USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub attended an awareness-raising workshop convened by the Zambia Seed Trade Association (ZASTA) to inform key personnel in seed companies of the harmonized seed regulations and measures in the SADC Region and to encourage participants to implement the regulations. The workshop was designed to simplify the information available in order to increase participation and regional seed release registration on the SADC Seed Center Catalogue, which is being supported by the Trade Hub.
In coordination with INVC and Universal Industries, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub held two one-day workshops in Blantyre and Lilongwe to showcase “Blue Box” technology as a way of controlling aflatoxin levels in stored groundnuts and other cereals. The Blue Box is a precision tool kit, composed of sampling and testing instruments as well as chemicals, that provides on the spot quality control to monitor crop or grain condition. It can be used both in the field and in storage facilities at any level and comes with full service backup and training.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub visited four Strategic Partnership Grant activity sites in Malawi last week to benchmark the status of grant implementation, address potential hurdles, and highlight successes realized thus far. The grants are leveraging the skills, knowledge, and technology of South African partners to address agricultural issues in Malawi related to aflatoxin and groundnut processing, crop resiliency, malnutrition decrease, and post-harvest loss.
Last week the USAID Southern Africa Trade Hub grants team visited four Strategic Partnership Grant (SPG) activity sites in Mozambique, including Intertek, Cargill, ETG, and Solidaridad.
USAID Southern Africa Director of the Regional Economic Growth Office, Mark Wilt and Bill Benjamin, USAID’s Feed the Future Coordinator and Agriculture Team Leader toured the Cargill facility in Catandica, Mozambique, which is being upgraded through a Strategic Partnership Grant.
As part of the Southern Africa Trade Hub’s Strategic Partnership Grant to restore soil composition and fertility and livelihood enhancement through crop rotation in Manica Province, Mozambique, the Trade Hub hosted a four-day Gender Training Workshop for farmers engaged in grant implementation. The training took place in Chimoio, Mozambique May 4-7 and was attended by leader farmers and seed multipliers coming from four districts in Manica Province.
The Southern Africa Trade Hub is providing support for the integration of gender specific interventions into the HM Boerdery Strategic Partnership Grant in Malawi. The first phase was a gender analysis that took place took place April 24-30. On April 24 the Trade Hub attended a marketing field day organized by the Agricultural Commodity Exchange (ACE) for Africa and held at the NASFAM (National Association of Smallholder Farmers) offices in Lilongwe South. The event highlighted the agricultural marketing approaches that ACE uses and the benefits that farmers can derive from them.
Working closely with local stakeholders in Mozambique, the Southern Africa Trade Hub launched the first phase of field extension training on the Warehouse Receipts System in Chimoio. Warehouse managers from Strategic Partnership Grantees ETG and Cargill, financiers from local banks Banco Oportunidade de Mozambique (BOM) and Banco Tierra, and local extension agents participated in the training on the IT system, which was held at Cargill’s warehouse facility.
The Southern Africa Trade Hub, in conjunction with its bilateral USAID partner project INVC (Integrating Nutrition in Value Chains), hosted a pair of two-day training workshops in Malawi for over 100 participants drawn from processors, traders, farmers unions, and farmer leaders on aflatoxin management and removal in groundnuts for trade and processing.
The Southern Africa Trade Hub, through its Strategic Partnership grantee Solidaridad, sponsored a training session in Chimoio, Mozambique from April 23-24 for field extension workers on gender integration in the soy and groundnut value chains. The grant is designed to restore soil composition and fertility and livelihood enhancement through crop rotation. Participants took part in the training from multiple organizations, including the private sector (OLAM), the public sector, and NGOs Solidaridad and the Farmers’ Association.
The Trade Hub is providing support for the integration of gender specific interventions into the HM Boerdery Strategic Partnership Grant, which focuses on groundnut value chain development in Malawi. It is estimated that 7,000 smallholder groundnut producers in Malawi (60% of whom are women) will benefit from the grant, which is creating farmer trainers to disseminate knowledge on aflatoxin control. As part of the grant, the groundnut sorting and grading facilities of the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM) will be upgraded, enabling small-scale groundnut farmers to achieve higher prices for their product.
From April 17-19, the Agritech Expo in Chisamba, Zambia promoted technology and skills transfer to the regional farming community of Southern Africa. Over 10,000 small, emergent, and commercial farmers as well as members of the public attended the Expo—a 20% increase over last year’s numbers—to investigate new products, technologies, processing methods, and applications in the agriculture sector. Zambia’s Vice President Inonge Mutukwa Wina officially opened the 2015 event, stating that the Agritech Expo is a magnificent innovation exposing farmers to practical solutions.
The USAID Southern Africa Trade Hub assessed the seed industry in Mozambique during the week of April 13-17, 2015, interviewing seed industry stakeholders on the national seed regulatory environment and progress on domestication of the SADC Harmonised Seed Regulations System (HSRS). Meetings were held with both public sector and private sector representatives, including the nascent Mozambique Seed Industry Association and the Scaling Seeds and Technologies Partnership, which was jointly established by USAID and the Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
After recent success identifying Africa Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) as an entity with the ability to underwrite credit risk for the Warehouse Receipts System in Malawi, the USAID Southern Africa Trade Hub is now supporting another Feed the Future country, Mozambique, to become an ATI member country in order to take advantage of the agency’s export and investment insurance. The Trade Hub traveled to Mozambique this week to make preparations for ATI workshop training and sensitization sessions with key industry stakeholders scheduled for May 2015.
The Trade Hub has successfully identified Africa Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) as an entity with the interest and ability to underwrite credit risk for the Warehouse Receipts System (WRS) in Malawi. This initiative is poised to increase finance for grain producers, traders, and buyers in Malawi significantly.
From March 9-13, the Southern Africa Trade Hub facilitated the first ever investment mission by the Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) to Malawi in partnership with the Agricultural Commodity Exchange for Africa (ACE). AFD, an agency of the French state, is a development finance institution that provides investment, de-risking, and technical assistance in support of social and economic development across emerging markets.
As part of a $100,000 Strategic Partnership Grant, the Southern Africa Trade Hub funded seed trials and a seed registration process through Capstone Seeds SA Limited. Capstone Seeds has now successfully tested four maize hybrid seed varieties and 17 soybean seed varieties in four provinces—Maputo, Nampula, Manica, and Tete—in preparation to register the seeds in Mozambique and commercially multiply them for the local market. The activity supports increased investment and technology transfer and will increase the interregional trade of drought-tolerant maize seed.
USAID's Southern Africa Trade Hub partnered with Strategic Partnership grantee Solidaridad to deliver a four-day training in Chimoio, Mozambique to groundnut farmers at various levels of the value chain. Solidaridad received a grant of US$65,000 in 2014 to improve soil fertility in their maize and cotton fields via crop rotation with soy and groundnut.
With the support of USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub, a new hybrid maize seed well-suited to Swaziland’s farming community was introduced into the country in September 2015, demonstrating the progress that Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Member States have made harmonizing and modernizing their seed sectors.
The SA Trade Hub met with implementing partner, Banyan Global, in Washington, DC, to brainstorm and discuss a number of key ways to continue to promote gender integration across the various aspects of the program.
The Trade Hub organized a benchmarking mission from April 19-25 for five standards officers: three from the Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) and two from the Swaziland Standards Authority (SWASA). The objective of the mission, which took the officers to the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), was for the delegates to understand the effective operations of a World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) National Enquiry Point (NEP) as they work to institute NEPs in their own countries.
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