Foodie Update

FOODIE NAIJA UPDATE (FG, UNIDO move to tackle foodborne illnesses in Nigeria)

The Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) under the European Union (EU) sponsored Nigeria Quality Infrastructure Project (NQIP) on Wednesday commenced a two-day capacity building workshop on food safety practices for food and non-food handlers across Kogi State.

Daily Trust reports that participants at the workshop include farmers, food handlers, non-food handlers, consumer associations and other stakeholders in agribusiness, amongst others.

Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, at the commencement of the training in Lokoja, said the initiative was designed to impart knowledge on food safety practices with a view to addressing the burden foodborne diseases emanating from consumption of unsafe food had had on the country in recent times.

The minister who was represented on the occasion by Anthonia Okpara, a director of food, water and chemical division in the ministry, noted that similar training would be held subsequently in other states of the federation in order to entrench the culture of food safety from the point of production, processing and packaging down to consumption.

He said the country had in recent years been plagued with preventable foodborne disease outbreaks such as cholera, typhoid fever, Lassa fever and methanol poisoning as well as presence of aflatoxin in nuts and series consumed by unsuspecting members of the public, hence the need to sensitise food handlers on the need to imbibe food safety culture and hygiene practices.

“Over the past 20 years, food safety has become one major topic globally in the health sector considering the impact of unsafe food on the population especially on children below the age of five years, immunocompromised as well as the elderly.

He said the training was imperative as it forms part of the strategies for the implementation of the National Policy of Food Safety which amongst others aims at promoting safe food practices at the grassroots, improve the safety and quality of farm produce; reduce the foodborne disease burden of the country and also reduce the rate of rejection of food produced in the country at the international trade.

UNIDO’s National Expert on Food Safety, Tehinse John, said the training would go a long way in enhancing the acceptability of Nigeria’s agricultural products in the international market.

“This project is to build the capacity of Nigerians to be able to supply good and safe food products to the international market. We realise that of late that majority of our products, particularly Agric products are not allowed in the international market due to safety concerns.

“This project is aimed at correcting all the anomalies by building the capacities of stakeholders to produce goods that meet international requirements. Kogi State has been identified as one of the states that have potential to lead in Agric business. We feel that if the state is able to get it right in terms of improving food safety culture, then we will be able to improve agribusiness in the state,” he said.

On his part, Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello said the need for education on food safety could not be over emphasised, saying that the quality of people’s depend largely on the quality of food they eat.

The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Elder Simon Achuba urged the participants to take the training seriously and ensure they imbibe food safety culture at the end of the day.

Foodie Update

FOODIE UPDATE (What to know about food allergies in children)

Food allergy occurs, when the body immune system sees certain foods as harmful, thereby causing an unpleasant reaction. Food allergies can cause serious and deadly reactions in kids, if not properly handled. Dr. Oluwafunmilayo Funke Adeniyi, a paediatrician in the Department of Paediatrics, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) discussed food allergies in children, what triggers it and how to reduce the risk of kids developing it. GERALDINE AKUTU reports.

What is food allergy?
Food allergy is a clinical condition, where the body makes antibodies (Immunoglobulin E (IgE)) to a specific food. The job of the body’s immune system is to identify and destroy germs, such as bacteria or viruses that make you sick. A food allergy results, when the immune system mistakenly targets a harmless food protein – an allergen – as a threat and attacks it. Initial exposure to the food may not produce severe reaction, but the child may become sensitised and when the food is next eaten (or sometimes just comes in contact with the skin), it triggers an immune system response, which results in the release of histamine and other substances in the body. These cause various symptoms, depending on where in the body they are released.

Signs and Food allergy
The following are the signs and symptoms of food allergy regardless of the allergen:
Skin system: swelling, itching, warmth, redness and rashes, 
Respiratory system (breathing): coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain/tightness, throat tightness, hoarse voice, nasal congestion or hay fever-like symptoms (runny itchy nose, watery eyes and sneezing), difficulty in swallowing.

Gastrointestinal system (stomach): nausea, pain/cramps, vomiting, diarrhoea and some children may actually pass blood in the stools.

