Food is the building block of our lives , despite the obvious functional essence it is at the cultural heart and emotional epicentre of how we live , interact and find pleasure each day. Our food from early times has shaped our intellect, our creativity and our ability to adapt to our environment and enables new frontiers of development. Today even more so than ever and it is fascinating to be part of it's production and growth. 

EU Commission to Vote on Ban of Organophosate Pesticides

The European Commission is set to vote on Friday (6 November) on not renewing the approval of two pesticides, chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl, which the EU’s food safety agency says may have serious effects on foetuses and children – a claim industry strongly rejects.

The two insecticides, which belong to a category of pesticides known as ‘organophosphates’ and are used on a number of crops, have faced staunch opposition from environmental and health groups, who say the agrochemicals cause major developmental issues in children.


Opportunity for SA to increase grain exports to Zimbabwe

News that Zimbabwe’s government has significantly relaxed import and pricing controls on staple foodstuffs, is an opportunity for South Africa to increase exports of maize and wheat to its neighbour, according to Grain SA.

Media reports have indicated that this decision by the Zimbabwean government was prompted by current and projected food shortages in that country.

A 2019 report on Zimbabwe by the Southern African Development Community’s Regional Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis Programme, said that the country was struggling with significantly depressed agricultural production, largely due to ongoing drought conditions in combination outbreaks of pests and diseases in both crops and livestock.

Zimbabwe’s ministry of finance had also reportedly suspended all import duties on essential foodstuffs.


FAO Declares 2020 as the UN’s International Year of Plant Health

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched on december 2nd the United Nations’ International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) for 2020, which aims to raise global awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development. 

Plants make up 80 percent of the food we eat, and produce 98 percent of the oxygen we breathe. Yet, they are under constant and increasing threat from pests and diseases.

Every year, up to 40 percent of global food crops are lost to plant pests and diseases. This leads to annual agricultural trade losses of over $220 billion, leaves millions of people facing hunger, and severely damages agriculture – the primary income source for poor rural communities.

This is why policies and actions to promote plant health are fundamental for reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.


Seed Treatments: Precise Technology Means We Can Protect Food Crops Before They Even Grow

From the remarkably wet conditions in the Midwest U.S. to the insatiable fall armyworm spreading from Africa to Asia, farmers worldwide are facing new threats to their harvests, placing unprecedented stresses on every planting season.

But precision agriculture has proven to be an increasingly valuable approach for farmers, and seed treatments are one of the finest examples of this. Seed treatments allow farmers to go one better than nipping crop threats in the bud – they can now nip them in the seed.

Such treatments offer farmers a cost-effective alternative to traditional crop protection products that are used on seedlings and plants, as only the seed is treated. This helps minimize spending and labor on inputs while protecting crops from pathogens and pests from the outset. In addition, seed treatments protect the seed from attacks by pests and disease for which there is not an alternative “rescue.”


New net solution to protect fruit from sunburn

Pome fruit producers in the Elgin, Grabouw, Vyeboom and Villiersdorp (EGVV) region lose thousands of rand annually to sunburn damage.

To reduce these losses, many farmers have started covering higher-value orchards with shade nets. However, the high cost of this is often not justified, especially for older orchards with only a few years of production left.

To help growers overcome this difficulty, crop protection company Nulandis imported Drape Net in September 2017. Unlike fixed nets, which require permanent structures, these patented nets are draped over trees like a blanket.

They are not left on the trees permanently, but used when necessary.


Botswana farmers want permanent ban of vegetable imports

A group of vegetable producers from across Botswana are calling for a permanent ban on imports of tomatoes, potatoes, cabbages, carrots, beetroot and green peppers from South Africa and other vegetable exporting countries.

The group recently approached the Botswana government to discuss the idea of a permanent ban on such imports, saying local farmers could meet national demand for these vegetables.

The farmers expressed confidence that they were ready to increase supply, but said they were unwilling to invest in expanded production because there was no guarantee that supermarkets would buy their produce.