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BLANTYRE, Malawi (PAMACC News) - Prolonged dry spell experienced across Southern Africa and the invasion of crop- eating worm are said to sharply affect harvests across the region, driving millions of people – most of them children – into severe hunger, warns the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).The warning follows an alert by the regional food security experts that “erratic rainfall, high temperatures and persistent Fall Army Worm infestation, are likely to have far-reaching consequences on access to adequate food and nutrition” over the next 12-15 months.The alert, by officials from the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), UN agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), listed Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Zambia and South Africa as the worst-affected countries.The dry spell, which started in October, has caused crops to wilt. Pasture has also suffered, threatening the survival of livestock herds.In Malawi, it is estimated that about 140,000 farming families have been affected by the twin scourges of dry spell and Fall armyworms and in terms of hectares, 375,580 hectares of maize have been damaged across the country.Lonjezo Chiguduli, a farmer in Malawi’s Eastern Region district of Zomba expressed sadness at loss of crops and predicted tough months ahead. Chiguduli said his maize farm was severally attacked by Fall Armyworms and the prolonged drought made things worse.“I managed to contain the worms but I was hopeless and helpless with the dry spell. I don’t think my crops will recover even if the rains come today. It’s done,” said Chiguduli a father of three whose ageing mother also depends on him.Solomon Makondetsa, a rice farmer also from Zomba said out of four of his rice plots, two of the plots have completely wilted that he had to uproot the crop.Makondetsa said he invested about K450,000 (about US$623) which he said he will not be able to recover due to the prolonged dry spell.A ray of hope though shown last week with most parts of the country experiencing rains for days, however, the rains have come with another problem, flooding. So far, there has been flooding in Salima District in the central region and Karonga district in the northern region of Malawi.In December 2017, Malawi President, Peter Mutharika, declared 20 of the country’s 28 districts as disaster areas following the dry spell and invasion of the worms.According to the statement released by World Food Programme (WFP), even if there is above-average rainfall over coming months, much of the damage to crops is irreversible.“Given that the region has barely emerged from three years of very damaging El Niño -induced drought, this is a particularly cruel blow”, says Brian Bogart, WFP’s Regional Programme Advisor. “But it shows how important it is to address the root causes of hunger and malnutrition in the face of changing climatic conditions”.There are now fears for another rise in the number of people in the region needing emergency food and nutrition assistance—this fell from a peak of 40 million during the 2014-2016 ElNiño…
ACCRA, Ghana (PAMACC News) - Ghana is poised to be a leader in the global movement to halt land degradation and deforestation which contribute to climate change and affects livelihoods.The Ghana Dedicated Grant Mechanism (Ghana-DGM) project targets 52 communities within forest and transitional zones in the Brong Ahafo and Western regions. These local constituents will be empowered and supported with knowledge and financing to take steps to reorient their way of living to be sustainable, resilient and climate smart.The project launch in the Brong Ahafo regional capital, Sunyani, received wide reception from interest groups, especially women, who are confident the initiative will help replenish the lost natural resources for the future generation.Madam Akua Yeboah, a representative of queenmothers in the target areas, expressed gratitude for the intervention and appreciated the engagement of women in the project planning and implementation.According to her, the local people are excited at the exposure to knowledge on the causes and impacts of extreme weather conditions.“We the women are ready to throw in the needed support to make the Ghana DGM work to help improve our farms, livelihoods and marriages,” she said, adding that an enhanced livelihood leads to good marriages which help build good families.The DGM InterventionUnsustainable use of fuel wood, illegal logging and mining, uncontrolled wildfires, expansion of cocoa farms and other infrastructure development are factors militating against sustainable lands, forests and water bodies.For a tropical country like Ghana, the reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere involves reducing deforestation, reforestation, and exploring affordable and sustainable alternatives to fuel wood.Through the World Bank, the Climate Investment Fund is providing $5.5million to implement Ghana’s DGM over a five year period. Similar projects are being implemented in other countries including Mexico, Indonesia, Burkina Faso, Peru, Brazil and the Congo.The core goal of the Ghana-DGM is to challenge the target communities to learn more about climate change and how it impacts their daily livelihoods.“We believe that these very local communities are uniquely placed to help solve the degradation of lands and forests and improve it for their own benefit as well as for the benefit of Ghana,” said project team leader, Dr. Nyaneba Nkrumah.She observed the daily decisions of these communities impact the forests, soils and water bodies, whilst the local people are also the first to feel the effects of unsustainable practices and climate change.The project therefore seeks to help the communities to solve the problem by giving them the knowledge and the financing to be able to do so.“We can make all the policies we want but unless local communities help; they have a part to understand how climate change affects their livelihoods and they can put it to practice what is needed to ensure sustainability in the forest zone, sustainability of the soils and water bodies in a long time to come,” said Dr. Nkrumah.National Policy and Environmental ProtectionForesters have noted that the shade provided by one healthy matured tree is equivalent to ten room-size airconditioners running 20hours a day.Local actors under the Ghana-DGM…