Cardiovascular system (heart): pale/blue colour, weak pulse, passing out, dizzy/lightheaded, and shock. Others: older children may describe anxiety, feeling of “impending doom”, headache, and metallic taste. The most dangerous symptoms of an allergic reaction, which is usually referred to as anaphylaxis are:

• Difficulty with breathing caused by swelling of the airways, including a severe asthma attack for people, who have asthma.
• Drop in blood pressure, causing dizziness, light-headedness, feeling faint or weak, or passing out. Both can lead to death, if untreated.

Having said this, it is important to note the symptoms of ‘classic’ allergy, which are rashes, wheezing, itching, severe gut symptoms and very rarely, sudden collapse i.e. anaphylaxis.

How long does it take to have allergy in children?
An allergic reaction usually happens within minutes after exposure to an allergen, but sometimes it can take place several hours after exposure to the allergen. In children with the immune mediated or IgE mediated food, allergy symptoms occur within minutes up to two hours after ingestion of the food. These symptoms usually recur on exposure to the food on every occasion and may be mild or severe, associated with anaphylaxis. The symptoms of ‘classic’ allergy, as such, are rashes, wheezing, itching, severe gut symptoms or (very rarely) sudden collapse.

What are the most common food allergies in children?
Allergy can occur to a single food or to many foods. Allergy to many foods is a more severe form of allergy, and is referred to as multiple food allergies.
The common allergenic foods i.e. food that induce allergies, include cow’s milk, dairy products, egg, seafood (fish and shrimps), wheat, soy and peanuts. The commonest food allergy in children is cow’s milk.

Is there a cure for food allergy?
There is no direct cure for food allergy. The condition is best managed with elimination diet i.e. avoidance or exclusion of the offending food from the diet and subsequent substitution. For example, in a child with cow’s milk protein allergy, the milk should be removed from the child’s diet and a substitute in the form of soya milk, or hydrolysed formula (i.e. milk that the protein has been broken down to peptides) or amino acid formula, which can readily be digested and does not cause reactions in the child.

When the child is up to six months and weaning is commenced, solids should be introduced gradually and one food at a time. This should be from the least allergenic foods, i.e. cereals, then vegetables and fruits, then chicken, eggs, fish and lastly nuts.

How can parents handle their children’s food allergies?
If a severe allergy has been identified in a child, it is important the parents ensure that the child avoid even the tiniest amounts of the trigger food. Very occasionally, reactions can occur, even when the child has had skin contact with the offending food. A fish-allergic person may react by being in a kitchen, where fish is being cooked. The parents should do gradual introduction of the allergenic foods in infancy, as described earlier.

Children, parents and caregivers should be educated on common ingredients, reading food labels and how to safely avoid allergens. Children and parents should also be aware of appropriate, safe, cost-effective, freely available and nutritionally adequate substitutes for the avoided foods.

As well as avoiding the offending food, the allergic child should be provided with appropriate emergency treatment, should accidental exposure occur. Depending on the severity of the reaction, this may be adrenaline to be given by injection, antihistamines, steroids, or all of these. The exact details of such treatment will need to be decided by the doctor in charge of the child. The parents should ensure that an allergy specialist or dietician, who is experienced in food allergies and paediatric gastroenterologist, sees the child regularly.

Children affected by severe food allergy can still participate in all normal activities, school, work or leisure, but the parents should give appropriate support and understanding.

Can a child outgrow food allergies?
Usually, children who have cow’s milk allergy become tolerant of cow’s milk, as they grow older and outgrow their allergy by the age of two to three years. Children are usually re-evaluated at regular intervals to see if they have developed tolerance. Generally, younger children with milk, soya and egg allergy are reviewed every six to 12 months and older children every one to two years. Tree nut, fish and shellfish allergy may be life long, but re-evaluation should be performed every two to four years to determine whether re-challenges are appropriate or exclusion needs to be continued.

