NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - As the world grapple with containment of COVID-19 pandemic, food protests especially among poor and vulnerable African communities are likely going to be deadlier than the virus itself, if governments and international institutions do not act now, experts have warned.

In a virtual meeting with the press from across Africa, experts from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and ONE – a global movement campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030 said that there exists a window of opportunity for governments to save the situation, and plan for future eventualities but only if they act in time.

“We are heading towards a real disaster because when hunger comes in, people will always protests,” said Dr Fidel Ndiame, AGRA’s Vice President for Policy and State Capacity, noting that COVID-19 effects to food security are going to be worse than what was witnessed during Ebola, because the current virus is affecting the entire world.

As a short term measure, the experts want African governments to expand and improve food assistance and social protection programs to protect the most vulnerable including cash-based transfers as the primary safety net, which can largely be distributed through contactless solutions; in-kind food assistance such as take-home rations, food package delivery, and food vouchers where necessary.

It was observed that at the moment, there is no food shortage in the global market. In Europe and the US for example, milk is being dumped and eggs are being smashed as demand from restaurants decreases. But access to the food poses a problem because borders have been closed, and movements curtailed as part of COVID-19 containment measures.

At the same time, during such crisis, some families panic and hoard food. In response, countries impose export restrictions in a misguided effort to protect domestic prices. This is likely going to be a huge problem because many African countries depend on imported food, especially rice from Asian countries.

 “Food security concerns go hand in hand with pandemics,” said Edwin Ikhuoria, ONE’s Africa Executive Director, noting that the SARS and MERS outbreaks led to food price hikes and market panics in affected areas, leaving the poorest groups without access to essential foods, especially staples

In the East African region for example, Tanzanian President Dr John Pombe Magufuli has publicly urged farmers in his the country not to sell food to neighboring countries, and if they must sell it, they must make sure they charge exorbitantly to take advantage of food shortages in countries that imposed lockdown to contain the virus.

With the invasion of desert locust, floods and containment measures for COVID-19, Kenya and Uganda are the most affected in the region. Kenya in particular heavily relies on supplies of commodities such as onions, fruits, tomatoes and other vegetables from Tanzania through Namanga border. Yet, due to the COVID-19 pandemic containment measures, movements across the border have been restricted.

To that end, the experts asked all governments to step up efforts to ensure adequate food reserves by stepping up local production and storage, and called on donors to fully fund the US$1.5 billion requested by the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP).

GAFSP, created by the G20 in response to the 2007-2008 food price crises, is a multilateral mechanism to improve food and nutrition security that has effectively channeled finances to governments, the private sector, and directly to farmers.

To the international institutions, the experts called on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Board to act to create $500bn in Special Drawing Rights and all actors should immediately enact a debt moratorium for bilateral, multilateral and private debt for 2020 and 2021.

“Special Drawing Rights should be allocated to poorer countries, providing them with immediate liquidity to respond to the crisis, said Ikhuoria, further calling on donors to fully fund the US$6.7 billion requested for the Global Humanitarian Response Plan.

The GHRP is a coordinated global humanitarian response plan to fight COVID-19 in 64 of the world’s most vulnerable countries, and includes financing for the UN World Food Program (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The IMF forecasts global economic growth to contract by 3% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020, a downgrade of 6.3 percentage points from the January 2020 projection. This will make it the worst downturn since the Great Depression.  As a result, 419 million additional people could fall into extreme poverty in 2020, particularly in the sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia according to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Recent studies on the impact of COVID-19 in rural China confirm that in order to ensure adequate food, families substituted high nutrition foods such as meat and produce, for lower nutrition items like grains and staples, significantly impacting nutrition. In Senegal, more than 85% of its population has seen a reduction in income, and as a result, over a third of them now eat less food every day.

Generally, the main productive asset of the poor is physical labor. Yet, this has already been affected by social distancing measures making efforts to contain the virus much more challenging, according to IFPRI.

