Monthly archives: February, 2014

Namibia looks to lift restrictions on livestock movement (Namibia)

The Namibian Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry is pursuing to lift restrictions on livestock movement in the Zambezi region, if no new cases of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) are identified
According to the ministry, a total of 22,067 cattle were vaccinated against anthrax in the eastern Zambezi Region along the ChobeRiver, while five cattle died of the disease at Shaile village in December 2013, furthermore adding that a ring vaccination was implemented within a 20 km radius which saw 10,649 cattle vaccinated against anthrax.
Restrictions will be lifted on 17 February if no new cases come to light,
Acting chief veterinary officer in the directorate of veterinary services Dr Johnanes Shoopala, said disease surveillance was intensified in the region, “a total of 47 cases were detected and  action was taken in terms of the Animal Health Act No. 1 of 2011. Restrictions were also put in place on livestock movement following the discovery of FMD in the Ivilivinzi, Masikili and Ikumwe crush pen areas.  We are now busy establishing the full extent of the outbreak,” he concluded. –

One Million Tea Seedlings for Tanzanian farmers (Tanzania)

The Tanzania Small Holders Tea Development Agency (TASHTDA) is scheduled to provide one million more tea seedlings to hundreds of farmers in the Northern Tarime District of Mara Region.

New food formulation and application laboratory in Istanbul (Turkey)

BASF’s Human Nutrition business unit has opened a new Kitchen Lab in Istanbul, Turkey to offer its customers in Africa, the Middle East, and Russia (the Commonwealth of Independent States) tailor-made support for the formulation and application of food solutions.

Staple crop processing zones to increase and diversify fish production (Nigeria)

According to the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the federal government is putting policies and programmes in place to stimulate and stabilise fish production in Nigeria, in order to reduce the country’s reliance on imports.

Mobile training unit for cocoa farmers in remote areas (Côte d’Ivoire)

Barry Callebaut, a leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, launched its Cocoa Horizons Truck – a multi-purpose mobile unit with modern communication equipment powered by solar energy – at its new home base in Vridi, Abidjan, in January.

Côte d’Ivoire Experimental farm to produce 39 million highyielding coffee and cocoa plants

Nestlé has inaugurated a new 30ha experimental farm that will focus on plant science and research into nutrition, sustainable agriculture and rural development at Zambakro, 18km from Côte d’Ivoire’s capital, Yamoussoukro.

West and East Africa AFT fast tracks agricultural productivity

The African Development Bank’s Agriculture Fast Track Fund (AFT), a new multi-donor trust fund created to increase agricultural productivity and reduce poverty, recently announced the recipients of its first two project preparation grants in Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

New system boosts rice farming (Tanzania)

Farmers in the Morogoro region have adopted a new system of growing rice, the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), which enables them to grow seedlings in a non-flooded nursery.

Tiger Brands to expand East Africa operations (Kenya)

Tiger Brands is to expand its Kenya operations with a $25m acquisition of a milling and a confectionery company to benefit from East Africa’s fast-growing economy.

First carbon credits for smallscale farmers (Kenya)

A project bringing together thousands of small-scale farmers in western Kenya has become the first to earn carbon credits using a new sustainable farming accounting system, according to the World Bank.

Sustainable Vanilla Partnership (Madagascar)

Unilever, its supplier Symrise, and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), have announced a partnership to improve the livelihoods of 4,000 vanilla farmers in Madagascar’s Sava region through better access to secondary education and training in agricultural best practices via farmer field schools.

Agency offers new technology for maize production (Zambia)

Maize (corn) farming in Zambia is characterised by low productivity due to low soil fertility, drought, floods and under-usage of inputs like costly fertilizers.

National Foods reopens maize mill – Zimbabwe

National Foods has reopened its maize (corn) mill in Mutare, Zimbabwe, which had been inactive for the past six years.

South Africa US company invests in nut market

A South African peanut business has sold 80% of its assets and a 50% equity share in its pecan business to Golden Peanut Co, a subsidiary of Illinois-based Archer Daniels Midland Co.

The “greenest” house is also the cheapest

A simple construction method and clever bit of recycling is making it possible for individuals, entrepreneurs and companies to build and insulate a chill room, greenhouse, chicken battery, office or house in the cheapest way without an aircon in the middle of Africa.

Clean lighting and its impact on children

According to a recent study, the use of solar-based lighting through SunnyMoney, instead of kerosene lamps, proves beneficial to children, dealers and the broader community. The World Bank reports that Africa has the lowest electrification rate of all global regions at only 26% of households (and an even lower rate of 14.2% in rural sub-Saharan Africa).

How soil health affects food quality

With Africa constantly facing the dilemma of providing sufficient food for its ever-growing population, it is essential to produce crops that contain all of the inorganic and organic nutrients (minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, fats and vitamins), which are required by both humans and animals. Joyce Kinabo, a lecturer at the Department of Food Science and Technology at Tanzania’s Sokoine University, explains how good quality food depends on soil health and agricultural practices.