Foodie Update, Naija Foodie Update

FOODIE UPDATE (Why we should stop eating wheat foods)

We will take a brief vacation today from the ongoing running series on CHRONIC INSOMNIA AND TRAINLOAD OF TROUBLES, which has run in two parts. The series is yielding ground to two publications, which have been making the rounds in many chat groups on the social media, including some of the friendship groups to which I belong.

When I first read about the dangers of eating wheat, I almost responded like a Doubting Thomas. Wheat?, I wondered. We have eaten wheat since goodness knows when! Until the Nigerian bread market became fraudulent, mixing white flour with wheat flour and passing it off as whole wheat flour and bread, I ate wheat bread for breakfast almost everyday. The shocking discovery is that man has now done to wheat what they have done, and are doing, to other food crops, modifying them from the way Mother Nature gave us these food crops and transforming them into states that would make them grow faster, more resistant to infections, keep longer and yield more money in the market. Quite naturally, the transformation alters, also, the natural ratios in which the constituents co-exist, and yield new radiations which the body now has to adapt to.

The second article, on asparagus, a long-known kidney cleansing herb, is considered for a mention in this column in the state in which it has been lifted from the social media because it may have, as suggested, an important role to play in the cure of cancer and other diseases which plague us today not only in Nigeria but worldwide.

My apologies go to the authors of these articles and to other original sources, which may have been lost through posting and reposting on the social media. Because of this it is not possible to give them their due credit for the publication. Nevertheless, I thought of republishing them because it is the wish of this authors and sources that this be done because of the health they believe doing so will afford the health of humanity

Foodie Naija Update, Foodie Naija Updates, Foodie Naja Update, Foodie Update

FOODIE UPDATE (Ethiopia denies emergency food aid will run out within weeks)

Ethiopia has denied suggestions by UN officials that it will run out of emergency food aid for millions of people by the end of this month.

The UN’s World Food Programme said 7.8 million people affected by drought would be left without food assistance.

But Ethiopian officials put the number of those affected at 1.7 million and said they would receive new help either from donors or the government.

Ethiopia has been struggling following successive failed rains.

Famine has been declared in South Sudan, and there have been warnings of famine in north-east Nigeria, Yemen and Somalia.

Ethiopia’s commissioner for disaster risk management Mitiku Kassa said: “It’s true that in some areas food will run out by the end of the month but this will only affect around 1.7 million people.

“We expect the donor community to step in to fill that gap and we are hopeful. But if they fail to do that, we will have to use some of our development budget to provide emergency assistance to our people.”

  • Can Ethiopia cope with worst drought in decades?

Earlier reports suggested that the Ethiopian government did not have the funds to cope by itself, although analysts have acknowledged it has got better at coping with droughts than in previous years.

The government allocated $381m (£300m) extra over the last two years, but aid experts have questioned whether this can be sustained for a third year.

Ethiopia is in a “dire situation”, according to John Aylieff of the World Food Programme.

“We’ve got food running out nationally at the end of June,” he told reporters on Friday.

“That means the 7.8 million people who are in need of humanitarian food assistance in Ethiopia will see that distribution cut abruptly at the end of June.”

His words were echoed by John Graham, of Save the Children

He told AFP news agency: “After [the food runs out], we don’t know what is going to happen. And without that basic food then you will have problem falling into severe malnutrition because people are not getting any food.

“These children become severely malnourished and that’s where you have a very dangerous situation.

Foodie Naja Update, Foodie Update

FOODIE UPDATE (Free Range Poultry Production Rising in Zimbabwe)

ZIMBABWE – The growing interest in indigenous foods by many Zimbabweans could be the break that local free-range poultry farmers have been waiting for in a market that has been dominated by hybrids.Over the past five years or so, numerous traditional food eateries have been opened, while hotels have been putting traditional dishes on their menu. This has served to push demand even in supermarkets as some people prefer to cook for themselves at home instead of spending a small fortune on one meal.

Such is the rising popularity for meals that include free-range chicken, guinea fowl, turkey, rabbit and duck meat to go along with traditional starches such as isitshwala samabele (sorghum) and brown rice.

