• Over 45 countries renewed their commitment to globally eradicate, by 2030, peste des petits ruminants (PPR), a highly contagious and devastating disease responsible for the death of millions of sheep and goats each year. At the same time, countries urged resource partners and the development community to contribute in bridging the PPR Global Eradication Programme’s $340 million funding gap.

  • BERLIN, GERMANY — Significantly affected by a severe drought, Germany is expected to sharply increase imports of soybeans and soybean meal and to become a net grain importer in the coming months, according to a Sept. 24 Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  • This summer’s drought has led to a significant drop of total E.U. cereal production, estimated at 8% below the last five-year average. This is just one of the findings of the latest short-term outlook report, published on Oct. 3  by the European Commission.

  • The Republic of South Africa (SA) and the European Union (EU) engaged in a dialogue on soil information between 10 February 2018 and 23 October 2018. The dialogue was conducted within the SA-EU Strategic Partnership and supported by the SA-EU Dialogue Facility.

  • A U.K.-based fruit supplier says that the end of the Peruvian avocado season in Europe will lead to improved market conditions, following a protracted period of oversupply and low prices.

  • The French motorways have been blocked by demonstrators delaying deliveries. In Spain, there is currently a predominance of small sizes and the rising competition from Turkey is taking a toll. 

  • The European Union and FAO along with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Program (WFP) signed US $14m deal in a bid to tackle global food security. The agreements were finalized by EU Commissioner in charge of International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, and FAO Director-General, Jose Graziano da Silva.

  • South Africa has a slim window to benefit from the European market before litchis from Madagascar arrive. The first litchis from Malelane are flown to Europe where France, in particular, through its long association with Indian Ocean islands, loves the fruit.

  •  A group of European researchers have found that current breeding programs and cultivar selection practices in Europe do not provide the needed resilience to climate change.

  • U.S. soybean and soybean meal exports to Europe and the Middle East/North Africa during the market year that began Sept. 1 are up 243% and 105%, respectively, according to the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC).

  • When Henk Blok outlines the regions where he has worked over the past 40 years, you would never guess that his adult life has been spent farming. From the US to the former East Germany, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Austria, Mr Blok was a man on the move as he pursued his chosen career. A native of the Netherlands, he now owns and runs a 140-cow dairy farm with his wife in Germany’s Rhineland.

    Mr Blok did not grow up in a family of farmers, much less inherit a farm of his own, and so had to jump from farm to farm as he was entering this line of work.

    He was keen, but he is aware of farming’s limited appeal to younger generations.

    “If you show your kids that this is all work and not much fun, why should they take over this job?” he says. “I see people quitting all the time. Most of them, their sons and daughters are not interested in the business.”

    At one time, he even had a business that offered vacation cover to farmers although he stopped the service several years ago, however, partly in order to devote more time to buying his own farm.

    He is not alone in noting farming’s declining appeal to younger people — a problem the EU is looking to address through policy initiatives.

    In a 2013 EU public consultation, respondents named “ageing and succession” as one of the three main challenges to family farming. The other two were the burden of dealing with red tape, and striking adequate commercial terms with larger trading partners such as supermarket chains.

    Family farming represents the bulk of European agriculture. According to 2013 EU statistics, farms on which only family members work, or where they make up more than half the labour force, accounted for more than 95 per cent of the number of holdings and more than 65 per cent of utilised agricultural land.

  • Sorry to burst your bubbly, prosecco lovers, but skyrocketing demand for the sparkling wine might be sapping northeastern Italy’s vineyards of precious soil — 400 million kilograms of it per year, researchers report in a stud.

    That’s a lot of soil, but not an anomaly. Some newer vineyards in Germany, for example, have higher rates of soil loss, says Jesús Rodrigo Comino, a geographer at the Institute of Geomorphology and Soils in Málaga, Spain, who was not involved in the study. And soil erosion isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it can help generate new soils to keep an ecosystem healthy.

    But the amount of erosion from Italy’s high-quality prosecco vineyards is not sustainable, he says. Letting too much earth wash away with rain and irrigation could jeopardize the future of the region’s vineyards, which produce 90 million bottles of high-quality prosecco every year.  

    Concerned that the recent bottle boom was taxing the local environment, a team led by researchers from the University of Padua in Italy calculated the “soil footprint” for high-quality prosecco. It found the industry was responsible for 74 percent of the region’s total soil erosion, by studying 10 years-worth of data for rainfall, land use and soil characteristics, as well as high-resolution topographic maps.

    The team then compared their soil erosion results with average annual prosecco sales to estimate the annual soil footprint per bottle: about 4.4 kilograms, roughly the mass of two Chihuahuas.

    Prosecco vineyards could reduce their soil loss, the scientists say. One solution — leaving grass between vineyard rows — would cut total erosion in half, simulations show. Other strategies could include planting hedges around vineyards or vegetation by rivers and streams to prevent soil from washing away.

    Comino agrees, saying: “Only the application of nature-based solutions will be able to reduce or solve the problem.”

  • South Africa is the most popular hunting destination on the continent. The wealth of species on offer, the wide range of hunting experiences, overall affordability and fantastic infrastructure all contribute to a world-class African hunting destination.

  • The 2019 Alltech Global Feed Survey, released Jan. 29, estimates that international feed production has increased by a strong 3% to a record 1.103 billion tonnes in 2018, exceeding 1 billion tonnes for the third consecutive year.

  • 2018 was an ‘on year’ for the avocado. The UK and Europe alone consumed over 650 million kilos of avocados and the European avocado market remains one of the fastest growing markets worldwide.

  •  Bayer said that farmers in France and Germany were digging up thousands of hectares of rapeseed fields after traces of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) banned for cultivation were found in seeds sold by the company.

  •  Food companies doing business in Africa risk becoming bogged down in decades-long legal disputes over land that could cost tens of millions of dollars, according to a report released on Monday.

  • The Netherlands most important buyer
    South Africa is an important player on the global market of fresh fruit. Fresh vegetables hardly play a part in the export. In the past year, South Africa exported approximately 3.6 million tonnes of fresh fruit, valued at 2.7 billion euro.

  • Insects, diseases and weeds are a farmer’s worst nightmare — pests cause severe crop damage and jeopardize harvests.

  • Europe is moving closer to self-sufficiency in pears and one encounters European pears in an increasing array of places, like the Middle East or the Far East, say South African pear traders.