New strategies to combat micronutrient deficiencies

Globally, close to 900 million people continue to suffer from undernourishment despite various improvements and strides made in food security and nutrition outcomes. Dr Delia Rodriguez-Amaya, in her capacity as scientific adviser of the International Foundation for Science (based in Sweden) and representing the University of Campinas, Brazil, points out that the major stumbling block regarding food insecurity is that nutritional security, which forms a vital component of providing suitable food
in any developing country, is mostly overlooked.

“When speaking of food insecurity, most of the focus is on food production and not enough on food safety and nutritional security. When considering whether a household is food secure or not, it is classified into those with light insecurity (referring to food quality, including nutritional quality), those with moderate insecurity (referring to quantity) and those with serious insecurity (referring to hunger),” she says.
According to Rodriguez-Amaya, the increase in micronutrient deficiencies, also known as hidden hunger, and dietrelated chronic diseases, shows that this is a growing problem that needs to be dealt with. “Diet diversification has long been considered as a definitive solution to the problem. We have to acknowledge that micronutrient deficiencies still affect over 30% of the world’s population and cause a variety of other problems like impaired cognitive development, reduced learning abilities and ultimately increased morbidity and mortality.”
Combating strategies
Rodriguez-Amaya says there are a number of developing strategies for ensuring nutritional security:
1. Use of nutrient and bioactive compound contents as a criterion, along with yield and disease resistance, for the selection of varieties for agricultural production.
2. Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity for food and nutrition.
3. Optimisation or development of processing technologies to provide maximum retention of nutrients and bioactive compounds and utilisation of food industries’ by-products rich in these health-promoting substances.
4. Reduction of the substantial postharvest losses.
Further strategies for combating micronutrient deficiencies include the promotion of breast feeding, supplementation of high-risk groups, food fortification, biofortification and dietary diversification.
“Dietary diversification is being promoted as a definitive solution because contrary to single nutrient interventions, a varied diet provides various micronutrients and bioactive substances. It therefore provides the possibility of addressing several deficiencies as well as preventing of chronic degenerative diseases,” she explains.
Examples of dietary diversification interventions include nutritional educational programmes in and out of schools to raise awareness of micronutrients’ importance as well as small-scale production of fish, poultry and other small animals.
Positive initiative
According to Rodriguez-Amaya, one of the initiatives which has shown much promise is the HarvestPlus breeding crops for better nutrition programme. “The programme is a leader in the global effort to end hidden hunger caused by the lack of essential  vitamins and minerals in the diet, such as vitamin A, zinc, and iron.”
As a collaborator for the initiative, she explains that HarvestPlus develops nutrient-rich seeds, which grow as well, if not better, than those that farmers currently plant. “We understand how these seeds will provide better nutrition when eaten in different ways – and we promote them widely, so farmers and consumers know that that these seeds mean a healthier future for their families, communities and country.”
Between 2007 and 2009 HarvestPlus disseminated orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) seeds to more than 24,000 households in Mozambique and Uganda. Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes varieties can provide 50-100% of daily vitamin A needs. They are also said to be high yielding, virus resistant, and drought tolerant.
“The intake of OFSP among young children, older children and women increased by 66% or more in both countries when they were introduced,” says Rodriguez-Amaya. “77% of project households in Mozambique and 65% of project households in Uganda adopted OFSP, and they are doing well. So it is possible.”
Dr Delia Rodriguez-Amaya:
Harvest Plus: Tel +202-862-5600;; website:
• This article is based on Dr Rodriguez-Amaya’s presentation at the South African Association for Food Science & Technology’s Biennial International Congress and Exhibition in 2013.

How the foodbev industry can bridge the nutritional security gap in Nigeria

Ronald Olusola Olawale, a food technologist from the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology, outlines the progress made; projects implemented; and the challenges the food and beverage industry, government and scientists face in meeting the nutritional needs of Africa’s biggest population.

How to target Kenya’s seven consumer groups

Kenya’s economic growth and role as a regional financial and transportation hub in east Africa make it a prime location for investment opportunities by consumer packaged goods companies.

Propak East Africa Conference 2 April, Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

The conference, being organised by VDS Media in conjunction with Montgomery Eco East Africa, covers a cross-section of the region’s entire packaging, printing, plastics and converting industries.

Propak debuts in East Africa in April

Propak has developed into the largest expo for the food and beverage industries, pharmaceutical and cosmetic sectors, as well as the general packaging and printing industries in South Africa over the past 20 years. The concept was successfully replicated and launched in West Africa in 2012, and will debut in the East African region at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi from 1-3 April.

Expo and conferences focus on cost savings and efficiencies

Messe München International and its subsidiary MMI South Africa are hosting the inaugural Food & Drink Technology Africa trade fair and conference at the Gallagher Convention Centre, Johannesburg, on 18-19 March.

Shoprite Holdings continues to venture into Africa (Zambia)

Shoprite Holdings has confirmed that it will construct a second shopping mall that will house a Shoprite supermarket, a Hungry Lion takeaway and an OK Furniture store in Solwezi, Zambia as part of its expansion programme.