While almost every household in rural areas has always kept free-range chickens for food and a few have sold a bird here and there to help raise money for use around the home, commercial free-range chicken production is a fairly new concept in most areas, according to Chronicle.

This has led to the rise of organisations such as the Zimbabwe Free-range Poultry Producers’ Association that seeks to help farmers take up free-range farming as a way to grow financial and food self-sufficiency in line with tenets of Zim-Asset.

ZFRPPA secretary general Beauty Jiji says free-range poultry farming can empower women and youths to produce enough to feed themselves and the nation thus creating employment as well as food self-sufficiency.

“Free range birds are natural, healthy and tastier than broiler chickens. So while broilers and layers are easier to produce, free-range products can competitively enter the market if given the chance,” she said.

Free-ranging is simple and economically viable when it comes to feeding and Ms Jiji’s organisation has been recruiting and training farmers on rearing free-range birds and other animals such as rabbits, goats and cattle. Farmers have also been taught cheap and easy ways to prepare feed for their birds.

Free range chickens can feed on a normal diet of grass, worms and bugs as they are allowed to freely roam about and access sunshine for long stretches of time each day. Enough time to source their daily protein is a requirement to ensure optimal growth.

There are, however plenty of others foods that free-range birds can feed on, which include small grains such as millet, sorghum and ground maize as well as fish meal, cotton seed, sunflower cake, maize germ and bone meal.

These are foods that farmers can grow and prepare on their own at minimum cost, and therefore, are affordable to rural farmers. Experts say farmers can actually produce enough small grains to feed themselves as well as their chickens thus reducing their food bill while reaping their nutritional benefits.

While most members of ZFRPPA are still producing on a small scale, Ms Jiji says there are some members who now have more than 3000 birds and have sourced markets for their produce.

The problem however has been maintaining a consistent supply once a market is found.

“We have the opportunity to supply the local market. Last year we got a deal to supply a local supermarket but we could not go back because our farmers failed to consistently supply the agreed number of chickens every week,” said Ms Jiji.

She said there is need to change the mindset of women and youths who are practicing free-range farming so that they understand how commercial production works.

“Once we have organised ourselves, we can then start to produce seriously and be able to meet demand consistently,” she added.

Foodie Naja Update, Foodie Update, Naija Foodie Update

FOODIE NAIJA UPDATE (Blockchain seen as tool in food safety)

The food industry is turning to the same technology used by virtual currencies to strengthen food safety and inventory management by tracking meats and crops from farm to table.Working with IBM, retail giant Wal-Mart Stores is testing the technology system on mangos in the United States and pork in China.

Blockchain, the underlying technology behind virtual currency bitcoin, is a digital system that allows counter parties to transact using individual codes for goods.

“I see a lot of potential to create what I call a digital and transparent food system,” said Wal-Mart food safety vice president Frank Yiannas.

The technology enables different parties in the supply chain to share details such as the date an animal was slaughtered or the weather conditions at harvest time.

Data can be stored through a photograph on a smartphone that is transmitted onto a dedicated platform.

The system also can also counter fraud and mistaken deliveries, champions of the technology say.

“The advantage of blockchain is that the ledger is immediately updated and all the parties have access to the latest information,” said Bill Fearnley, Jr. an expert at market intelligence firm IDC.

Supporters of blockchain are especially keen to address salmonella and other food safety problems that can cause health scares that weigh on corporate reputation and damage sales.

The technology allows a more efficient response if there is a problem, enabling companies to locate the source of an incident more quickly, Yiannas said.

He pointed to a 2006 case where it took hundreds of investigators and two weeks to identify the source of bad spinach under a paper-based system.

But blockchain “reduces tracing from days to seconds,” Yiannas said. “The more accurately you can track food, the better.”

Demand for transparency

The other great virtue of blockchain is enhanced transparency by letting consumers look up key information on where food comes from, an asset amid growing concerns about genetically-modified crops and artificial ingredients.

That additional transparency also can help promote more desirable practices.

British online startup Provenance used blockchain technology to test tuna caught in Indonesia to help corroborate claims the fish were responsibly caught.

