Stumping involves pruning older and less productive trees down to just a stump. “This stimulates the growth of new sprouts that develop into new branches within a few months,” it added.


According to the region’s plan, the target is increasing the coffee export by two folds minimum in the coming few years. “In the past budget year for instance for the first time in the region the coffee export has increased by 17 percent and this year it is expected to climb to 19 percent,” he explained.


In the coming budget year, the export is estimated to be boosted by 25 percent because the seedling that was planted two years ago will have started production.

The price increment at the farmer’s level under one of the three pillars of change for the sector has also discouraged the illegal market. The effect on the illegal channel is said to contribute to attaining the target set for the coming year.

Farmers4ED Launches Chapter at Bulawayo.

FARMERS for Economic Development (Farmers4ED) launched their Bulawayo Chapter on Saturday with calls for farmers to continue being productive to boost food security in the country.


Speaking at the launch of the Bulawayo Chapter, Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Judith Ncube said farmers have a significant role to play in the economy as President Mnangagwa has always pointed out that Zimbabwe should never be food insecure again.


“We need to develop ourselves as farmers. We should not compete among ourselves but rather work together as a family to achieve the set goals. We need to go back to our culture of assisting one another in difficult times, which our elders used to do in the past.


“I am glad to witness the presence of young people here. The youth are the future of Zimbabwe and our President has made sure that policies are implemented that attract and educate young people who are into farming,” said the Minister.


She said as agriculture was the backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy, no one and no place should be left behind.


Minister Ncube said climate-smart agriculture was now critical for the country due to changing weather patterns.


“We should endeavor to improve the integration of agricultural development coupled with climate responsiveness. The changing weather patterns as a result of global warming are leaving most farmers unable to predict the ideal conditions to plant their crops. This also taps into the demand for not only irrigation at a faster rate but appropriate irrigation technologies that are water efficient,” she said.

“Let us stand resolute in complementing and supporting President Mnangagwa and the Government in working towards the country becoming an upper middle-class economy by 2030. A country is built by its people and this demands your utmost hard work,” she said.


Farmers4ED provincial chairperson, Pastor Rosemary Muzondo said they recognized that lifting many into prosperity goes hand in glove with strategies that drive economic growth.


She said as the country was anchored on becoming an upper middle-economy by 2030, the Government was working on various programs and initiatives meant to transform agricultural systems, including in rural set-ups, to take farming as a business.


Through Rural Development 8.0 policy, the Government is implementing several initiatives, including the Presidential Input Program – Pfumvudza/Intwasa and Presidential Input for Cotton.


Among them is also Presidential Rural Development, which is expanded to include the Presidential Borehole Drilling Scheme and the Presidential Communities Fisheries Program, the Presidential Blitz Tick Grease Program, the Presidential Rural Poultry Program, and the Presidential Goat-Pass-on Scheme.

Kenya: Light-gauge Railways for Sugarcane Transportation.

The government plans to roll out a light-gauge railway to transport sugar cane from farms to milling factories to improve the performance of the key economic sector.


The Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, Mithika Linturi recently published a policy, the policy said that the road infrastructure in the majority of the cane-growing regions especially in Western Kenya remains inadequate, hurting the movement of raw material for milling.

“Many roads in the western region, in particular, are impassable, especially during heavy rains. In some situations where all-weather gravel roads do not exist, maintenance has been a handicap due to the use of heavy machinery or tractors for transportation of canes” stated the policy.


Currently, cane is largely transported by contracted parties but the day-to-day allocation of transport tasks is handled by the various transport departments of respective millers based on cane demand. Some of the factories have their transport fleets.

In most sugar-growing areas, the cost of transportation is based on four-kilometer or ten-kilometer bands from the respective mills. Millers, transporters, and farmers review this rate from time to time with the transportation costs averaging between 11-29 percent of the total cost of production per ton and varying from one cane zone to another.


The Agriculture Ministry said that using alternative transport mechanisms will address the challenges and boost the industry’s productivity.


“The national government will develop and implement alternative, cost-effective sugar-cane transportation system such as light-rail system” it stated.


Commercial sugarcane production is concentrated in the Western, Nyanza, Rift Valley, and Coastal regions.


More than three hundred thousand farmers supply sugarcane to the millers. More than 94% of the sugar cane supply is by out-growers, the difference being supplied by the nucleus estates owned by the various milling companies.


There are sixteen sugar mills in Kenya with a total processing capacity of 51,450 metric tonnes of cane per day but the capacity utilization is about 56 percent, according to projections by the Agricultural Ministry.

Kenya Launches Largest Food Program in Africa.

In an effort to fight hunger and boost educational achievements, Kenya is getting ready to launch the biggest school meals program in Africa, with the goal of giving 4 million primary school students daily lunches.

The project is a partnership between the Nairobi County government and the Kenyan non-profit group Food4Education, and it is expected to launch in Nairobi in August.

Ten new kitchens that are now being constructed will enable 225 primary schools and Early Childhood Development institutions in the Kenyan capital to feed 400,000 kids every day. 3,500 people will be hired as part of the plan beginning on August 28, the first day of the fall semester.

The $8.6 million (£6.7 million) project was co-funded by Nairobi County and Food4Education, a Kenyan non-profit that now serves meals to 150,000 city primary school pupils. According to Save The Children, 26% of Kenyan children have stunted growth.

William Ruto, the president of Kenya, said at the launch of the program on Tuesday, that “we must eliminate the shame of hunger in our country. We will be deliberate and focused on ensuring the successful implementation of the school feeding program. The greatest indignity is for our children to go to school and fast because of lack of food.”

The president said that to expand the current national feeding program from serving 1.6 million children to 4 million, the government has allocated 5 billion Kenyan shillings ($36 million) and pledged additional counties to contribute to boost the funds.

“We are going to match counties who have a plan on school feeding program, shilling for shilling, and if we do that we can actually feed 8 million children in our schools,” he said.

Suzanne Silantoi, the county executive of Nairobi city county, highlighted the close connection between nutrition and learning. She believes that the school feeding program will not only enhance attendance and performance in public schools but also help alleviate child hunger, a significant obstacle to school enrollment in Kenya.

It is important to remember that in 2012, Kenyan dietician Wawira Njiru started Food4Education in a makeshift kitchen at Ruiru Primary School that employed one chef and served lunch to 25 kids.

With the use of eco-briquettes and steam gas technology, the kitchens will be powered by renewable energy. Technology has also made a huge contribution to the growth of Food4Education: each child is given a wristband called Tap2Eat that is linked to a virtual wallet that parents use to pre-pay 15 shillings ($0.11) for each meal.

Additionally, the partnership between Food4Education and the county government of Nairobi will provide farmers with a market and employment opportunities.


Tanzania Initiates Sweet Potatoes Farming to Fight Malnutrition.

In the Mwanza Region’s Ilemela, Sengerema, and Buchosa District Councils, more than 140,000 Tanzanian women and young people stand to gain from contemporary, nutrient-dense sweet potato farming, which is anticipated to combat childhood malnutrition.

This is through a five-year project called “Tufunguke” that began in January of this year and is being carried out by the Tanzania Home Economics Organisation (TAHEA) in conjunction with the Tanzanian government for a cost of 792.4 million dollars from the WeEffect-Tanzania (organization).

The project also aims to improve the living conditions of beneficiaries’ inhabitants by promoting food security at the home level and promoting economic empowerment.

Bundala Ramadhani, the manager of ‘Tufunguke’, recently revealed to the “Daily News” that five beneficiary groups, each with 30 members, have been established in Buchosa and have received instruction in modern farming.

To ensure that the available sweet potato seeds are free from illnesses and resistant to the effects of climate change, he said, a number of agricultural specialists, including those of Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI), have been involved.

He said, “Experts are also in place to give general modern farming education and technology for quality and abundance farm outputs that would compete in local markets.”

Mr. Ramadhani added due to the fact that sweet potatoes are one of the more perishable agricultural products, the recipients were also instructed in food processing techniques for long-term preservation.

Beneficiaries receive financial empowerment training in lending, investing, and money management. Mary Kabati, the director of TAHEA, added that the group conducts microfinance that provides lenient loans and financial management training (to recipients).

Additionally, it was mentioned that since the recipients are already registered with social welfare offices, “Tufunguke” implementers are looking forward to assisting them in joining cooperatives so they may gain access to larger loans from well-known financial institutions.

The sweet potato seeds have been supplied to all group members in the council for production and distribution (of seeds) to other beneficiary districts, according to Mr. Nestory Mjojo, the Buchosa Council Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries Officer.