As a result, media reports have shown that vulnerable citizens in Tunisia have disobeyed lockdown measures to protest over hunger.  In Zimbabwe, where extreme hunger debilitates 30% of the population, many are willing to risk contracting COVID-19 if it means they can eat.

“We need governments to develop sustainable food systems that can support individual countries even in times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ndiame.

 

Climate and Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet), has called on Nigerians to make concerted efforts at ensuring that their activities do not endanger the earth.

The coalition of civil society organisations made this call in a statement by Dr Ibrahim Choji, the Chairman, Board of Trustees, CSDevNet, in Abuja on Friday, to mark the World Earth Day celebrated on April 22.

Choji said that Nigeria must learn lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, which had forced a total lockdown of some human activities that contribute to environmental degradation and climate change.

He said that the impact of the coronavirus was both immediate and dreadful, however, the earth’s unfolding environmental crisis was another deep emergency to be concerned about.

“It is our belief at CSDevNet that as we lockdown to deal with this mutant virus that is killing people and making our world tragic and horrendous, nature appears to be reclaiming her space.

“From Apapa to Port Harcourt, from Lake Chad to River Benue, the fog has cleared; the soot has abated, the air is simply sublime and we can see the blue skies and the birds are just loving it.

“Chirping birds have now replaced our loud honking cars. In a very long while, we get this sense and smell of what clean air, clean rivers and exuberant nature means.

“What is further clear to us on this Earth Day is that this joy of nature has come at an enormous and unacceptable human cost to millions in the world.

“We can say with absolute conviction that this is not the way we want to clean our air or our water, however desperate we were for this to happen.”

Choji said that if Nigerians needed to have clear skies, governments at all levels, private sector and civil society must work together to ensure right livelihoods and the right to breathe.

He said that CSDevNet, which is a member of the Pan Africa Climate Justice Aliance (PACJA), believed that the time to act decisively in protecting the planet from both the coronavirus and the existential threat of climate disruption “is now’’.

“Greenhouse gases, just like viruses, do not respect national boundaries. The current crisis is an unprecedented wake-up call and we need to turn the recovery into a real opportunity to do things right for the future.

“To achieve this, we must realise that we need to get vehicles off the road, but not people. It will require fast-tracking everything Nigeria can do in order to move people, not cars, at speed, convenience and safety.

“Public transport in Nigeria will now have to take into account concerns about personal hygiene and public health. ”

He said that Nigeria must also set ambitious goals, far beyond the “tokenism” in her Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement.

Choji said this was necessary so that before 2030, Nigeria could upgrade its systems to ensure that 70 to 80 per cent of the daily commute across cities through high-speed and low-emission transportation from trains to bicycles.

He added that CSDevNet believed that an accurate Nigerian response depended not in shutting down, but shifting all industries to clean fuel.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic had caused disorder and disruptions in a large scale, saying “now we need to fix what was broken in our relationship with nature.’’

“Should Nigeria rebuild her economy with more smoke and more pollution because we need speed and scale to get back on our feet?

“This then is the biggest challenge in the coming days!

“Nigeria must do things differently, recognising what COVID-19 has brought to light. We must work together to save lives, ease suffering and lessen the shattering economic and social consequences.

“The future, like never before, is in our hands. Nature has spoken. Now we should speak gently back to her. Tread gently on mother Earth.”

 

On this International Mother Earth Day, all eyes are on the COVID-19 pandemic – the biggest test the world has faced since the Second World War.
 
We must work together to save lives, ease suffering and lessen the shattering economic and social consequences.
 
The impact of the coronavirus is both immediate and dreadful.
 
But there is another deep emergency -- the planet’s unfolding environmental crisis.
 
Biodiversity is in steep decline.   
 
Climate disruption is approaching a point of no return.
 
We must act decisively to protect our planet from both the coronavirus and the existential threat of climate disruption.
 
The current crisis is an unprecedented wake-up call.
 
