Malawi capacitates US$95m agricultural commercialization project

MALAWI – Malawi government has launched a six-year Agricultural Commercialization project (AGCOM) with support from the World Bank of USD 95 million loan facility aimed at supporting 650,000 farming households to venture into commercial farming of food crops shifting focus from tobacco farming. Tobacco industry, the country’s main cash crop accounting for 13% of its gross domestic product and 60% of its foreign exchange earnings has been dwindling due to anti-tobacco campaigns. This has led the government set up the AGCOM project to better farmers livelihoods. The project focuses on…

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Kenyan scientists push for the adoption of GM technology

KENYA – The ban of Genetically Modified (GM) technology imposed in the country since 2012 and lack of approvals by the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) has been the biggest obstacle to food sustainability, scientists say. Scientists have for the past ten years been carrying out successful Confined Field Trials (CFT) for the BT (Bacillus thuringiensi) maize in the country at the Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KARLO). But they have been facing hurdles of lack of approval of the successful trials by the government agency NEMA for the…

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Spur set for share buy back from GPI and Treasury

SOUTH AFRICA – Grand Parade Investments (GPI), a South African restaurant and gaming group has entered into agreement with Spur Corporation to sell its 10% stake, back to the steakhouse company reducing its shareholding from 17.5 percent. GPI had acquired 10.8 million shares, equivalent to 10% stake from Spur in 2014 for US$20.92 million (R294.7m) in a deal that included a five-year “lock-in period” to end October 2019. According to the agreement Spur will repurchase the 10.85 million ordinary shares for R24 a share amounting to a total of US$18.49…

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Rhodes Food reports single digit growth in turnover amid challenging environment

SOUTH AFRICA – Rhodes Food Group, a South Africa-based producer of fresh, frozen and long-life convenience meal solutions reported 8.8% growth in turnover for its African operations during the 10 months ended July 2019. The company, whose brands include Rhodes, Bull Brand, Magpie, Squish, Bisto, Hinds and Pakco supplies customers and consumers across South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and in major global markets. South Africa and rest of Africa segment, which accounts for 81% of the firm’s 2018 turnover, experienced weak macroeconomic and consumer environment. In comparison to the previous years,…

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Ghana’s Niche Confectionery secures US$8.82m financing to expand production capabilities

GHANA – Niche Confectionery Ltd, a chocolate manufacturer and subsidiary of Niche Cocoa Ltd Ghana has signed a US$8.82 million financing agreement with The Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO) to support expansion of its cocoa processing capabilities. With the credit facility, Niche will purchase manufacturing equipment which allows the manufacturer to produce confectionery such as chocolate spreads, ready-to-drink chocolate milk, and chocolate bars.  Niche seeks to channel to market the products in the regional market, accelerating the company’s ambition of becoming Africa’s leading bean-to-bar producer. Edmund Poku, Chief Executive Officer…

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Zimbabwe imports 17,000 tonnes of maize from Tanzania to ease shortage

ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe has commenced importation of 17,000 tonnes of maize from Tanzania to alleviate food shortages brought about by the El-Nino-induced drought compounded by Cyclone Idai which hit Zimbabwe in March, destroying many crops ravaging the country. The maize importation agreement follows the commitment made by Tanzania’s head of state, President John Magufuli to his Zimbabwean counterpart, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, during his recent official visit in Harare. According to President Magufuli, Tanzania has a total of 3.3 million tonnes in surplus of the commodity following the recent bumper harvest…

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Ghana’s cocoa regulator secures US$1.3bn loan to finance cocoa purchasing

GHANA – The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has secured US$1.3 billion from a consortium of 24 International French banks to aid in financing the purchase of cocoa in the 2019/2020 crop season. Sources at COCOBOB say the Board secured an extra US$200 million from some of the financing banks which is above the US$1.3 billion under the main syndication for which it also obtained legislative approval. The financing was led by Natixis Bank, MUFG Bank Limited, Rabobank Group, Nedbank, Societe Generale and the Ghana International Bank. The Chief Executive Officer…

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Ghana’s export authority embarks on efforts to boost fruits sector

GHANA-The Ghana Exports Promotion Authority (GEPA) distributed 11.3 million suckers to pineapple exporters and out-growers to promote the quality and quantity of pineapples exported from the country They gave out different variety of suckers i.e. MD2, Smooth cayenne and Sugar loaf supplied based on applications that were made by the various companies and farmers reports GNA. Food processing company such as Ekumfi Fruits and Juices Limited, Able Farms and Lovely Farms were among the companies who received the suckers as they engage in value addition of the crop. “At GEPA,…

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SA Innovation Summit awards the Winetech Pitching Den top three winners

The South Africa Innovation Summit in partnership with wine industry body, Winetech awarded the finalist of the Winetech Pitching Den competition whose aim was to search for innovators, providing unique solutions and products which can be commercialized to wine producers and the Agri-tech industries. The competition was focusing on the following areas: – climate change, water reclamation and resourcing, genetics and AI innovations which increase efficiency, profitability and environmental sustainability. The top 15 competitors delivered their pitches at the 2019 SA Innovation Summit on Thursday 12 September 2019 who were assessed…

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Guinness Nigeria launches new Guinness Smooth Stout

NIGERIA – Guinness Nigeria Plc a subsidiary of Diageo Plc, has launched Guinness Smooth stout into the market, a new addition to its portfolio. Made from hops and roasted barley with a touch of local flavours, the company describes the drink as a blend of bitter and sweet taste. It has 5% ABV.  “Guinness Smooth is a perfect partner for spicy foods and BBQ. The smooth refreshing taste balances the spicy heat, while the distinctive characterful flavour ensures Guinness Smooth is a beer that doesn’t get overshadowed by the food.”…

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