In order to achieve the desired results, he advised the “Tufunguke” beneficiaries to continue using contemporary farming techniques and to share their knowledge with others.

Ms. Anisia Samwel spoke on behalf of the project’s other beneficiaries, noting that they had invested together after training and that the money from those investments would be shared among them at the end of the year.

We also consider progressively buying construction supplies to distribute each December. This is to make our houses better, she remarked.


Zanzibar First Lady Urges Food Safety Improvement on World Food Safety Day.

In celebration of this year’s World Food Safety Day on Wednesday, Zanzibar’s First Lady, Ms. Maryam Mwinyi encouraged community members, manufacturers, importers, and respective authorities to play their part to improve food safety and avoid contaminations. It was held under the theme “Food Standards Save Lives”.

As part of the activities to celebrate the day, she led a four-kilometer charity walk from Mombasa to Michenzani-Mapinduzi Square. She buttressed that food safety is everyone’s role, therefore the need for awareness raising. “Our health is connected to regular body exercises and to ensure access to foods that are safe and free from contamination,” she said.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), standards establish the maximum amounts of additives and chemicals, among other components, that can be consumed safely. They also provide farmers and processors with instructions on the hygienic handling of food. Such standards are set by organizations, governments, and regional or global authorities.

The absence of food security, according to Ms. Mwinyi as the National Chairperson of the Zanzibar Maisha Bora Foundation (ZMBF), has led to a rise in infections, which she claims has an impact on community members’ health.

To lessen the huge medical expense on the government, she urged the community to consume safe foods, adopt good eating practices, and engage in physical activity. She also pushed for promoting nutrition among young people, children, and women.

Ms. Mwinyi counseled decision-makers, the ZFDA, scientists, farmers, food vendors, educators, students, and other consumers to increase collaboration to ensure Zanzibar’s understanding of food safety rises.

Nassor Ahmed Mazrui, the Minister of Health, stated that the ministry is implementing the best practices through its institutions to prevent the importation of tainted, subpar, and expired food.

“Let’s make sure we produce good food from a clean environment. We urge farmers and livestock keepers to feed people good food for good health,” said Mr. Mazrui adding that members of the community should follow regulations and guidance regarding food production and storage.

Dr. Burhan Othman Simai, executive director of the ZFDA, stated that the institution’s primary duty is to safeguard public health by ensuring that food products, medications, cosmetics, medical devices, and reagents meet the necessary standards for quality, safety, and efficacy in accordance with national and international regulations.


South Africa Launches Into Luxury Olive Oil Industry

The African continent is in the midst of an olive oil revolution, with South Africa joining the party. 


The country is becoming an increasingly important player in the international olive oil market, thanks to access to fertile soils, ample sunshine, and high-quality olives. South African olive oil is of excellent quality, owing primarily to its premium raw materials. 


Olives used for oil are mostly harvested by hand, which leads to an increased level of flavor and aroma. South Africa’s olives are also high in antioxidants and polyphenols, which render them exceptionally healthy. 


The country’s unique climate also plays an important role in its successful olive oil production. With an abundance of sun and rainfall balanced throughout the year, South Africa offers ideal conditions for ripening and developing olives. This, combined with the favorable soil quality, contributes to the superior flavor and aroma of the resulting olive oils. 


The new boom in South African olive oil has been driven by enterprising local farmers and entrepreneurs, many of whom have expertise in other branches of the agricultural industry and have now shifted their focus to olive oil production. This has meant that olive oil production is now taking place on a significantly larger scale, leading to more quantity and variety in products. 

South Africa’s olive oil market is on the rise, with demand booming as consumers look for healthier alternatives to cooking oils.


According to latest industry data, the market for olive oil in South Africa saw a 4.6% growth rate in the first quarter of 2018, compared to the same period last year. This increase in demand is backed by a growing appreciation for the health benefits of olive oil. 


“Olive oil can contribute to reducing the risk of serious health conditions such as stroke, coronary heart disease, and some types of cancer,” Dr Maryke Labuschagne, a registered dietitian from Unilever South Africa states.


As a result, people are switching up their kitchen cupboards for healthier options. The rise of the ‘clean-eating’ trend is spurring on the uptake of olive oil. 


Packaged goods manufacturer, Unilever, has been particularly keen to capitalize on this, rolling out new products endorsing the benefits of olive oil, such as its Olive Oil Beauty range. 


South African olive oil manufacturers have also moved to cash in on the growing demand. Many now invest heavily in marketing, from television campaigns to online advertising, in an effort to tap into the ever-expanding consumer market. 


This rising demand means older olive oil producers are now facing more competition from new entrants into the market. Some, like Gerrie Nel of Nel Olive Oil have seen their market share drop from over 50% to around 25%. Others, such as Laborie Olives, have had to diversify into new products such as flavored oils to appeal to modern tastes. 


Industry experts believe the market for olive oil in South Africa is still in its growth phase. Despite increased competition, olive oil producers remain optimistic about the future, with experts predicting further growth in the months and years to come.

Mozambique adopts Zimbabwe Farming Method.

Mozambique intends to adopt Zimbabwe’s successful “Pfumvudza” farming model to improve crop output at the household level in that country, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has said.

The model is climate-proof, ecologically based, and involves government farming input support to peasant farmers to boost output.


Since its adoption in Zimbabwe a few years ago, the country’s agricultural output has risen sharply and also increased rural income levels.


Speaking after talks with President Mnangagwa, the Mozambican leader said he would dispatch a team to Zimbabwe soon to work-out modalities for Pfumvudza skills and knowledge transfer.


He also mentioned his government’s willingness to host Zimbabwean farmers in Mozambique over some time to transfer the skills practically on the ground.

President Mnangagwa said Government came up with the Pfumvudza farming model not only to beat climate-induced droughts but also Western sanctions which made food imports difficult.


“Zimbabwe has been suffering from food insecurity for many years, importing food, but because of sanctions we said we must produce our food and we introduced a model of agriculture that guarantees food security at each household in the country, “he said.

“We have 3,5 million households, so we directed that each household must have adequate food at the household level with a surplus so that they can send their children to school, we call it Pfumvudza, Intwasa.”


President Mnangagwa said the Government had now turned similar attention to wheat production, to end costly imports from uncertain source markets such as Ukraine.


“My brother (President Nyusi) asked when we met to say Mozambique would be willing to have farmers from Zimbabwe to come, they will give us land and do agriculture there over several years so that Mozambican farmers will learn these skills and models we are using so that we transfer the skills that we now have,” he said.

Tanzania: New Cassava Varieties Attract More Farmers.

Following the mobilization of farmers through farming training on a firm field grown with eight improved cassava varieties at Kiwalala Ward of Mtama District, farmers in the Lindi region plan to embark on cassava farming businesses to generate more profit.

At the training, the farmers studied the quality characteristics of the improved cassava varieties that have been developed by the Tanzania Agricultural Research Insitute (TARI) Naliendele Centre. 

“Based on what I have learned on this firm field training, I have decided to embark on cassava farming businesses as from the next farming season”, Bendita Mkanga said, a farmer at Mtama District. The farmer further said the improved cassava varieties grown at the field were of high quality than the old local variety widely used in the area.

“We have seen that the improved cassava varieties mature quickly, they yield more and they are not easily attacked by diseases”, she said. Mkanga and the rest of the farmers in the area have been growing cassava without profit due to inadequate use of farm technologies and best farming techniques.

Sinde Kirumbe a farmer at Kiwalala Ward in Mtama said “Most of us farmers used old local varieties that are of low quality and easily attacked by pests and diseases”. Through the farming training, the farmers were encouraged to use the improved cassava planting materials, using good agricultural practices to increase production.

However, the farmers asked TARI Naliendele to provide them with planting materials and conduct more training on modern farming technologies to help them improve production. “We sincerely call on the agriculture researchers to provide us with quick accessibility and availability of improved planting materials for not to be able to improve production”, Bakari Namkunda, a farmer in Mtama beckoned.

Mr. Festo Masisila, Agriculture Researcher with TARI Naliendele said the improved planting materials can be obtained from TARI Naliendele and other centers country-wide. asides from the institute centers, he said the seed could be obtained from certified and approved seed producers in Southern Zone.

Mr. Masisila said the TARI Naliendele has developed over eight improved cassava varieties suitable for cassava farming in the Southern Zone area, which includes Ruvuma, Lindi, and Mtwara. He mentioned some of the improved cassava varieties such as TARICASS1, TARICASS 2, Kiroba, and Chereko.

The farmers were urged to use the improved varieties in order to increase production as the improved cassava varieties yield an average of 10% compared to the old local varieties. 

