China To Lift Ban On Canadian Beef, Pork

In this file photo taken on June 26, 2019, Pigs are seen at the Meloporc farm in Saint-Thomas de Joliette, Quebec, Canada.  Sebastien St-Jean / AFP

 

China has agreed to resume imports of Canadian beef and pork, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday, signalling a breakthrough in their tense relations.

“Good news for Canadian farmers today: Canadian pork and beef exports to China will resume,” Trudeau said in a tweet.

He thanked Canada’s new ambassador to China, Dominic Barton, who was appointed in September, and the country’s meat industry for working to reopen “this important market for our meat producers and their families.”

China had blocked beef and pork shipments from Canada in June, alleging contamination and bogus documents — claims disputed by Ottawa — amid an escalating diplomatic row.

China is Canada’s third-largest market for beef and its fifth-largest for pork, according to government data.

Trade and agriculture ministers Jim Carr and Marie-Claude Bibeau said in a statement that Canada’s foreign ministry and food inspection agency “engaged with China on this issue” over the past few months.

“We will continue to work closely with beef and pork producers and processors in the coming days and weeks to ensure successful resumption of trade,” the pair said in a joint statement.

China had asked Canada in June to investigate false veterinary health certificates attached to a batch of pork, while the official Xinhua news agency said customs officials in the eastern city of Nanjing had found ractopamine in pork shipments.

The feed additive, which boosts the growth of animals, is widely used in the United States but banned in the European Union and China.

The forgery allegations — which federal police were called in to investigate — came after relations between the two nations were strained by Canada’s arrest of a senior Chinese telecoms executive and China’s detention of two Canadian nationals in apparent retaliation.

Although no official link was made, the pork ban was seen as an escalation in response to Canada’s arrest in December of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on a US extradition request related to alleged Iran sanctions violations.

Cattlemen at the time were said to have been puzzled why they were included in the ban.

“Our long-standing trade relationship with China is very important to both sides and this represents an important step for both countries,” commented Canadian Meat Council President, Chris White.

He noted that the decision comes on the eve of an industry-led mission to China to work through any lingering customs and shipping issues.

London University Bans Beef Products To Fight Climate Change

In this file photo taken on February 25, 2014 an employee prepares a hamburger at Bolt Burgers in Washington, DC, February 25, 2014. Students at London’s Goldsmiths will no longer be munching on canteen staples such as burgers and chilli after the prestigious university announced it would ban all beef products to fight climate change. PHOTO: Saul LOEB / AFP

 

Students at London’s Goldsmiths will no longer be munching on canteen staples such as burgers and chilli after the prestigious university announced it would ban all beef products to fight climate change.

Professor Frances Corner, the new head of Goldsmiths, said that she was taking the drastic action to pull beef from campus cafes and shops from next month because “declaring a climate emergency cannot be empty words”.

“Though I have only just arrived at Goldsmiths, it is immediately obvious that our staff and students care passionately about the future of our environment and that they are determined to help,” she added.

Goldsmiths hopes to become carbon neutral by 2025, and is not the first university to alter menus in a bid to reduce emissions.

Cambridge University’s catering services have not served beef or lamb since 2016.

Students at Goldsmiths will also face a 10p levy on single-use plastic items when they return after the summer break.

Climate campaigner Rosie Rogers called the move “encouraging”.

“We call on others to urgently follow suit, and to include cutting all ties from fossil fuel funding in their climate emergency response,” said the Greenpeace UK activist.

But Stuart Roberts, vice president of the National Farmers’ Union, accused the university of a “lack of understanding or recognition between British beef and beef produced elsewhere”.

“Tackling climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time but singling out one food product is clearly an overly simplistic approach,” he said.

Famous Goldsmiths alumni include artist Damien Hirst, Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen and members of British indie band Blur.