We need to turn the recovery into a real opportunity to do things right for the future.
 
I am therefore proposing six climate-related actions to shape the recovery and the work ahead.
 
First: as we spend huge amounts of money to recover from the coronavirus, we must deliver new jobs and businesses through a clean, green transition.
 
Second: where taxpayers’ money is used to rescue businesses, it needs to  be tied to achieving green jobs and sustainable growth.
 
Third: fiscal firepower must drive a shift from the grey to green economy, and make societies and people more resilient
 
Fourth: public funds should be used to invest in the future, not the past, and flow to sustainable sectors and projects that help the environment and the climate.  
 
Fossil fuel subsidies must end, and polluters must start paying for their pollution
 
Fifth: climate risks and opportunities must be incorporated into the financial system as well as all aspects of public policy making and infrastructure.
 
Sixth: we need to work together as an international community.  
 
These six principles constitute an important guide to recovering better together.
 
Greenhouse gases, just like viruses, do not respect national boundaries.
 
On this Earth Day, please join me in demanding a healthy and resilient future for people and planet alike.

 

Sorghum is the fifth most produced grain globally.

This two-meter tall plant from the grass family is often grown in regions that have high temperatures and lower rainfall. In wetter regions, its production is lower than that of more lucrative crops such as rice and maize.

Sorghum is a particularly essential crop in Africa, second to maize, as the staple grain for millions of people.

Although it is mainly consumed as a grain, sorghum is also prepared into a wide variety of other food products such as porridge, bread, lactic and alcoholic beverages, and weaning meals.

 

Africa’s third top producer of sorghum

 

Sorghum is the main cereal crop grown in Burkina Faso, with more than 1.5 million hectares. Along with pearl millet, it is the staple diet of rural populations in the Sub-Sahelian regions.

Burkina Faso is the continent’s third top producer of sorghum (after Nigeria and Sudan)

In spite of various interventions, its productivity remains low, with an average yield of approximately one tonne per hectare. Many factors have contributed to the decreased productivity, including demographic pressure, ecological degradation, loss of soil fertility, and water erosion.

Other factors include negative effect of dry spells on crop growth and yield, negative effect of end of season drought, scarcity of organic amendment, improved seed and other farm inputs and output.

 

The Sahel as a bread basket

 

To address these constraints, and with a view to transforming the Sahel into a bread basket, the African Development Bank (AfDB), in 2018, launched the Sorghum and Millet Compact of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT).

The compact, according to the bank, spearheads the bold plan to transform Sorghum and Millet in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and Chad.

TAAT’s main objective is to improve the business of agriculture across Africa by raising agricultural productivity, mitigating risks and promoting diversification and processing in 18 agricultural value chains within eight Priority Intervention Areas (PIA).

The programme increases agricultural productivity through the deployment of proven and high-performance agricultural technologies at scale along selected nine commodity compacts which include sorghum and millet.

These work with six enabler compacts addressing transversal issues such as soil fertility management, water management, capacity development, policy support, attracting African youth in agribusiness and fall armyworm response.

With sustainable intensification, improved profitability of sorghum and millet; and the scaling up of proven technologies as areas of focal emphasis, the TAAT sorghum and millet compact set out to work on contributing to food and nutrition security in a region where low agricultural productivity and lack of value added are among the main causes of malnutrition, unemployment and poverty on the continent.

Led by the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), in collaboration with National Research and Extension Systems, the sorghum and millet compact targets about 40 to 50% of African farmers with technologies relevant to boosting agricultural productivity and self-sufficiency by 2025.

During the 2019 rainy season, the compact, in collaboration with the TAAT Water Enabler Compact (TAAT-WEC) selected Burkina Faso and Mali to host the demonstration of climate smart technologies.

The TAAT-WEC is led by International Water Management Institute (IWMI). The Water Compact promotes low-cost and easy-to-deploy irrigation and water management technologies to small-scale farmers across Africa.