Meanwhile, the National Cassava Development Strategy (NCDS) 2020-2030 calls for the facilitation of improved technologies to boost cassava production and increase production from 8.3 million tonnes per hectare to 24 million tonnes by 2030.

AfDB Grants $11.7m to Fertilizers for African Farmers.

  • The fund will make it easier for smallholder farmers to acquire inputs and extension services.

The African Fertilizer Financing Mechanism (AFFM) will receive $11.7 million from the African Development Bank (AfDB) board for operations in 2023.

The Facility will receive an additional $16.4 million thanks to the decision, which will increase its 2023 budget. However, the AFDB statement notes that it also includes $4.7 million that was carried over from the prior year.

Through loan guarantee initiatives and capacity building for farmers and input distributors, AFFM will make it easier for smallholder farmers to acquire inputs and extension services in order to boost agricultural productivity and improve soil conditions. The statement also reveals AFFM’s goals for 2023, which include implementing trade credit guarantee programs worth $9.7 million in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Mozambique.

However, if the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) honors its $15 million promise to it, three further new initiatives might be started in Senegal, Zambia, and Ghana, according to the announcement.

The national food and agriculture pacts that the leaders of the continent will deliver at the Feed Africa Summit in Dakar in January 2023 will be actively developed by AFFM in collaboration with African nations and other important stakeholders.

The African Union founded the African Fertilizer Financing Mechanism (AFFM) in Abuja in 2006. This organization is renowned for its vital work in resolving food crises and different risks to food security brought on by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, climate change, conflict, locust infestation, and illness.

The AFDB’s annual meetings in 2023 will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh from May 22 to May 26, and they are noteworthy because they will focus on cutting-edge strategies to increase private sector financing for climate action on the African continent.

Nigerian Chef Breaks Guinness World Record.

It has once again been proven that when Africans set their minds to do something, it takes almost the end of the world to stop them.


Hilda Baci, a Nigerian chef from Akwa Ibom State, took up a challenge recently to beat the Guinness World Record for the longest cooking time. The previous title holder, Lata London cooked for 87 hours, and 45 minutes.

The Nigerian-born chef decided to break the long-standing record and also set her record; she planned to cook for 96 hours. This feat titled “the Hilda Baci Cook-a-thon” started on Thursday, 11th of May, and ended on Monday, 15th of May.

According to the chef, she has always been infatuated with the world record since childhood. In a bid to fulfill her childhood dream, she has meticulously prepared herself; worked with a nutritionist to create a diet that will accommodate the challenge as she only gets 2 hours to herself in 24 hours. Prior to the cook-a-Thon, she carried out a 24-hours dry run. She admitted that even though she was the one cooking during the 24-hour dry-run, her team gave her all the help she needed, she also noted that she cooked for six hours and was taking 30 minutes break.


For this cook-a-thon, Hilda created a menu of up to a hundred local dishes to be cooked over the hours. The dishes she created, were shared freely with those that came to show their support. She had a very strong support system that kept encouraging her to go on even when she felt so tired; her mother and her right-hand person Chef Sunny were seen comforting her on so many occasions.

At 4:00 pm on Monday, Hilda Bacci set a record for the longest cooking time by 96 hours, but this beautiful woman did not stop there, she went on to cook for 100 hours and extra forty minutes. This has shown how ferocious Africans can be when they set their minds to getting things done.


This, however, was not the only thing that could be taken from this event. It also showed how Africans support their own as numerous people, including celebrities, turned up at the venue, staying with her from sundown to sun up, singing, and cheering her on. Those who were not within the city cheered her online, she became an internet sensation and the most talked about topic.

Congratulations to Chef Hilda Bacci, this will be a hard record to beat.

Nigerian Chef Attempts to Break Guiness World Record.

Chef Hilda Baci has begun her quest to break the Guinness World Record for the longest cooking time.

The cook’s 97-hour “cook-a-thon” began on Thursday at Amore Garden, Lekki, Lagos and would end on May 14. It is open to guests’ participation.

Born Hilda Bassey Effiong, the chef will make over 250 recipes.

Big Brother Naija star Elozonam was among those who made their way to the venue on the opening day.

The current record for the world’s longest cooking marathon is held by Lata Tondon, who spent 87 hours, 45 minutes, and 00 seconds cooking in Rewa, India, in 2019.

At a press briefing weeks ago, Hilda Baci said she became “infatuated with the world record” since childhood.

The Akwa-Ibom-born chef attempted a 24-hour cooking marathon to prepare for the world record title.

“We had a successful dry run. I say we because it was a collective effort of everyone. I may have been the one doing the cooking but there were so many people standing. So many people did not sleep,” she said.

“During the 24-hour dry-run, I did six hours and rested for 30 minutes.

“I also tried not to drink too much water so as not to go to the toilet. We are working with a nutritionist that is adjusting my diet, such that my bio movement is at bay.

“That is more likely what I am going to do.

“Just as the name implies, ‘Longest cooking marathon by an individual’, I will have to be cooking for an extended period. But Guinness has been so magnanimous to give me five minutes of every completed hour. I can choose to accumulate that break or take the break as it comes.

“I am attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the longest cooking time by an individual.

“If you ask me five years ago when I had this idea, I would have said it’s because of fame. I was highly infatuated with the Guinness World Record.”


Lesotho Launches Program to End Malnutrition.

  • Lesotho has made plans for the use of 18.8 million dollars towards ending malnutrition.
  • The policy direction would target pregnant women, children under the age of five, adolescents, and patients.

Lesotho has committed 18.8 million dollars towards ending malnutrition, with adolescent girls being the main focus of the program.

The southern African kingdom with a population of 2.3 million people received a 22 million loan from the World Bank and a 4.4 million-dollar co-financing grant from the Power of Nutrition for the program.

Both monies are for the Lesotho Nutrition and Health System Strengthening Project, which aims to implement the National Food and Nutrition Strategy.

“Some of the money will be used to purchase equipment for food production, while some will go to national campaigns and nutrition education, which will be driven by nutritionists, nutrition clubs, and village health workers,” said Mokhothu Makhalanyane, the chair of the National Assembly’s Social Cluster.

“All national nutrition-related issues will be integrated into health, education, and agriculture.”


Makhalanyane added that the policy direction would target pregnant women, children under the age of five, adolescents, and patients.

The project will also involve strengthening community-based nutrition service delivery in districts with high stunting rates.


It will target nutrition-specific interventions, including adolescent and maternal dietary supplementation, treatment of severe acute malnutrition, and disease prevention and management.

In Lesotho’s National Strategic Development Plan II, which ends this year, King Leslie III urged the government to work towards reducing poverty, hunger, and malnutrition.

King Letsie III is the African Union Champion for Nutrition, Food, and Agriculture and a Special Ambassador on Nutrition and Human Capital Champion of the World Bank.

Makhalanyane stressed that nutrition clubs in villages and schools will provide education about nutrition and assist people to get into small-scale agriculture as a measure to address malnutrition at household levels.

“The issue of malnutrition is complicated. To get it right, all children need to access nutritious food in schools through school-feeding programs. We are trying but the money is inadequate thus the school feeding programs are implemented under very limited budgets,” he said.

“At the moment, a child gets a meal that costs 19 cents but each one of them is supposed to get a meal that costs 33 cents. This happens because we cannot afford the nutritious food that is required.”


To ensure that the money is properly utilized, Makhalanyane said the Social Cluster will track the progress of different projects.

“The monitoring would look at the number of people reached and the spending. There is a team with officials from the Office of the Prime Minister and the ministries of Agriculture, Education, and Health tasked with doing the monitoring,” he said.


According to the 2022 Global Nutrition Report, Lesotho is on course to meet the targets for the Maternal, Infant, and Young Child Feeding Nutrition (MIYCN) campaign.

The report indicates that Lesotho has made progress towards achieving the target for stunting, but 34.6 percent of children under five are still affected, which is higher than the 30.7 percent average for Africa.


“Lesotho is on course for the target for wasting, with 2.1 percent of children under the age of five affected, which is lower than the 6 percent average for Africa,” read part of the report.

“The prevalence of overweight children aged below five is 6.6 percent and Lesotho is on course to prevent the figure from increasing.”


The report showed that no progress has been made toward achieving the target of reducing anemia among women of reproductive age, with 27.9 percent of women aged between 15 and 49 years now affected.

“Meanwhile, there has also been no progress towards achieving the low birth weight target, with 14.6 percent of infants having low weight at birth,” the report read and indicated that Lesotho had shown limited progress towards achieving the diet-related non-communicable disease (NCD) targets.