PEMBA, Zambia (PAMACC News) - Grace Moonga harvested 115 by 50 Kg bags of maize last season. And it was enough for family food consumption and sale for income generation to support her second year University student son. But she is afraid that this year’s farming season is turning out negative—a prolonged dry spell affecting her 3 hectare maize field. “Just look at this crop,” lamentsMoonga, pointing at her severely wilted crop. “It has been 22 days since it last rained here. This is a serious disaster for a widow like me whose only source of income is farming, I don’t even know what will become of my son at the University.” Since 2007 when her husband died, Moonga has been supporting her six children through smallholder farming. So far, her first born son has completed his teaching course, while the university student was only in primary five when his father died. However, dependency on rainfall is increasingly becoming a risky business for smallholder farmers as erratic rainfall punctuated with prolonged dry spells has become the norm rather than an exception. For instance, the 2015/16 farming season was characterized by the El Nino induced drought. While 2016/17 season restored some hope with normal to above normal rainfall, the 2017/18 season is turning out negative—a prolonged dry spell which according to the Zambia Meteorological Department, has caused substantial moisture deficits and an increased likelihood for adverse crop production. According to Zambia Meteorological department, the prolonged dry spell being experienced over Lusaka, Southern, Western and Southern parts of Central and Eastern Provinces have been largely due to atmospheric systems – the consecutive occurrence of deep low-pressure systems and tropical cyclones over the Mozambique channel and the Indian ocean. Unfortunately, the forecast up to March 2018 remains negative as abnormal dryness has strengthened and expanded, placing additional moisture stress on crops, especially at critical stages of growth. Nevertheless, good as this forecast maybe, it largely remains generic and scientific for smallholder farmers to easily interpret. It is for this reason that climate change development actors have been advocating for improved climate information and other climate resilient services such as insurance for smallholder farmers. In Zambia, one such institution working in this area is the World Food Programme (WFP). Under its R4—Rural Resilience Initiative, WFP has installed automated and manual weather stations in selected project areas to facilitate improved meteorological information for smallholder farmers. Mosco Hamalambo is a trained rain gauge attendant at Sibajene village, one of the 20 manual rain gauge stations dotted around Pemba district. He believes the weather stations have improved farmers’ knowledge especially on the time to plant. “With this facility, we now have readily available information when we should plant our crops,” Hamalambo told PAMACC News. “Even as we are experiencing this dry spell, we have the information on how much rainfall we have received and how poorly distributed it has been.” Hamalambosays such information is helpful for comparison with satellite data on which weather index insurance is based—another…
PAMACC, Abidjan-COTE D'IVOIRE La consommation énergétique de l’Afrique est plus faible que celle de tous les autres continents et la consommation par habitant n'a pratiquement pas changé depuis l’an 2000 comme l’indique l’Atlas des Ressources en Energie de l’Afrique, un rapport publié conjointement par l'ONU Environnement et la Banque Africaine de Développement.La production énergétique actuelle en Afrique ne répond pas à la demande du marché. Environ un tiers de la population africaine n'a toujours pas accès à l'électricité et 53% de la population dépend de la biomasse pour la cuisine, le chauffage et le séchage. L’énergie nécessaire à deux utilisations d’une bouilloire électrique par une famille britannique correspond à plus de cinq fois l'électricité consommée par un Malien en une année.Préparé en collaboration avec l’Environment Pulse Institute, le United States Geological Survey et l'Université George Mason, l'Atlas consolide les informations disponibles sur le paysage énergétique en Afrique.Au cœur du développement d’infrastructures énergétiquesIl fournit ces informations sous forme d'images, de cartes, et d'autres données satellitaires sur les 54 pays africains à travers des visuels détaillant les défis et les opportunités de fournir à la population des services énergétiques fiables, abordables et modernes.« L'Atlas démontre que l’investissement dans des infrastructures d'énergie verte peut soutenir le développement économique de l'Afrique et favoriser la réalisation des Objectifs de Développement Durable. Il s'agit donc d'un guide important pour les gouvernements africains qui s’évertuent à catalyser leur développement national en utilisant leurs ressources énergétiques propres », a déclaré Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo, Directrice Régionale etReprésentante pour l’Afrique de l'ONU Environnement.L'Atlas met en avant à la fois le potentiel et la fragilité des ressources énergétiques de l’Afrique qui sont au cœur du développement socio-économique du continent. Il met en lumière quelques exemples de réussite en matière de développement du secteur de l'énergie durable sur le continent, mais aussi les principaux défis environnementaux associés au développement d’infrastructures énergétiques.L'Atlas aborde les échecs ainsi que les bonnes pratiques de la gestion des déchets dangereux et de la pollution associée aux explorations pétrolières et gazières dans divers pays africains. Il propose également des recommandations sur les opportunités à saisir grâce à l'implication du secteur privé et à la mise en place de partenariats dans le domaine la gestion durable des déchets du secteur de l'énergie.Un aperçu complet des ressources énergétiques« L'Atlas fournit un aperçu complet des ressources énergétiques de l'Afrique. Un accent particulier est mis sur les défis liés aux changements climatiques et à la pollution, notamment la pollution atmosphérique, qui entravent la réalisation des ODD », selon Amadou Hott, Vice-Président chargé de l’électricité, de l'énergie, du climat et de la croissance verte à la Banque Africaine de Développement.Les réserves de charbon, de gaz naturel et de pétrole représentent respectivement 3,6%, 7,5% et 7,6% des réserves mondiales. Une population croissante, une industrialisation soutenue et une urbanisation grandissante signifient une augmentation de la demande en énergie en Afrique.Seule une fraction minime du potentiel énergétique existant est actuellement exploitée causant un énorme retard du continent dans le secteur de l’industrie en raison d'un accès…
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