The technology also has been embraced by companies in the jewelry business to fight the sale of so-called “conflict diamonds,” which come from war-torn regions.

“Our goal is to provide transparency at every step of a diamond’s journey and ultimately re-shape the way we trade diamonds globally,” said Leanne Kemp chief executive of Everledger, a British company that tracks diamonds from the mines to jewelry stores.

But to completely function as a system, all the parties need to participate, Fearnley said.

Danish shipping giant Maersk estimates the technology could save billions of dollars by eliminating fraud and incorrect deliveries. It is testing the technology with container ships between Kenya and the Netherlands.

But the transition will require investment. A refrigerated product raised in Africa and shipped to Europe requires at least 30 people with some 200 interactions among parties, including customs, taxes, and food safety oversight.

Foodie Update

FOODIE UPDATE (What Is The Best Food And Drink To Help Students Focus?).

I t’s heads-down revision time for exams and dissertations. The pressure’s on, so you’ll want all the help you can get to aid your memory and raise your grades (without smart drugs or cheating). Nutrition experts say that eating well can make a real difference to your revision regime – so what brain-boosting food and drink do they recommend?How much caffeine is too much?

Coffee, green tea and energy drinks are staples of the all-night library stint. But how much caffeine is too much?

“Caffeine – particularly coffee – can have numerous benefits extending to cardiovascular health, insulin sensitivity,

prevention of type 2 diabetes and acting as a potent antioxidant,” says nutritional therapist Daniel O’Shaughnessy. “However, while caffeine may make you more alert, individuals can build up a tolerance meaning this is short-lived. Caffeine can also increase blood sugar and eventually lead to dips causing lack of focus and energy.”

“It’s also worth bearing in mind that people react differently to caffeine,” says nutritional therapist Joanne Crovini. It has the potential to increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol. “Some people can drink it at midnight and go straight to sleep, whereas other people get teeth clenching and feelings of anxiety after a small amount.”

Most adults can tolerate single doses of caffeine up to 200mg and a daily intake of up to 400mg without any concerns, nutrition scientist Sarah Coe says; a mug of instant coffee is around 100mg and a cup of tea is 75mg of caffeine. “Remember that energy drinks and some soft drinks contain caffeine too, and coffee from a coffee shop may be stronger than coffee made at home. As broad advice I’d say stop drinking caffeine by 2pm and have a maximum of two cups of coffee or equivalent a day, but be aware of your own reaction to it.”

Wholegrains

Wholegrain foods will stave off hunger (advice on cooking some of them can be found here). Examples include porridge and wholemeal bread. Crovini explains that combining wholegrain with protein will help keep blood sugar levels balanced, which is essential for mood and concentration.

O’Shaughnessy agrees. Buying grains in bulk with your housemates is a great way to save money, as is avoiding the more overpriced “fad” grains, he says. “Brown rice, oats and buckwheat are good, cheap alternatives,” he says, adding that the high levels of magnesium in buckwheat also helps to calm nerves.

Nuts and berries

Berries and nuts are a convenient snack that pack a nutritional punch. “Blueberries, like many dark coloured fruits and vegetables, have a high antioxidant content, which is thought to protect the brain from oxidative damage and slow age-related decline,” explains Crovini. Frozen berries are usually cheap, last longer and don’t lose their nutrients when frozen. Less healthy are flavoured and coated nuts, which contain added oil, salt and sugars.

Ditch the supplements

Doctors often recommend taking vitamin supplements to top up on the nutrients you need – but these can be expensive. Fortunately, they’re not the only option. “Food should always come before supplements and the key to getting as many nutrients as possible is to eat as varied a diet as possible, with lots of different colours,” says Crovini. “Use frozen berries and dark green vegetables like savoy cabbage, which are reasonably priced.”

Coe agrees: it’s better to get everything you need from food and drink: “For example, oranges not only contain vitamin C [which boosts the immune system] but also fibre and other components that you can’t get packaged together in a tablet.”

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate has a mild effect on

increasing blood flow and reducing blood pressure, due to the polyphenol content, says Crovini. “It’s also a good source of magnesium, which is an essential mineral for relaxation.”