Four districts have been targeted to benefit from the World Bank-financed Lesotho Nutrition and Health System Strengthening project.

Thaba-Tseka, Quthing, Mohale’s Hoek, and Botha-Bothe districts have produced “concerning statistics on malnutrition and teenage pregnancy,” according to Lisebo Seheri, a nutritionist from the Ministry of Health. 

“According to the Lesotho Demographic Health Survey (LDHS) and the 2018 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, the four districts have higher cases of teenage pregnancies compared to the other six districts, hence the focus,” Seheri said.

The adolescent birth rate in Lesotho is reported to be high at 94 per 1000 girls aged between 15 and 19 years, according to the 2003-2018 statistics.

The LDHS reports that teenage pregnancies were high among girls from rural areas and poorer families.


“We are working closely with adolescent health programs at community health centers, and the project is expected to end in five years,” Seheri added.

The project includes interventions aimed at improving overall fetal and child nutrition and development.

According to Dr. Richard Pendame, the regional director of Nutrition International, adolescent nutrition is important because malnutrition is a public health concern that affects over 56 million adolescents living in the East, Central, and South Africa Health Committee (EACS-HC) states.

He indicated that nearly 50 percent of adolescents in the ECSA-HC states are stunted, while approximately 30 percent of adolescent girls are anemic.

“Improved nutrition during the adolescent period is critical because it translates to better school performance, improved productivity and in turn leads to better opportunities in adulthood, high economic development, lower maternal mobility and mortality and lower cost of maternal healthcare,” he said, pointing out that adolescents in the region have previously been neglected.


Libya: Winners of Japanese and Norwegian International Olive Oil Competitions Honored.

  • The Libyans that won the Japanese and Norwegian International olive oil competitions are being honored by their leader.
  • The National Program for Small and Medium Enterprises supports emerging business owners through training programs for emerging business owners in the field of olive oil cultivation.

The Libyans won the Japanese and Norwegian International olive oil competitions and they were honored by their leaders for their victory.

The ceremony took place at the Ministry of Economy and Trade and it was headed by Mohamed Hwej, and Abdel Nasser Abu Zagia, in the presence of the Minister of Finance, Khaled Al-Mabrouk, and the Director General of the Libyan Export Promotion Centre (LEPC), Mohamed Al-Deeb.

The winners of the Japanese competition (JOOP 2023), Jalal Al-Lamushi, who won gold, and Abdul Rahman Al-Aswad and Yunis Gadmour, who won silver medals were the ones that were honored. Khaled Al-Amin had won gold at the Scandinavia competition in Norway. 

Speaking exclusively to Libya Herald in April, Al-Lamushi had complained that he had received no support from the Libyan government. At yesterday’s ceremony, the Director of the LEPC pledged to pay the participation fees for the winners in these two competitions.

Commenting on the meeting, the Director General of the National Program for Small and Medium Enterprises, Abdel Nasser Abu Zagia, stated that this meeting came to support local olive oil producers and encourage the possibility of establishing transformational industries with the support of the state and financing institutions.

He emphasized the support of the National Program for Small and Medium Enterprises through training programs for emerging business owners in the field of olive oil cultivation. This is to increase the quantities of the Libyan product and introduce it in the relevant international forums.

Abu Zagia added that the Ministry of Economy stressed, through its minister, the need to support such initiatives and to prepare all means to enable olive oil producers to participate in upcoming international participation. It will also motivate farmers to expand the cultivation of olive trees, especially local varieties of high productivity and quality, and to open training centers to train farmers and owners of presses on how to raise the quality of olive oil production and multiply it.

Abu Zagia pledged to support all initiatives related to the production of olive oil and any local agricultural products that can be exported abroad, including dates, by holding training courses on everything related to agricultural products, from planting to harvesting to packaging and ending with selling and exporting.

In conclusion, a team was formed to work on developing a program to support the production of olive oil and issue recommendations in this regard.

Morocco: Ministry Forecasts Increase in Cereal Production

Morocco’s Ministry of Agriculture released a statement that cereal production is projected to increase by 62% in 2023 compared to the previous year. Cereal production is expected to reach approximately 55.1 million quintals for the 2022/2023 agriculture campaign, up from the 34 million quintals in the previous agriculture campaign.

Soft wheat production is also expected to make up 29.8 million quintals of the overall volume of cereal production in 2023 according to the statement in the harvest break down, in comparison, durum wheat is set to reach 11.8 million quintals, and barley 13.5 million quintals.

The ministry expects four regions to account for 83% of national production on the regional distribution of the harvest; Fez-Meknes with 27.1%, Rabat-Sale-Kenitra with 26.5%, Grand Casablanca-Settat with 16.%, and Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima 12.4%. 

In view of the current progress of the agriculture campaign’s development, the statement noted that the early months were characterized by harsh weather conditions, particularly between September and November 2022, which caused a delay in the sowing of autumn crops. However, with a total of 207 millimeters of rain, 13% more than the previous year’s total of 184 millimeters, rainfall has also greatly increased from last year, although the nation’s annual rainfall is 36% below the previous average of 322 millimeters.

The Ministry further explained that the “favorable conditions relatively better than those that prevailed in 2022 have allowed a good flowering announcing a predictable return to normal production of citrus and olive”. It also noted that the exceptionally favorable climatic conditions in the southern Atlas also indicate an early campaign date from last year”.

It also disclosed that the livestock sector has improved remarkably from last year because of the improvement in weather conditions and the implementation of a program launched in March 2022 to reduce the impact of drought on producers.

According to the ministry, the vegetable market has struck a balance between satisfying domestic needs and exports after a cold snap in particular that undermined tomato production. 

Rwanda, Serbia Agree to Boost Trade Ties.

In accordance with an agreement deal between Rwanda and Serbia, Rwanda will purchase wheat and maize from Serbia while sending coffee and tea to the Balkan country. This agreement aims to improve bilateral relations and economic cooperation between the two countries.

Serbia is the seventh-largest exporter of maize in the world and one of the top producers of cereals including wheat and maize, with annual production reaching up to 8.1 million tonnes. In the meantime, Rwanda’s booming coffee and tea industries stand to gain from the agreement.

The minister of Internal and External Trade of Serbia, Tomislav Momirovic, announced during a three-day visit to Rwanda, where he met with Rwandan Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente and other government representatives to talk about measures to improve the current relations between both countries.

Manasseh Nshuti, the Minister of State in Charge of East African Community at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, noted that Rwanda can trade with Serbia in various goods, including wheat and maize, as Serbia is a big producer in that area.

He pointed out that the agreement would benefit Rwandans “For instance for wheat and maize, they have enough for domestic consumption, and we can buy at affordable rates”. The agreement is made at a time when Rwanda is looking for alternate sources to purchase wheat due to the disruption of the world market brought on by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as 64% of Rwanda’s wheat imports from Russia were made before the war.

In addition to the trade agreement, the two countries want to deepen their cooperation in other sectors, including technology, as Rwanda is also considering sending students to Serbia to study cutting-edge technology.

Lesotho: Prime Minister Commemorates National Tree Planting Day

During National Tree Planting Day which is usually held annually on March 21 to fight land degradation and improve the wild environment, Lesotho Prime Minister, Mr. Samuel Ntsokoane Matekane preceded the planting of 6000 indigenous trees at Thaba-Chitja in Thabana-Morena on Friday.




During the commemoration of the Nation Tree Planting Day, Mr. Matekane, addressing residents of the community said trees are essential for various activities to people thus the need to plant them in great numbers across the country.




According to him, planting trees will help address the issue of high temperatures brought on by climate change by, among other things, giving shade to the herders and children as they travel from their houses to various locations. He urged members of the community to work with the local authority in the area to protect the trees since they are the first people to benefit after three years of maturity.




Giving his remark on the occasion, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s office, Mr. Limpho Tau appreciated members of the community for taking part in planting trees, noting that they are taking up the responsibility for protecting the environment while at the same time enhancing community livelihoods.




In order for the country to serve as a source of fruits for the global market, Mr. Tau recommended that fruit trees be planted in all open spaces, especially throughout the nation. This is in contrast to the existing scenario where trees are only sporadically planted, he added. According to the minister, if the nation can plant more trees, it will be able to create a variety of goods, including paper and timber for creating furniture and wood, and cease importing unnecessary wood products.




Also speaking, Mr. Selibe Mochoboroane Health Minister for Thabana-Morena said through the production of fruit trees, unemployed community members will get jobs near homes while at the same time producing food for consumption. He stated that trees are essential for the survival of both human beings and livestock since they provide oxygen.




