Morocco lifts import duties on wheat to build up stock following low production

MOROCCO – The Government of Morocco has extended the suspension of import duties on common wheat and products until May 31, 2021 in a bid to keep the cost of imports at a competitive level and build stocks. The North African country is facing historically low wheat production due to low rainfall which has made the government turn to imports to ensure supply of the commodity. The country’s cereal production for the 2019-2020 season decreased by 39% compared to the previous season reaching 3.2 million tonnes, according to a report…

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Rift valley region in Kenya undertakes dry-run of its newly built juice processing facility

KENYA – The Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA), a regional development organization in Kenya operating in the Rift Valley region has kicked started operations at the Ksh. 60 million (US$545,000) newly built mango processing factory. The facility whose construction started in 2018 has already produced 100,000 litres of ready to drink juice during its pilot processing phase, awaiting official inauguration in the months to come, reports Standard News. KVDA has distributed the new soft beverage under the brand name Tot mango juice to retail stores in Rift Valley and Western…

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Retailer Choppies to pay US$12m owed to banks and suppliers as it exits East African market

EAST AFRICA – Botswana-based retailer Choppies Enterprises Ltd is facing a US$12.4 million debt owed to banks and suppliers in Kenya and Tanzania, as the retailer prepares to exit from the East Africa region after closing down its operations in March 2020. Botswana Stock Exchange listed retailer which is also cross-listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange has discontinued operations in four countries — Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, and South Africa. It is continuing with its operations in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia. The multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer headquartered in…

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Danone to power its Spanish production plants with 100% renewable energy

SPAIN – Danone España, a subsidiary of French multinational food-products corporation Danone S.A., has signed a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with Iberdrola, a Spanish multinational electric utility company. The agreement reinforces Danone’s zero net emissions commitment for 2050 and Iberdola’s strategy for renewable project developments in Spain. Paolo Tafuri, general manager of Danone Iberia, added: “This initiative will help us turn our ambitious environmental commitments into reality – goals that form part of our global strategy and affect our entire value chain.” As part of the agreement, Iberdrola will…

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South African nutritious food maker The Harvest Table introduces new shake range for kids

SOUTH AFRICA – The Harvest Table, South African maker of pure whole and functional foods has launched a new range of shakes targeting children below 12 years of age. According to Harvest, each shake contains prebiotics, probiotics, protein, magnesium, barley grass juice, and lion’s mane mushrooms, flavoured with chocolate or blueberry. “Parents no longer have to worry about their children getting enough nutrients. This meal replacement can be prepared with three tablespoons of the shake, 250ml of water and three ice cubes, all blended and ready to be enjoyed in…

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Kenyan insurtech startup Pula clinches US$6m in Series A funding to propel expansion

KENYA – Kenyan agriculture digital-insurance startup Pula, has raised US$6 million in Series A funding round led by Pan-African early-stage venture capital firm, TLcom Capital, with participation from non-profit Women’s World Banking. The new investment will be used by the insurtech company to scale up operations in its existing 13 markets across Africa where it has insured over 4.3 million farmers. Likewise, the Kenyan startup hopes to propel its expansion for smallholder farmers in Asia and Latin America. The company has currently set base in Senegal, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Ethiopia,…

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US-based digital bakery Sugar Lab unveils new line of 3D printed chocolates

US – Los Angeles-based digital bakery Sugar Lab, in collaboration with Chef Melissa Walnock of the Culinary Institute of America, has launched a new line of 3D printed chocolate truffles and bonbons. The products specially made for the valentine period include vegan strawberry-covered chocolate truffles and broken heart truffles in tahini and ginger varieties. With flavors ranging from refined to nostalgic, the truffles can pair with a champagne cocktail, an old-fashioned, or a favorite whiskey, note Sugar Lab. The bonbons, on the other hand, are filled with chocolate ganache with…

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Tate & Lyle unveils new tapioca-based thickening and gelling starches

US — Tate & Lyle, a leading global provider of food and beverage solutions and ingredients, has expanded its portfolio of tapioca-based starches with the launch of new REZISTA® MAX thickening starches and BRIOGEL® gelling starches. In a statement, Tate & Lyle said the innovative tapioca starches will help food manufacturers deliver superior products thanks to their improved process tolerance, mouthfeel, fluidity and texture. The Ingredients supplier further noted that the new starches are suitable for use across dairy, soups, sauces and dressings, confectionery and more. “Tapioca starch provides some…

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MGP Ingredients acquires US alcohol producer Luxco in a US$475m deal

US – MGP Ingredients, a supplier of distilled spirits and specialty wheat proteins and starches, has agreed to acquire US alcohol producer and marketer Luxco and its affiliated companies in a $475 million deal. In a statement, MGP said that the acquisition – comprised of equal parts cash and stock – will increase its scale and boost its market position in the branded spirits sector. Luxco is a producer, supplier, importer and bottler of beverage alcohol products, with a portfolio of brands that includes Ezra Brooks, Daviess County, Yellowstone, El…

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Online grocery to be the next battleground for e-commerce growth in India – RedSeer

INDIA – India’s e-commerce scene has been a battle ground of sorts in the past one year, with more players than ever before entering the market and jostling for a share of the retail segment from seasoned players. As the market reaches saturation and JioMart-the latest entrant in the scene- promising a massive potential to disrupt the space, market research firm RedSeer sees the delivery of groceries online as the the next battleground for growth. “Grocery is the largest retail category. This makes it an important category for retailers and…

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