The opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party is still struggling to find its feet in spite of a series of political and economic slips by the governing All People’s Congress, which is suffering internal stress of its own. The SLPP leader, Julius Maada Bio, had been expected to do better at last year’s presidential election, when he polled only 37.4% to President Ernest Bai Koroma’s 58.7%.
Tanzania was among the first six countries to sign up to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, along with Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana and Mozambique. This year, Benin, Malawi and Niger joined up. Tanzania’s own policy Kilimo Kwanza (Transforming Agriculture) also emphasises the role of the private sector. A scheme to subsidise inputs has been largely unsuccessful in helping small farmers to turn into commercial – or at least more profitable – farmers (AC Vol 54 No 17). Now, with large swathes of prime agricultural land being bought up by both local elites and foreign investors, the question of how to integrate Tanzania’s millions of smallholder farmers into commercial farming rather than evict them from their land is ever more controversial. One response, which is claimed to accommodate both smallholders and investors, is contract-farming, sometimes called ‘out-grower schemes’.
The German firm Wilhelm Guth Ventiltechnik has been supplying components to Robert and Grace Mugabe's dairy in defiance of international sanctions. Its wholly-owned subsidiary, Guth South Africa, has been supplying Gushungo Dairy Estate. Gushungo owns Alpha Omega Dairy, which produces milk and other dairy products. The Mugabes are under European Union ‘restrictive measures’, which forbid European Union companies from doing business with individuals or entities on the list. Guth had not replied to Africa Confidential's request for a clarification by the time we went to press. Nor could the EU explain why no action had been taken.