Olive, Beefwood, and grass trees are a few of the planted trees.



  • Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services is now targeting to reach self-sustenance in food production through maximum utilization of its farms.
  • This information came out during a field day held at Ridigita prison farm yesterday.
  • Minister Munzverengwi said agriculture is important to humanity as it provides food and serves as the foundation of all other industries.

Prisons are correctional facilities, which means criminals are sent there to correct certain characteristics, and this does not inadvertently mean maltreatment. Most correctional facilities do not actively impact their inmates and also provide them with the worst standard of living.

However, the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services is now targeting to reach self-sustenance in food production through maximum utilization of its farms.

By implication of this, the inmates will not be malnourished, they will channel their energy into doing something impactful, and they will also learn the act of farming, as well as feel productive. They will also produce their own food thereby relying less on the government.

This information came out during a field day held at Ridigita prison farm yesterday, where Minister of Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Mashonaland East, Hon. Apollonia Munzverengwi was the guest of honor.

Minister Munzverengwi said agriculture is important to humanity as it provides food and serves as the foundation of all other industries.

Ridigita farm planted 10oha of commercial maize, 10ha of cowpeas, and 20ha of sunflower.


Zimbabwean women make money making more room for mushrooms.


  • “Nature alone is antique, and the oldest art a mushroom”, says Thomas Carlyle.
  • These arty yet nourishing fungi are found in generous quantities in Zimbabwe.
  • Separating the edible ones from the poisonous ones is a vital skill.


In Zimbabwe, a group of women defy the odds in their search for mushrooms. A rich source of antioxidants, protein, and fiber, wild mushrooms have become a cherished delicacy as well as an income source in Zimbabwe, and these native women who are armed with the skill to tell edible and poisonous mushrooms apart, in wee hours, dutifully collect just enough mushrooms to push out for sale. These women, when they have gathered the mushrooms in marketable numbers, run to meet trucks on the Harare-Bulawayo highway hoping to persuade drivers to buy beautiful wild mushrooms from their harvest.




The native women painstakingly scan through the land, identifying what type is good enough for their target market. But they must do so before sunrise because landowners may not be so welcoming. Diana Chiwara, a native mushroom picker said “this is the bush where we pick mushrooms, we wake up early morning around past 3 am and walk deep into this bush. We can’t come late in the day because it’s restricted to be in this place. The owners of this place don’t always allow people to come and pick mushrooms here. So, we come early and will be hiding from them, so that by the time it’s lunch time we are already leaving.”


Chiwara’s trip before dawn to the forest is just the first of several steps in the day-long process. She moves from the bush to a busy highway. She tidies up the mushroom, cleaning and scrapping where necessary, using a knife, then she joins the strong struggle involving other mushroom sellers; she is in competition, eager to entice passing motorists. Knowing what mushrooms to sell is a vital skill for this trade as several thousands of varieties exist.



Not all the varieties are safe for use. While some are quite good for food like shitake, portobello, and the more popular ones sold in supermarkets, several other wild mushrooms can be gravely poisonous, causing stomach upset or other allergic reactions that could cause harm to the body. Expert knowledge as well as some trainings are necessary to learn which ones are edible. People who do not have the training are not to try picking mushrooms for human consumption. So, mothers in this African nation, who have been drilled on the fields and have also received handed-down trainings, pass down the requisite expert knowledge and training needed to their daughters, and the chain goes on.



One of the natives, Polite Mugobo, on her way out to collect mushrooms with her husband and son, spoke about mushroom picking, she says ‘’sometimes we meet thugs, and they steal everything from us. Sometimes the farm owners chase us from their land. So, we try to do this while hiding, it’s tough. We also have to be careful so that we don’t get attacked by dangerous wild animals.”  This family rakes through the land, defying the early morning dew, a task bigger than faint hearts. They screen litters of dry leaves and look under trees for shoot-ups. They gather enough, clean them up, and arrange them for sale. We sell this mushroom for US$1 a bowl like this during the rainy season. Our customers regularly stop on highway to buy mushrooms. On a good day or during the weekend we go home with about US $20 – $15 each,” Mugobo said.




An associate professor of horticulture at the Marondera University of Agricultural Science and Technology, Wonder Ngezimana, while speaking about the mushroom trade said that women like Mugobo are foremost players in Zimbabwe’s mushroom trade, “Predominantly women have been gatherers and they normally go with their daughters. They transfer the indigenous knowledge from one generation to the other,” she says. According to a research by Ngezimana and some of her colleagues at the university in 2021, about one in four women who search for wild mushrooms usually go with their daughters, save for “just few cases”  where the boys came along. About 1.4% of the boys follow their mothers to pick mushrooms, “mothers were better knowledgeable of wild edible mushrooms compared to their counterparts – fathers,” the researchers theorized.



The researchers conducted an interview with about a hundred people and meticulously observed mushroom collection in the district of Binga, western Zimbabwe, where Zimbabwe’s staple food, maize, suffers from droughts and poor land quality making it quite unviable in the district. So mushroom season is vital for the native families. According to the research, averagely, each family makes just above $100 a month selling wild mushrooms, even as they rely on the fruitful fungi for their own domestic subsistence. Though mushrooms are fast becoming key to household use, authorities routinely advise the people on the dangers of eating wild mushrooms.


In order to encourage safe mushroom consumption and income generation all year round, the government is backing small-scale profitable production of select types healthy for consumption like the oyster mushrooms. But the popularity of the varieties of wild mushroom are not waning at all.


Couscous is a traditional North African dish of small steamed granules of rolled semolina that is mostly served with a stew spooned on top or a range of ingredients depending on region and individual tastes. It is a main dish throughout the Maghrebi cuisines of Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania, Morocco, and Libya. In 2020 UNESCO added couscous to its Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

Chefs in Libya held a massive cooking competition featuring the country’s most popular dish couscous, at the historic Roman theater of Sabratha west of Tripoli. This was done in an effort to gain international recognition for their country’s beloved dish which is a main course in most homes in Libya.

An enormous inflatable swimming pool-sized platter of couscous, the chefs combined 2,400 kilograms of semolina with mutton, pumpkin, and caramelized onions which are the signature touch of the Libyan couscous. Spectators watched the four-meter (13-foot) diameter semolina dish take shape. A spectator Ahlam Fakhri said, “it is part of our identity, our culture, our heritage and we are proud of it”.

Couscous is often identified with Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia, as Libya is yet to ratify the UN’s cultural heritage agreement, and UNESCO has not acknowledged its couscous legacy.

Ali Messaoud Al Ftimi is the organiser of the giant couscous cook-up. He usually hosts similar events every year at various historical sites in a bid to send “a message to parliament” that Libya should have its couscous recognized as well. He is also the head of an association that encourages tourism and preserves Libya’s heritage. 

He told AFP that the efforts come from “a popular impulse” and he hopes lawmakers will ratify the international UN convention “in the near future”. Al Ftimi explained that “adhering to this convention will not only preserve couscous but also culture. Libya is rich in culture and this heritage is not protected”.

“A designation does not mean ownership or exclusivity to a country”, according to UNESCO there is no barrier to Libya ratifying the convention on cultural heritage and later adding its name to its couscous dossier.

According to Monira Zwait, a chef in Tripoli, she hopes that authorities will achieve the goal. “Couscous is not just a dish that we eat, it is the mirror of a civilization and a knowledge transmitted from generation to generation”, Zwait said.


  • A lecturer of  Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the Department of Biochemistry at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria has created and patented an insect control technology.
  • This lecturer has been involved in a number of national and international projects on Agricultural Biotechnology.
  • His invention saves farmers from crop wastage and consequently the country from losing a great chunk of its potential food produce to insects.


A lecturer of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the Department of Biochemistry at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria, Dr. Abdulrazak B. Ibrahim has created and patented an insect control technology, that helps farmers protect their plants from white flies destruction.


Dr. Abdulrazak holds a Doctorate degree from the Universidade de Brasilia, Brazil, where he pioneered the use of Transgenic and RNA Interference Technology for the control of insects using lettuce and soybean in the EMBRAPA Center for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology.


Dr. Abdulrazak has served in many institutions in Africa and South America as an Agricultural Biotechnologist, from where he gained experience and skills in a multidimensional approach to scientific capacity and institutional evolution of developing countries. 