O’Shaughnessy recommends choosing chocolate that’s 80% or more in cacao to avoid any negative effects to teeth, skin and weight. The darker the chocolate, the less sugar in it.

Water

A recent study by the University of East London and University of Westminster found that keeping hydrated can boost attention by almost 25%. “We found that drinking even a really small amount of water (25 ml) resulted in improved performance on a test of attention,” says Dr Caroline Edmonds, who co-authored the research. Drinking 300 ml improves memory performance and can improve your mood as well.

The experts’ recommended library lunch.

Base your lunch on starchy foods, particularly wholegrain varieties, Coe says. Sandwiches, wraps and bagels are quick and easy to prepare, or you could use leftovers from the night before to make a pasta, rice or couscous salad.

Grainy salads with canned fish and vegetables are good if you don’t fancy bread. Tinned mackerel with beetroot, roasted sweet potato cubes, lots of green leaves like rocket or watercress and some pumpkin seeds, are ideal, Crovini says. Or try canned salmon with brown rice, canned chickpeas, chopped cucumber and tomato.

For sweetness, you’ll want the usual healthy stuff: a small pot of natural yogurt with either an apple, some berries or a chunk of dark chocolate.

Don’t skip meals, Crovini adds. Eating regularly will help keep blood sugar balanced and feed the brain with the fuel it needs.

Foodie Update

FOODIE UPDATE (Is In-flight food a health risk? let’s see)

You may have drooled over all those advertisements from many airlines that tout how tantalising their in-flight meals are – but are these promises just a flight of imagination on the airlines’ part?

A new book, Gastrophysics: The New Science Of Eating, has come out to back what many travellers have come to believe and tolerate – airline food is just edible, but is nothing much to write home about on a postcard supplied by the airline.

But they may not have known that the underwhelming in-flight meals are also a health risk as they have more calories.

“The lower cabin air pressure, dry cabin air and the loud engine noise all contribute to our inability to taste and smell food and drink,” the book’s author, Professor Charles Spence, a lecturer at Oxford University, told the Business Insider.

“Because sound suppresses sweetness perception, you have to add about 15 to 20 per cent more sugar to the foods we eat while in the air to give the same taste perception.”

According to Prof Spence, there are other factors to explain why passengers could end up at the destination airport heavier than when they first board the plane.

“There is the boredom,” he told the Daily Telegraph in another interview. “With nothing else to do, food becomes an appealing distraction. And when it is being offered for free, it will be even harder to resist.”

Many plane passengers would surely have noticed other people on board badgering the stewardess for second helpings, from bread to desserts, and regular servings of both alcoholic drinks and fruit juices.

This is despite knowing that the air in an aircraft is very dry and, coupled with the diuretic effect of drinking alcohol, they may become dehydrated much faster than on the ground.

The amount of eating and drinking is also driven by the in-flight entertainment. “Another really big problem is the movie or television show you watch,” said Prof Spence. “It is not uncommon to find people eating as much as a third more food with the TV show on.”

The figures, at least for British travelers, are not likely to put anyone on cloud nine,

Prof Spence’s book cites research which suggests that the average Briton consumes nearly twice the recommended daily intake of calories while heading to their destinations.

“It has been estimated,” he wrote, “that the British consume more than 3,400 calories between their check-in at the airport and their arrival at their destination.”

But while some airlines try to offer healthier options, the relentless dogfight for business – amid rivalry with budget airlines and pressure to keep ticket costs competitive – means that many players cannot afford to fly the extra mile for nutritional value.

“More often than not, though, the airlines have opted to load the food they serve with even more sugar and salt, to enhance the flavour,” Prof Spence told the Daily Telegraph.

“No surprise, therefore, that the food served these days isn’t the healthiest.”

Travel experts have noticed another ploy adopted by airlines – roping in celebrity chefs to give their menus a touch of glamour. Prof Spence is not impressed, however.

“I have yet to see any evidence to support the claim that the chef’s interventions… actually led to a significant increase in passenger satisfaction,” he wrote.