AFP

Increasing Demand For Beef Offers Rewards, Risks For Nigeria’s Pastoralists – Report

Herdsmen along with their cows wait for buyers at Kara Cattle Market in Lagos, Nigeria, on April 10, 2019. Kara cattle market, Lagos is one of the largest of West Africa receiving thousands of cows weekly due to the massive consumption of meat in Lagos area. PHOTO: LUIS TATO / AFP

 

With over 200 million people and an emerging middle class, Nigeria is witnessing a boom in demand for meat that offers potential but also risks for the semi-nomadic herders who provide most of its beef.

According to government estimates, Nigeria, consumes 360,000 tonnes of beef each year, accounting for half of all West Africa.

In per-capita terms, consumption is low compared with advanced economies, but it is growing fast, and expected to quadruple by 2050.

Today, most of the demand is met by pastoralists from the ethnic Fulani group, who follow time-honoured techniques of raising cattle, driving them south to pastures and taking them to market.

During the dry season, the herders come down from the arid Sahel to the fertile plains of central and southern Nigeria, seeking water and pasture for their livestock.

Tensions

The millennia-old activity has been thrust into the spotlight in recent years because of worsening confrontations with sedentary farmers over access to land and water.

Clashes have claimed 7,000 lives over the past five years and cost the Nigerian economy $13 billion (11.57 billion euros) annually, according to a report in May by the NGO Mercy Corps.

The friction has roots dating back more than a century. Droughts, population growth, the expansion of sedentary farming into communal areas but also poor governance have all played a role.

Such neglect has pastoralists feeling isolated, according to Ibrahim Abdullahi, secretary of Gafdan, a national union of herders.

“Nothing was done to implement the grazing reserves designed by the law in the 1960s — most of the land has been sold and is now cultivated by farmers who grow crops,” he said.

Nomadic herders also find themselves far from the channels of the meat trade, while many markets and outdoor slaughterhouses lack basic sanitary conditions, such as running water, animal shelters and cold storage rooms, he said.

“At all the levels of government, the livestock sector was always marginalised in favour of agriculture. Some states still allocate less than two percent of their budget to livestock,” he added.

Opportunity

As Nigerians clamour for meat, can this ancient practice — with its long supply chains, climate risks and social tensions — compete against sedentary farming, which has high productivity and lower risks?

Jimmy Smith, director of the Institute for International Research on Livestock Farming (ILRI), based in Nairobi, argues that the system can not only survive but also flourish — in the right conditions.

“Pastoralism has been established for millennia — in the past, we’ve seen it’s a very efficient system if you look at the input/output relationship. Very little is invested, but a reasonable amount is harvested,” he told AFP.

This model can prosper if the right support is put in place, he said.

“For example, it is possible to grow more forage and grain in sub-humid zones to create and develop feed markets for livestock-based in northern areas, where it’s dry.”

“One animal which can give two litres (3.6 pints) of milk today could give 10 litres in the future.”

The government is mulling several plans to boost cattle raising and ease tensions over access to land.

They include initiatives for the creation of “cattle colonies” — dedicated areas where pastoralists can graze their animals and have access to veterinary and other care.

But these schemes are expensive and have already drawn flak from Nigerian states, which oppose handing over land for this use.

Another idea, for encouraging ranching, is doubted by agricultural experts. They point to a long list of past failures, during the French and British colonial period, to set up high-productivity “modern farms” in West Africa.

Imports

Nigeria has considerable livestock — nearly 20 million cattle, 40 million sheep and 60 million goats — but about 30 per cent of slaughtered animals are purchased from abroad, mainly from neighbouring Cameroon, Chad, Mali and Niger.

Often the herds are driven for hundreds of kilometres (miles) to be sold at border markets like Illela, a trading post between Niger and Nigeria.

The animals are then trucked to the cities, where they are sold again, slaughtered and butchered.

“As it is now, there’s no way Nigeria can produce all the meat and the milk it needs for its growing population,” said Smith.

“A significant proportion of animal source food demand will most likely continue to be met by importation.”