He is also involved in a number of national and international projects on Agricultural Biotechnology. He also attended a number of workshops, conferences, and seminars. He has published 16 research articles in journals and contributed as author/co-author. Dr. Abdulrazak received honors including Best Graduating Student in Biochemistry, Bayero University Kano, Brazilian Fellowship for Postgraduate Studies from CAPES, and Patent Application for the control of whitefly using RNAi technology, EMBRAPA, UnB, Brazil.


Dr. Abdulrazak admitted that he got his inspiration to delve into science, technology, and innovation pathways fields of Knowledge from Obafemi Awolowo University’s Professor Funso Sonaiya. The academic he met in the year 2000 inspired him to pursue a career in biotechnology.


His invention was patented with deposits at the Brazilian Industrial Property Organization. This invention saves farmers from crop wastage and consequently the country from losing a great chunk of its potential food produce to insects.

KENYA: Youth Engage in Drone Technology to Boost Food Security.

  • Youth participate in the KDBC training programme which is aimed at fostering and developing entrepreneurial skills.

New technologies have been invented where drones are employed in agri-business for mapping, surveying, and even spraying pesticides on crops as a way to increase food security in Kenya. This new technology aims to foster innovation and develop entrepreneurial skills among youths in Kenya. 


Youths in Kenya participated in the Kenyan Drone Business Competition (KDBC), and 10 finalists engaged in a live-drone-flying demonstration and were opportune to interact with international industry experts and drone pilots at Drone Spavce Training Airfield, Sigoni.


There were 122 applicants for the competition from 24 countries but were cut down to 25 through age selection of the age bracket 18-25. The 25 were engaged virtually for five days. It was from the 25 that the 10 finalists were selected, which was based on the best ideas on technology in Agriculture.


The Kenyan Drone Business Competition (KDBC) is a training programme that seeks to develop the entrepreneurial spirit and inventiveness of Kenya-based young technology entrepreneurs with a focus on drones. The programme also aims at building capacity and creating a platform for accessing STEM resources significant to the development of agricultural inputs in the economy.


The programme is funded by the US Embassy in Nairobi, and according to Bridget Koenig, Public Diplomacy Officer at the United States Embassy, the Embassy is very keen on food security and its reason for funding the competition is to ensure connectivity and collaboration with experts who are determined in solving the numerous problem facing farming by means of agric-technology.

She also pointed out that food security is a huge challenge, stating that the technology will help them acquire skills to come out with solutions to address food security.


Collaboration between the Global Air Drone Academy (GADA), Dronector Academy, KCAA, Skydio, Drone Deploy, and Kenya Labs in organizing the KDBC will also help solve some of the enormous problems affecting food security via technology. It also places emphasis on the level of attention given to the agricultural sector.


The three top winners who emerged from the competition received drones, with the first winner earning Sh2.5 million. The best finalist was also offered free training by Dronector Academy.

CEO and Co-founder of Global Air Drone Academy (GADA), Eno Umoh encouraged farmers to embrace technology, making mapping and surveying farms easier.

TUNISIA: Culinary Route of Sfax Olive Oil Initiative Launched


  • The project is aimed at diversifying the travel options provided in the area.
  • It is part of the Sustainable Tourism Promotion project.



Under the project “Tounes Wijhatouna,” sponsored by the German cooperation GIZ up to TND 153 thousand, the Tunisia Olive Association organized an information day on the launch of the Culinary Route of Sfax Olive Oil initiative.



The culinary route of Sfax olive oil was launched in 2020 in partnership with the European Union and the Association Tunisia Olive with the intention of diversifying the travel options provided in the area, according to Neziha Karati Kammoun, project director and vice president of the Association Tunisia Olive.



According to Association President Faouzi, the establishment of the culinary route project will take place over a 10-month period with the goal of promoting the tangible and intangible cultural legacy of olive oil and the Sfax region’s culinary traditions based on olive oil. He added that the route will also exhibit the handicrafts related to the olive tree and its wood, making it the first of its kind.



The Culinary Route Sfax Olive Oil is also part of the Sustainable Tourism Promotion project which is a partnered effort of the European Union and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development under the ‘Tounes Wijhetouna’ programme. The programme was implemented by the GIZ Tunisia in collaboration with the Tunisian Ministry of Tourism.



Through immersive culinary experiences, the Sustainable Tourism Promotion project aims to introduce travelers to various regions of the nation through flagship products like cheese, harissa, olive oil, or dates.



  • GB Foods is a leading food manufacturing company and has commissioned a $5 million state-of-the-art canning factory.
  •  It aims to reduce the number of raw materials imported for production.

GB Foods, a prominent food manufacturing firm and producer of Ghana’s famous Gino and Pomo range of goods, has expanded its production line by commissioning a state-of-the-art tomato canning factory in Tema. Constructed at a total cost of $ 5 million, the state-of-the-art tomato canning is aimed at lowering the number of raw materials imported in manufacturing the company’s products, consequently creating additional employment possibilities for Ghanaians.


The company is committed to investing in Africa and Ghana, according to Artur Carrula, President of Agrolimen, the parent company of GBFoods, who announced the commissioning of the production line.

“With the support of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Ministry of Trade and Industry, we are working to identify locations for two adjacent farmlands of 7,000 acres each on which we will construct two industrial farms each with an integrated factory to process tomatoes. We will sell in Ghana and also export to other African countries taking advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement”. He continued by saying “we believe that after these two projects are finished, GBFoods would have invested over $70 million in investments, create over 5,000 employment, and generate FX for Ghana,”


General Manager for GB Foods Ghana, David Kofi Afflu, stated that the company would keep making investments and contributing to the growth of Ghana’s economy. “Apart from the tomato processing line, this state-of-the-art facility also has a curry processing line. We believe in Ghana and remain committed to driving investments to grow our footprint in the county. Today’s commissioning is a demonstration of our deep level of commitment to this cause and we shall not relent on this effort”, he stated


President Nana Akufo-Addo, who attended the event as the Special Guest of Honor, expressed confidence in the new GBFoods tomato canning line and promised cooperation from the federal government. “GBFoods has kept its promise to the people of Ghana to offer wholesome goods. I’m delighted to see this expansion initiative,” he continued.


In conclusion, GB Foods pledged to create the favorable conditions necessary to support the effort to combat food security. GB Foods is a brand of Gallina Blanca, created in 1937 in Barcelona. GB Foods is present in more than 50 countries in Europe and Africa with a turnover of almost 1.3 billion euros and a network of staff of about 3,600. It is present in African countries including Nigeria, Algeria, and Senegal among others.


Pascual and Refriango begin milk production in Angola

  • Spanish company Pascual partners with Angolan beverage manufacturer, Refriango to open a new milk processing plant in Luanda.
  • The new plant will reduce Angola’s dependence on imported milk products.

After more than 25 years of exporting yogurt to Angola, Pascual begins milk production in Angola for the first time. Spain-based dairy company, Pascual has partnered with Refriango Angolan beverage manufacturer to open a new milk processing plant in Luanda, Angola’s capital city.  The milk processing plant will have the capacity to process 20,000 litres of milk per hour and also meet the increasingly high demand for dairy products in the country.

Established in 1992, Refriango is a company that specializes in the marketing and distribution of food and beverages that was formerly known as Acorango. Its first soft drinks production plant was opened in 2005 and currently has 15 drinks brands. Refriango has one of the largest production plants in Africa.

The Spanish-based company, in 1969 Pascual was founded by a Spanish businessman Tomas Pascual after whom the company was named. Its initial product specialization was heated milk and dairy which later included juices in the 1990s and ventured into the catering segment in 2010. For more than 25 years, Pascual yogurt brands have been in Angola, and it’s quite popular among children and teenagers. Through the partnership with Refriango, the company hopes to foster its own position in Angola.

With its new milk manufacturing and marketing operations in Angola, the Spanish company is looking at a turnover of 100 million euros within the period of five years, as the company stated in February 2022 that Angola accounts for almost 15% of its international business and was anticipated to reach a turnover amount of 25 million euros. The company boasts of a “market share of over 50%” in long-life yogurt in Angola, and its plans to amplify its turnover in Angola by twelvefold by 2028.

In Angola, the importation of milk products makes up 90% of the demand, however, there has been recent growth in the domestic dairy sector, from 198,000 metric tons of milk in 2010 to 220,000 in 2020. The new processing plant will help lighten Angola’s dependence on imported milk products. It will also revivify the local supply of dairy products which was originally processing five million litres of milk annually. The plant will supply other Southern African Development Community (SADC) member countries with powdered and ultra-high temperature treated (UHT) milk.

