The African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) project has stepped up efforts in cultivating and fostering the right partnerships in its cardinal aim of reducing the cassava yield gap in Africa.
The ACAI project team from inception realised the importance of partnerships, and is sparing no effort in ensuring effective collaboration among partners from the experimental phase to the development, and use of the tools that will support appropriate management of cassava to realise the crop’s fullest potential on farmers’ fields.
The project has engaged key actors in Nigeria and Tanzania ranging from farmers, researchers, extension services, development workers, processors as well as input dealers notably fertilizer manufacturing companies.
The main aim is to establish contact among relevant actors for considerations for learning and information sharing that will benefit the participating partners associated with ACAI, according to Dr. Abdulai Jalloh, ACAI Project Coordinator on Friday.
The Africa Soil Health Consortium in collaboration with the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) (partners under ACAI) is leading the engagement of key stakeholders in target countries as the project establishes cassava clusters.
Jalloh noted that even though the entry point of ACAI is to address yield gap, it is imperative for strategic considerations of the cassava value chain and inclusiveness of all concerned.
According to him, ACAI is conscious of the mistakes of past interventions where bottlenecks were considered in isolation irrespective of other existing ones and even those that could occur as a result of concentrating on only one aspect.
He emphasised that ACAI would direct efforts towards reducing the yield gap, which would eventually increase cassava production while ensuring impacts along the value chain with a view to having a sustainable improvement in cassava production, processing, and utilisation, and impact on overall economic development of individuals, communities, and countries.
Mr James Watiti of CABI who is leading the establishment of cassava value chain clusters emphasised that it was very crucial to bring all stakeholders together and hold a meaningful conversation in an open manner.
He stressed that as long as there is candid conversation among partners, issues and challenges can be addressed and synergies capitalised on.
The African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) project is a five-year project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The project is led by IITA and it seeks to increase the availability of appropriate and affordable technologies to sustainably improve short- and long-term agricultural productivity of cassava.
Oil Prices Hold Steady Ahead of Crucial OPEC+ Meeting Amidst Fed Rate Hike Signals
Oil prices maintained their significant gains as traders anticipate the outcome of a crucial OPEC+ meeting on supply while considering signals from the Federal Reserve regarding interest rate policies.
Global benchmark Brent hovered below $82 a barrel, having surged over 2% on Tuesday, while West Texas Intermediate traded under $77.
The OPEC+ meeting, scheduled for Thursday to set policies for 2024, is currently grappling with a dispute over output quotas for some African members.
The recent rise in crude prices is underpinned by a weakening dollar, with a Bloomberg gauge of the US currency reaching its lowest level since August.
Federal Reserve policymakers, including Governor Christopher Waller, have hinted at an impending pause in the series of rate hikes, contributing to the bullish sentiment in oil markets.
A softer dollar enhances the appeal of commodities for international buyers.
Yeap Jun Rong, a market strategist for IG Asia Pte in Singapore, commented on the interplay of factors, stating, “The US dollar was dragged lower on a build-up in dovish expectations, which was very much cheered on by oil prices.”
However, concerns persist about OPEC+’s ability to address the challenges in the oil market effectively.
Despite the recent gains, oil is on track for a consecutive monthly decline due to increased supply from non-OPEC countries, intensifying pressure on the cartel and its allies to consider more significant output cuts.
The International Energy Agency’s earlier assessment indicated a potential return to a global crude surplus in the coming year.
In the US, the American Petroleum Institute reported a 817,000-barrel decline in nationwide inventories last week, potentially marking the first drop in six weeks, pending confirmation from government data.
This development may add support to oil prices and impact the ongoing dynamics in the energy market.
Oil Prices Stabilize as OPEC+ Weighs Deeper Output Cuts Amid Global Supply Concerns
Market Evaluates OPEC+ Decision Amidst Bearish Sentiment and Global Supply Worries
A Relaxed Start to the Week But Much More to Come, OPEC+ Eyed
By Craig Erlam, Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA, OANDA
It’s been quite a calm start to the week which isn’t entirely surprising given the lack of events on the calendar today. That said, things are expected to pick up with the rest of the week serving up some big economic releases and a hugely important OPEC+ meeting.
All data now, particularly that of the US, is being looked at through the prism of what it will mean for the final central bank meeting of the year and the new projections it’ll be accompanied by.
Since the last meeting, the data has been encouraging and we’ll get another batch before the Fed meets on 13 December. This week we’ll get the October PCE inflation data – the Fed’s preferred measure – as well as third quarter GDP, ISM manufacturing and jobless claims.
Outside of the US, we’ll get flash HICP inflation data for the eurozone, PMIs from China, CPI figures for Australia and a rate decision from the RBNZ. On top of all that, there’s a plethora of central bank speakers making appearances which will keep us on our toes.
BoE Governor Bailey got the week off to a start on that front, pushing back against expectations for rate cuts from Q2, claiming he doesn’t expect any for the “foreseeable future”. A vague commitment as ever but all we can expect from policymakers for now. There’s still a way to go and as Bailey highlighted, getting from peak to now is likely to be much easier than from here to 2%.
Oil choppy ahead of Thursday’s OPEC+ meeting
Arguably, the OPEC+ meeting will be the week’s most impactful event. Not just because any decision could have direct consequences for price and therefore inflation but also due to the meeting already being pushed back by four days, so there’s clearly some disagreement within the alliance.
The group has always found a way to get an agreement over the line before, even if that means the biggest producers taking on more of the additional commitments so it’s probably safe to say something similar will be achieved this week. But the question is how far they’ll push it, given the recent trend in oil prices and increasing concerns around global growth next year.
Gold eyeing record highs?
Gold has got the week off to a strong start, up around half a percent and hitting a six-month high. It just about managed to end last week above the psychologically challenging $2,000 level – where it’s repeatedly been pushed back from over the last month – and it seems that has propelled it on today.
We’re still seeing some push back though but this break has been backed by softer US data in recent weeks and less hawkish commentary from the Fed. That may be the difference this time around and enable it to look up towards record highs, only a few percent above where it currently finds itself.
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