On this, he is backed by noted chef Gordon Ramsay who rarely minces his words.

“I worked for airlines for 10 years, so I know where this food’s been and where it goes, and how long it took before it got on board,” he told the Refinery29 website recently.

Most meals are made between 12 and 72 hours ahead of the time that they are dished out on the plane.

Professor Peter Jones, former professor of travel catering from Surrey University, told the Daily Mail: “It can be kept in a chilled stage for five days under the internationally recognised food hygiene standards.”

Ramsay’s method to beat the inflight food blues? Going for a snack at an Italian bar in the airport before his flight.

Meanwhile, disgruntled plane passengers are fighting back. They have documented shocking examples of in-flight food, complete with photographs.

Postings in a website called Airlinemeals.net have gone viral with the hundreds of images which show what is served at more than 9,000m.

But all is not lost, at least for those who fly on Asian airlines.

Indeed, the site’s anonymous founder and webmaster, a 35- year-old graphic designer from Holland, praises Asian airlines for their menus.

“I would say airlines from Asia get the best results… Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways International, Emirates… and from my own experiences, I would like to add Qatar Airways and Vietnam Airlines,” he said. “‘They’re all top notch.”

Foodie Update

FOODIE UPDATE (Kenya lags behind in exploiting potential in sea fishing)

The extent to which Kenya is yet to exploit its marine fishing potential is now clear, with the country being among the worst in Africa when it comes to sea fishing, a review of global fisheries data by Nation Newsplex shows.

Of the 38 African countries that have a coastline, only six landed a smaller catch of sea fish, crustaceans and molluscs than Kenya did in 2015.

According to data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (Fao), Kenya landed a total of 8,496 tonnes from those three categories in 2015.

 

LEADING COUNTRIES

Even when the revised 2015 figure of 9,299 tonnes contained in the 2017 Economic Survey is included, Kenya’s ranking, which places it only ahead of Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Eritrea, DRC, Djibouti and Sudan, does not improve.

The biggest sea fishing country in Africa was Morocco, which landed 1.35 million tonnes, 159 times more than Kenya’s catch.

It was followed by South Africa (564,000), Namibia (507,000), Angola (457,702), Senegal (393,867), Mauritania (388,776), Nigeria (372,457), Ghana (243,181) and Mozambique (193,567).

Together, these nine countries account for three quarters of all the marine fish, crustaceans and molluscs caught by African countries.

In East Africa, Tanzania caught 61,304 tonnes, which was more than six times Kenya’s catch of 8,496 tonnes in 2015, while Somalia, which has faced protracted instability, landed 29,800 tonnes of sea fish.

According to Fao, Kenya could catch up to 300,000 tonnes of fish from the Indian Ocean sustainably every year, about 30 times the current catch.

OVERFISHING

Although freshwater fish currently make up 93 per cent of Kenya’s total catch, recent years have seen declines in the amount of fish landed, partly due to the overfishing of some species.

For example, from 2012 to 2016, Kenya’s freshwater catch fell 18 per cent, from 145,150 tonnes to 119,550 tonnes.

Lake Victoria, the source of 75 per cent of Kenya’s fish, accounted for 98,666 tonnes in 2016, a 10 per cent drop from the year before and a 31 per cent increase from the 143,908 tonnes landed in 2006.

Lake Turkana is the second largest single source of freshwater fish in Kenya.

However, its catch has dropped 58 per cent from 2009, when 9,445 tonnes were captured to 2016, when only 3,693 tonnes of fish were landed.

Although catches at man-made fish farms surged by almost 400 per cent to 24,000 tonnes from 2009 to 2014, they then fell by nearly 38 per cent to 14,952 tonnes in 2016.

Increasing imports of freshwater fish, particularly from China, show that local fisheries may not be adequate for the country’s needs.

Increasingly, Kenyans have seen Chinese fish on local supermarket shelves.

ILLEGAL FISHING

From 2014 to 2015, imports of fish from China grew 60.2 per cent from Sh624.1 million to Sh1.02 billion according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

As it races to increase its bounty from the sea, Kenya faces challenges from foreign fleets that fish far from their home countries.