Pascual international director, Tomas Melendez said “our ambition is to ensure that the country is capable of self-sufficiency, without depending on imports, with nutritious products of the highest quality and generating employment throughout the region”. Also speaking on the partnership, CEO of Refriango Diogo Caldas said, “it is a great privilege for Refriango to partner with Pascual to develop the dairy sector in Angola”.

Kenya leads world tea production, exportation.

  • Because tea is in high demand globally, efforts are being made by primary growers of the product to double up on production.
  • Africa is at the fore front of tea production and export globally.
  • Kenya, though not necessarily a major consumer, has sustained its position as a leading grower of different types of tea in the world.
  • Other than water, tea follows as a highly consumed beverage; next to China and India, Kenya is big on the global tea production stage.


Next to water, tea is the world’s most consumed drink; this accounts for its high demand across the world, and Kenya has stood tall as the only African country to be listed in the top ten tea manufacturing countries worldwide, and the biggest global exporter of black tea particularly.


Tea has remained a major cash crop grown in Kenya and has been a leading source of foreign exchange earnings for the country. Regarding cultivation of the leaves, Kenya produced over 400 thousand tons of tea in 2022 thanks to the estimated 500,000 small-scale Kenyan farmers that grow tea across the country on approximately 236,000 hectares of land. The country’s regions that are famous for tea distribution include the Nyambene Hills, Kericho region, and Nandi. Many teas are produced in Asia and being the birthplace of the product, it is understandable that China sits on the very top of the ladder as the leader of the industry, in terms of production and even consumption. However, the input, innovation, and significant contribution of this younger participant in the industry, Kenya, has quickly earned it a spot as the largest exporter of black tea in the world.


Although Kenya is in Africa, its location close to the equator positions it for sufficient sunlight and ideal conditions to grow the plants. Other environmental factors, including high elevation in the mountains and an excessively rich volcanic soil, have made it favorable for the plants to thrive. This has subsequently enabled tea farmers in Kenya to grow an immense amount of the product and harvest some of the best teas the world has reckoned with. Kenya produces a lot of black tea and several other types of teas including green tea, yellow tea, and white tea grown on request by key tea producers, but one unique tea native to the country is the Kenyan Purple Tea. Purple leaf tea was developed in Kenya about 25 years ago. It is called the purple leaf tea because of its signature purple and healthy-looking leaves with high levels of antioxidants. It is believed to contain even more age-defying antioxidants than the green tea with potentials to curb cancer and other ailments.


This unique-tasting tea carries quite a smooth tang; rather than having a grassy taste, it has more of melon and honey flavors. Many also love and prefer the purple tea because it is low on caffeine, so it works well for a quick afternoon shot of antioxidant.  Tea lovers have found that adding some lemon juice to purple tea changes its color to peach or even gold. China produces about 2,400,000 tons of tea yearly, this puts the country on the number one spot among biggest producers, exporters, and, to some extent, consumers of tea in the world. It exports 40% of the total tea in world. India is popular for being the second highest tea producing country in the world accounting for about 1,250,000 tons annually.


Kenya got acquainted with tea in 1903, it became a profit-oriented venture in 1924 when Malcom Bell stepped in for the company Brooke Bond, and it has been a key stapple in the African country ever since. The annual tea production in Kenya exceeds 500,000 tons, this makes it the third biggest producers globally; and number one producer of black tea globally. In Mombasa, a coastal city in southeastern Kenya along the Indian Ocean, tea is sold through automated public auction for an international community. In October 2011, tea was averagely actioned at $3.22 per kilogram.


  • African countries are bringing up programs to mitigate the food crisis.
  • Egypt aims to produce 70% of local wheat by 2030.
  • Plans to acquire more silos for storage.

Global factors like climate change in Africa, inflation worldwide, and a surge in global food prices have caused devastating global ripples, indirectly leading to the food crisis. So many African countries are now working so hard to mitigate the food crisis problem by creating some agricultural programs.

In this same vein, Egypt now aims to produce 70% of local wheat by 2030. According to the director of the field crops research institute, Reda Mohamed, they have succeeded in increasing the land cultivated with wheat to 3,650,00 Feddans in 2023, with an annual increase of 250,000 Feddans to raise productivity gradually between 65% to 70% by 2030. He continued, “it is targeted this year to reach about four million Feddans with a total productivity of 12 million tons, which achieves 55 percent of consumption locally.” he added to his remarks that this came in light of the expansion of land reclamation through giant national projects in eastern Owainat, Toshka and the future of Egypt. In addition to maximizing productivity by developing new seed varieties capable of adapting to modern irrigation methods and climatic conditions, the statement added. These projects also aim to increase the number of pilot fields to 7000 fields in all villages to educate farmers about proper agricultural practices.

The limitation of this program is the shortage of arable land and water so Egypt is looking to tighten up the storage and logistics links in its grain supply chain to reduce import costs. To compensate for this limitation, they are also stepping up measures to ensure that the maximum possible of each harvest reaches the mills safely and in good condition; It is believed that much of the loss from wastage as a result of losses while in store will be prevented by upgrading the network of silos across the country and planned improvements to logistics services.

There is already a plan put in place to acquire more silos to improve the preservation of the wheat set to be produced locally.


  • Increase in the production of wheat locally is in line with the president’s desire to increase the production of strategic crops.

According to Reda Mohamed, Director of the Field Crops Research Institute and Head of the National Campaign to Preserve Wheat, Egypt was successful in growing the land farmed with wheat to 3,650,000 feddans in 2023, with an increase of 250,000 feddans every year.


Mohamed pointed out that this is consistent with President Abdel Fattah El-desire Sisi’s to increase the production of strategic crops, particularly wheat.


Given that production is gradually raised to meet 65-70% of our demands by 2030, Mohamed stated in televised statements that output is “planned to reach roughly 4 million feddans with a total productivity of 12 million tons, which achieves 55% of consumption locally” this year.


Mohamed claims that in addition to maximizing productivity by creating new seed varieties capable of adapting to contemporary irrigation techniques and climatic conditions and increasing the number of pilot fields to 7000 fields in all villages to educate farmers about proper agricultural practices, this is accomplished by expanding land reclamation through the massive national projects in eastern Owainat, Toshka, and the future of Egypt.


Supply and Internal Trade’s Minister Ali el Moselhi stated that the Egypt’s strategic wheat reserve is sufficient for 4.6 months, noting that the supply of local wheat will begin in mid-April with a target of 4 million tons.


In addition, the Egyptian General Authority for Supply Commodities, announced that there will be arrival 240,000 tons of Russian wheat that was purchased in an international tender between April 1 and 15.


The Egyptian authority added that the World Bank funded the purchase at the price of $317.50 per ton, including cost and freight, as the shipment is expected to arrive Egypt during the holy month of Ramadan.


GMOs are genetically modified organisms, this is the altering of the genomes of plants or animals to produce a desired result. It is mostly used in agriculture and the benefits of this engineering are increased crop yields, reduced costs for food or drug production, reduced need for pesticides, enhanced nutrient composition and food quality, resistance to pests and disease, greater food security, and medical benefits to the world’s growing population.

On Wednesday, some Kenyan scientists, science students, and farmers that grow genetically modified cotton took to the streets in Nairobi in a show of support for GMOs in Kenya.

The procession was a peaceful one, it started at Jevanjee Gardens on Moi Avenue across the Central Business District and ended at Memorial Park on Haille Selasie Road.

The aim of this procession was to draw attention to the important role of science and specifically GMOs in addressing the chronic food crisis in the country. They also emphasized their support for the Government’s decision to lift the decades-long ban on the importation, sale, and consumption of GMOs.

The procession was performed under the umbrella of RePlanet Africa, a communication and training outfit that seeks to improve public understanding of science.

During his address at the end of the procession, the RePlanet Africa Country representative, Timothy Machi said “As a country, we are at a place where feeding ourselves is increasingly becoming difficult.” He painted a gloomy picture of the food situation in Kenya and the region. He said statistics from the World Food Programme (WFP), Machi noted that in 2021, an estimated 2.1 million Kenyans faced the risk of starvation. Still, the number rose by 84 percent to 4.4 million between October and December of 2022.

He blamed the worsening food crisis in the region on climate change that resulted in three seasons of failed rains, rapid population growth, and underperforming food systems.

“At RePlanet Africa, we know the answer to these challenges lies with science. That is why today, we are happy to have brought together the different stakeholders among them scientists, academia, and farmers to ask Kenyans, leaders, and policymakers to listen to and give science a chance to feed Kenyans through GMOs,” he said. He also added, “GMOs are an important tool in the fight against hunger and poverty, and we are proud to be taking a stand in support of their use and to support the government in lifting a ban on the importation and consumption of GMOs in Kenya.”