Nigeria’s hunger for meat is likely to be replicated across Africa if expectations of population and income rise hold true.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates the continent will experience a doubling in consumption of beef, pork and chicken between 2015 and 2050.

With most of the meat consumed in Africa still coming from pastoralism, Smith said, “All we need is to modernise it.”

AFP

‘Stop Eating Beef, Save Millions Of Lives’

AFP Photo

 

Switching from beef to alternative proteins could save millions of lives and dramatically slash greenhouse gas emissions, the World Economic Forum said Thursday.

New research conducted by the Oxford Martin School for WEF showed that efforts to replace meat and especially beef could provide huge benefits for human health and the environment.

The organisation, famous for the plush gathering of the world’s rich, famous and influential at the luxury Swiss ski resort of Davos each January, said 2.4 percent of global diet-related deaths could be avoided by moving away from beef.

And for wealthier countries, a full five percent of such deaths could be avoided, according to the shool’s white paper “Alternative proteins”.

“The most positive effects are found in wealthier countries, where beef consumption is high and where there is a particular benefit of consuming more fibre,” it found.

The paper did not provide figures on how many people are estimated to die annually from diet-related causes, nor what diseases or conditions were included in that category, but WEF maintained that switching from meat “could prevent millions of unnecessary deaths per year.”

It also pointed out that demand for meat is projected to keep growing even as the global population is predicted to swell to 10 billion around the middle of this century.

– Not sustainable –
“It will be impossible to sustainably satisfy the world’s future demand for meat,” WEF managing director Dominic Waughray said in the statement.

He stressed that “innovation in products, improvements in how we produce beef, pork and chicken, and an effort on the part of the consumer to embrace a more diverse diet,” could make it possible to improve global health, even without giving up meat altogether.

The report analysed 13 sources of protein, including beef, pork and chicken, along with fruits and vegetables such as beans, processed non-animal substitutes like tofu, and novel products including insects.

It found that switching from meat to alternative proteins could have both a negative and a positive effect on nutrient intake, but that overall, increasing consumption of alternatives offered health improvements.

Beans, mycoprotein and peas offered the biggest health boost, with the possibility to reduce mortality rates by up to seven percent, it found.

The white paper also highlighted 2010 data showing that beef production alone accounts for a quarter of all food-related greenhouse gas emissions, stressing that soaring protein demand could put huge pressure on the environment unless alternatives are found.

Livestock farming poses a triple threat to Earth’s atmosphere, as animals produce huge amounts of the greenhouse gas methane, coupled with the loss of carbon-absorbing forests that are felled to open grazing areas.

Immense amounts of water are also needed to sustain the livestock.

“The evidence is clear, our food system needs to be transformed for the sake of our planet and the future of humankind,” WWF International head Marco Lambertini said in the WEF statement.

“We are the last generation that can do something about this before the system collapses.”

Ogun Govt. Confirms Existence Of Poisonous Ponmo In Markets

ponmoThe Ogun State Government, South West Nigeria, has confirmed the existence of toxic ponmo laced with chemicals across markets in the state, asking residents to be careful and watchful while buying the popular local relish.

According to the state’s Commissioner for Agriculture, Ronke Sokefun, due to the huge market potential of this commodity, some unscrupulous businessmen seemed to have imported the animal skins laden with tanning, biocides and fungicides into the country.

She revealed that the ponmo were made from raw hide meant for leather production and were imported from Europe and some countries like Sudan, Italy and Japan.

Although no casualty has been recorded so far, the Commissioner insisted this ponmo is not good for human consumption.

She explained that one of the notable physical features possessed by this toxic ponmo, which has found its way to various markets across the state, is that it comes with an offensive odour with abnormal thickness.

In order to mop up this dangerous ponmo and prevent further human consumption, the commissioner said that the Ogun State Government, in conjunction with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) have commenced investigation and placed trail on the importer.

She added that appropriate resources have been put in place to protect residents from falling victim.

Ponmo is a local relish made from animal skin. It is loved by many Nigerians; poor and rich despite its low nutrition value.