In 2014, President Kenyatta said that Kenya loses Sh10 billion from illegal fishing in its exclusive economic zone.

According to research carried out by the University of British Columbia in Canada, the largest country fishing in African sea waters is China, which in 2011 had a catch of 3.1 million tonnes a year.

African waters constitute the largest distant water source of fish to China, more than Asia, where China landed one million tonnes, Oceania (980,000 tonnes), Central and South America (182,000 tonnes) and Antarctica (48,000 tonnes) the same year.

 

ARTISANAL FISHING

Earlier this year, the New York Times reported that China has a distant-water fleet of at least 2,600 boats, the largest search fleet in the world, and 10 times the United States’ own distant water fleet. Kenya has only one.

Fishermen in Kenya’s Indian Ocean coasts are ill equipped to respond to the fisheries from overseas.

Fao statistics from 2014 show that a total of 2,913 fishing craft were used actively in marine fishing, of which nearly half (47 per cent) were dugout canoes.

Dhows that are flat at one end made up 22 per cent. Other crafts included hori (11 per cent), Dau (9 per cent), ngalawa (6 per cent), mtori (3 per cent) and rafts (1 per cent).

 

FISHING ZONES
China is the world’s largest marine fishing nation, and landed 15,314,000 tonnes of fish in 2015, according to official Fao figures.

That accounted for 19 per cent, or nearly one in five of all the fish caught worldwide that year.

China caught more than double the next largest fishing country, which was Indonesia, at six million tonnes.

The United States, Peru and the Russian Federation round out the top five marine fishing countries in the world.

For purposes of statistical analysis, Fao divides the world’s seas into zones called fishing areas.

 

OFFSHORE PATROL

Kenya’s fishery is located in the Western Indian Ocean fishing area, which landed 4.66 million tonnes of fish in 2015.

However, much of that fish did not go to African countries.

For example, Kenya, which landed 9,929 tonnes according to revised data, and Tanzania which landed 61,304 tonnes, together constituted only 1.5 per cent of the total in the entire western Indian Ocean fishing area.

In the 2017-2018 budget, the government allocated Sh400 million for the development of designated ports where deep water vessels can land their catch, and the commissioning of an offshore patrol boat to deter illegal fishing.

According to a report by the National Treasury, the government also plans to create the Kenya Fisheries Service.

Mombasa County has also begun a boat construction programme through which it aims to construct 14 10-tonne boats for deep sea fishing.

According to an April 12 2017 report by Baraka FM, the first boat, MV Mombasa 001, had landed 6.1 tonnes of fish from eight voyages since its maiden voyage on November 24.

Foodie Update

FOODIE UPDATE ( Are Avolattes Real? Find Out.)

There was a time when I really liked avocado. When I ate guacamole and chips like it was no big deal. That was before, of course. Before avocados became avocados, and the consumption of this once-delicious treat was like an entrée into a secret club I was in no way prepared to join. The club of hipsters, who took the simple avocado and turned it into a replacement for basically everything. Some say these crafty hipsters are even serving up hot beverages inside avocados these days. A few skeptics don’t believe these so-called avolattes are real, but I know me a few hipsters. And honestly, I put nothing past them.

According to Cosmopolitan, a cafe in Australia has started serving up warm beverages in the hollowed out husk of an avocado. The Truman Cafe in Melbourne — a vegetarian/vegan restaurant — is reportedly the culprit behind the unique avolatte. Apparently, they like to serve up a perfectly yummy latte inside something they were meant to throw into the compost bin like a bunch of earth-friendly hooligans. I don’t know what makes me scratch my head more about this — the fact that avocados have somehow taken over yet another food and beverage domain or the name the good folks at the Truman Cafe use for the avocado husk: the “vegan cup.”

Whether or not the avolatte takes off in the good old U.S. of A. remains to be seen. Judging by much of the response on the internet, decider of all things, it could really go either way at this point. Some are ready to embrace all questionable trends from 2017, and the two that seem to be going together are lattes served in avocados and rompers for men. Will wonders never cease?