The scientists affirmed that GMOs had been proven safe and effective in providing a sustainable and reliable food source for the world’s growing population.

Kennedy Oyugi, an agricultural scientist based at Africa Harvest, said GMOs as products of science, have the potential to revolutionize the way Kenya produces food, making it more efficient and sustainable to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.

Speaking on behalf of science students from different universities in Kenya, Peter Gichuki, a Livestock Production student at the University of Nairobi said several tests by organizations including the National Bio-Safety Authority found GMOs safe for human consumption.

The group carried banners and placards that bore messages about GMOs being safe for human consumption.


Illovo Sugar Malawi Plc is Africa’s leading and diversified sugar group. They are an agri-business that specializes in growing sugar and making sugar-related products.

The outbreak of Covid-19 crippled some businesses and others are still struggling to get on their feet. Illovo Sugar has started rising from the rut covid-19 placed on companies.

On Tuesday, 7th of February, Illovo Sugar announced their company had made a net profit of K26.6 billion in the 2022 financial year. The announcement was made during the company’s investor forum at Sunbird Mount Soche Hotels. Illovo Sugar Managing Director, Lekhani Katandula also declared K14.9 billion as a dividend.

The company’s revenue increased by 14% from 163 billion in 2021 to K187 billion in 2022 with net debt reduced by 153% from K9.9 billion to K5.3 billion while free cash flow increased from K25.7 billion to K34.9 billion which represents a 36% increase.

They faced so many challenges but responded to them squarely; they ran efficient forms of irrigation, a program called Agricultural yield recovery, and updated pest and disease control strategy and cost rationalization to mitigate revenue losses. There was also an enhanced quality focus to reduce bulk sugar production in favor of higher margin sugars and initiated energy projects by reducing demand and increasing generation and power supply.

Their product is affordable for low-income earners and is also one way of enhancing hygiene.


The Government of Guinea-Bissau has recently renewed its partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme, launching a new five-year Country Strategic Plan to achieve food security and improved nutrition.



The new strategic plan focuses on helping rural communities to build resilience to climate change and strengthen livelihoods while supporting the government’s effort to establish the building blocks of a social protection system that is inclusive, nutrition-sensitive, and climate shock-responsive.




According to the 2022 Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative Country Index, Guinea-Bissau is the third most vulnerable country in the world to climate change. Climate shocks have a negative impact on the networks that produce, transform, and deliver food to consumers. 




Joao Manja, the WFP’s Country Director in Guinea-Bissau said, “The Government of Guinea Bissau has made commendable progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, WFP is committed to continuing to support government efforts and forming partnerships to help vulnerable Bissau-Guineans gain access to nutritious food, become more resilient to climate shocks, and tackle poverty and hunger.”



The partners will implement a set of integrated activities to help reduce malnutrition, and they will increase access to education. Working with national NGOs and local communities, they will support and purchase beans and tubers from smallholder farmers to feed school children, stimulating the local agricultural process.



The strategic plan is aligned with the government’s National Development Plan (2020-2023) and the National Strategy for Development, Employment, and Industrial Promotion 2020-2024 also known as “Hora Tchiga”. WFP’s plan also aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework for Guinea-Bissau 2023-2027.



The Country Strategic Plan for Guinea-Bissau was approved in November 2022 by WFP Executive Board in Rome, Italy, and came into effect in January 2023. It has been developed in consultation with the government and other key stakeholders.



The second Africa food summit in Senegal ended on Friday, 27th of January with the development partners agreeing to commit $30 billion to back the continent’s resolve to boost agricultural productivity and become a bread basket for the world.

The African Development Bank plans to contribute $10 billion over a period of 5 years and the Islamic Development Bank plans to provide $5 billion.

Under the theme “Feed Africa; food sovereignty and resilience”, the Dakar 2 Summit adopted a declaration on the implementation of the Summit’s resolution to be submitted to the African Union.

Organized by the Senegalese government and the African Development Bank, the Summit gathered dozens of dignitaries, which included 34 heads of state and government, 70 government ministers, and development partners, to work tirelessly on compacts that would transform agriculture across Africa. The President of Ireland Michael D Higgins attended all three days of the summit.

African Development Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina talked about how the continent and its partners are determined to see results and that implementation is critical to boosting food production and feeding Africa. “With strong collective determination and resolve, we will work in coordination and partnerships to help countries to deliver success,” he affirmed.

Adesina said that Dakar 2 Summit would be remembered as a key moment in Africa’s ability to feed itself and achieve food self-sufficiency and food sovereignty: “We leave with a determination and resolve to feed Africa. With hands together and in locked steps, we will reach our destination: An Africa that finally feeds itself. An Africa that develops with pride.” 

In the Dakar Declaration, the leaders agreed to allocate at least 10% of public expenditure to increase funding for agriculture. They also agreed to deploy grand production packages to boost productivity and increase resilience to achieve food security and self-sufficiency.

The president of the Islamic Development Bank, Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, delivered a statement pledging continued support to boost food production in Africa. Canada and Germany also made commitments to support the Feed Africa agenda.



Lesotho plans to increase fruit production and this will be achieved through the Lesotho Competitiveness and Financial Inclusion project in collaboration with Lesotho National Farmers’ Association equipping farmers with skills.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry, Business Development, and Tourism Senior Public Relations Officer, Ms. Mantletse Maile indicated that they intend to train farmers so they can have skills to meet the needs of Basotho by ensuring that they make fruits available to stop importing them and grow the economy of Lesotho.

She also talked about the funds that will be available to respond to the requirements of farmers and therefore increase fruit production in the country. There will also be an event to be held in Hlotse, this event is expected to attract farmers’ representatives.

During the training, they will have a tour of Mahobong Fruit Production Farms where farmers will learn more about the experiences of those who produce fruits.

In 2022, there was a World Bank program aimed at strengthening the country’s private sector through high-value, high-potential value chains like nature-based tourism and horticulture with a focus on deciduous fruit production. Lesotho Apple growers exported about 30 bins of apples; 90,000 0f Top Red and Golden Delicious apples to South Africa which happened to be the product of this program. This program first started in 2006 and has sold locally to Shoprite, Game, and Pick n’ Pay stores. It is usually sponsored by the government of Lesotho and the World Bank.



There has been a long-standing debate between the West African nations, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal about who has the origin of Jollof rice. This dish is a West African cuisine made of rice and fish, spiced with vegetables and tomatoes.


UNESCO has officially recognized Senegal as the origin of Jollof rice. Senegalese Jollof rice is also known as Ceebu jen. Research from Conversation Africa showed that the origins of Jollof rice can be traced to the entrenchment of colonial rule in West Africa between 1860 and 1940. During this period, the French colonizers replaced food crops with broken rice imported from Indochina. Meanwhile, broken rice became more priced for the Senegalese than a whole rice grain, which birth the dish called Ceebu jën.


It has been recognized as an intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO. It is a source of pride and cultural identity for the Senegalese.


For the Senegalese, Jollof rice is also linked to a particular way of life, and consumption is connected to ceremonial events.


The Ceebu jen recognition by UNESCO has put an end to the ongoing debate over its origins and solidified Senegal’s claim as the true home of Jollof rice.


This certification is expected to positively impact the economy, particularly in tourism, agriculture, fishing, and catering.



The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, who was accompanied by the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu inaugurated the 32-metric tonnes per hour Lagos Rice Mill in Imota, Lagos state on Monday.


The Lagos Rice Mill is the largest rice mill in Sub-Saharan Africa and the fourth largest in the world. It sits on an area of 8.5 hectares of land with an annual paddy requirement of 240,000 metric tonnes to produce 2.5 million of 50kg bags per annum.


Babajide Sanwo-Olu was commended by the president for the State Government revolution in the agriculture sector, mainly in rice production.


The president and the Governor, in the company of Ms. Abisola Olusanya the commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Oluwarotimi Fashola, Special Adviser to the Gov. on Rice Mill Initiative, and other dignitaries who were present took a tour around the facility and the warehouse where the rice production is being carried.


After the president saw the rice pyramid and the bagging process of rice production which is the sealing, he said he was amazed by what he saw at the rice mill.


Sanwo-Olu said while addressing people after the inauguration that the Lagos Rice Mill will create nearly 250,000 direct and indirect jobs in the country, as he expressed his gratitude to everyone who waited patiently and the local community of Imota, Ikorodu. 


He said that the rice which is called Eko Rice is the best in town now and is proudly Nigeria. 


He assured the president of Lagos state’s readiness to support Nigeria’s rice revolution and food revolution.