Tag Archives: maize

Canned Food Can Offer Cheaper Nutrients

These screenshots are from a Time article on a Conference Poster on a study that evaluated the cost of nutrition sourced from fresh, dried, frozen and canned foods. You will find more information in my Google+ posts. Time article on a Conference Poster

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Poor Postharvest Practices Waste 15 000 tons of Maize in Kenya

In a time when severe food shortages are threatening sub saharan Africa, this is a read desperate story.


IRIN Africa | KENYA_ Warning over disposal of toxic maize | East Africa | Kenya | Early Warning Food Security | News Item-1.jpg

from: IRIN News
(click image for full story online)


Some 300 000 bags of aflatoxin contaminated maize are expected to be bought from farmers in Kenya. This is necessary to protect consumers from the short and longer term toxic effects of aflatoxin.

The contamination of the maize was apparently a result of insufficient drying along with poor harvesting and storage practices.

A pity that food has to go to waste when the technology to minimise the risk is simple, cheap and available, so long as on the field drying is not made impossible by the weather.


Ghanian Government Launches Composite Flours

Several articles in Ghanian newspapers refer to the 25th June launch of a composite cassava/maize flour. It is Manufactured by Women in Agriculture Development of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

The Statesman _ Business _ Cassava, maize composite flour launched.jpg

from: The Statesman
(click image for full story online)


Cassava, maize composite flour launched _ The Ghanaian Journal - News - Sports- Business - Videos - Entertainment - Profiles.jpg

from: The Ghanian Journal
(click image for full story online)


The articles tend to imply that the maize/cassava composite can be used to make bread on its own. However, any baker knows that wheat flour is necessary to make any raised bread and that only a few percent of other starch materials can be substituted for flour if the bread is not to taste different.

What I find more interesting is that this is a government initiative – do you think that such an approach has a real chance of success?

No Ethanol from Maize in South Africa!

South Africa’s new government lead the way in banning smoking in public (even the French can’t smoke in their cafe now) and seem to be making good decisions again.

Business Day - News Worth Knowing-2.jpg

from: Business Day
(click image for full story online)


Responding to the potential food and particularly maize supply problems, the Agriculture Minister Lulu Xingwana has refused to ban exports arguing that this would limit the market available to farmers and therefore constrain the expansion of production.

Minister Xingwana also restated South Africa’s position on maize for ethanol production
“Corn will not be used for biofuels because we believe it is the staple food, not only for SA, but also for many countries in Africa,” Xingwana said.

It would be interesting to hear how the government would react to ethanol from sorghum and millet proposals. It also raises the question of how the government’s strategic goal for biofuels to account for 2% of total fuel consumption by 2013. Will it mean that sugar, which is probably the most efficient route to fuel anyway, will have to contribute more or will soya and sunflower with their byproduct problems be able to offer cost effective production. The contribution of second generation (eg cellulosic ethanol and algal biodiesel) and later processes are not sufficiently far advanced to make a contribution in this small time scale.

The Biofuels Situation

Just a short comment, when the biofuels debate reaches the front page of Time magazine, it is surely significant.

TIME Magazine Cover_ The Clean Energy Myth - Apr. 7, 2008 - Energy - Oil - Global Warming.jpg

from: Time

(click image for full story online)

Although the contradictors are already at work, I feel we should all acknowledge that very massive and rapid change is happening that could have extremely serious consequences. If we do this it should be obvious that we should be striving for full and balanced understanding, rather than just promoting our particular perceptions and interests.

Remember that behind all this sits a very distorted system of politics/governance that drives subsidies and ridiculous practices such as “splash & dash” – if that doesn’t drive particular interests?

Demands for crackdown on biofuels scam | Environment | The Guardian.jpg

from: The Guardian

(click image for full story online)

Believe it or not 10% of the imports of biodiesel to Europe from USA are funded by a scheme where biodiesel exported to the US and blended with a “dash” of petrol attracts almost a dollar a gallon subsidy which makes the scheme profitable.

See an article from The Independent of almost a year ago and a blog of a day or two agofor some confirmation.

PS The Guardian story has internal links that give some simple information and great images on Biofuels.