 

Zai, Half-moon and CLT Technologies

 

The technologies identified for the demonstration are Zai, Half-moons and Contour Lines Technique. These are mainly soil and water conservation technologies.

Zai refers to planting pit dug in degraded land, amended with organic manure which is meant to collect run-off water and restore the productivity of the soil.

Sorghum or millet seeds are planted in the pits.

Half-moons on the other hand, form structure made in degraded land and amended with organic manure which collects run-off water and is planted with sorghum or millet.

Zai pits and half-moon ditches can increase yields even in the first year. The farmer does not need to wait for the land to fully regenerate before sowing.

The soil remains bare between Zai pits, but inside the hole the earth is damp and fertile. The pit collects and retains moisture and prevents the rich soil and seeds from being washed away by the rain.

These technologies were displayed in Burkina Faso using the famer field school approach, while the contour lines technique (CLT) was presented to farmers in Mali using the demonstration plot approach.

Contour lines technique refers to lines of stones installed on degraded land following the contour lines. They are meant to reduce run-off and spread run-off water in the field.

In both countries, abandoned bare lands, which traditional famers believe are not suitable for cultivation, were used with the compact selecting the sites and the relevant crop varieties in both cases.

According to Dr Dougbeji Fatondji, TAAT Sorghum and Millet Compact Leader, “the objective of this activity is to demonstrate to the farmers, technologies that can help them produce and increase crop productivity under the current weather variability and climate change conditions.

 

Farmer field school approach in Burkina Faso

 

Kapelga, a sorghum variety (white grain and early maturing) was used in the district of Toma. It is a variety that is under promotion in the province and beyond by Federation des Professionnels Agricole du Burkina (FEPAB).

In the district of Boussoma, ICSV1049 a variety promoted in the Sanmentenga province was used. 

Both varieties were grown in half-hectare of half-moon and half-hectare of Zai. The half hectare planted with the same varieties was used as control using the farmer’s practice.

The two sorghum varieties were selected based on the agro-ecological characteristics. Planting was done on the same day at each site.

In Toma, the field was managed by FEPAB (25 farmers with 9 of them being females) and in Boussouma it was managed by 30 farmers – 13 females and 17 males.

Two field days were organized in each site, during heading and during maturity stages.

The second day of the farmer field school presented an opportunity to harvest and estimate with farmers, the yield of the different technologies.

 

Demonstration plot approach in Mali

In Sorofing, one of the selected villages, the TAAT Water Enabler Compact (TAAT-WEC) trained farmers on how to design the contour lines by automatic reading method.

Mr Dramane Male, a farmer applied the CLT on 2.0 hectare of Fadda. Despite the end of season’s drought, the plants remained green with good soil moisture.

Dramane said that the CLT stopped the runoffs.

“If this were to be the traditional method in a similar rainy season, I would have lost all my crops because of drought,” he added. He promised to apply the CLT in all the areas of his fields with pronounced slopes.

On the 0.5-hectare, Yaya Male, another farmer, applied the CLT, the plants are well developed with big stems and green leaves.

A field day was organized at Foh to showcase the performance of the demonstrated technology to farmers. 

About 10 research and development institutions including a private seed company and many farmers were represented at the event which was covered by Office de Radiodiffusion-Télévision du Mali (ORTM), the country’s national television station.

During the visit to the plot of Pierre Diarra in Kourouma, Dr. Kalifa Traore, from the Institut d’Economie Rurale (IER), explained the methodology deployed – from farmers’ sensitization to training and practical exercises on the CLT.

In addition to the proposed variety (Tiandougou Coura), the farmer used his own local variety to see if the crop performance was not linked to the varietal differences.

The results were self-explanatory and amazing. The plot under CLT produced good plants with large panicles compared to the control (low plant stand due to runoffs).

“I usually abandon this particular field because of the runoffs,” Pierre Diarra said.

“With this exposure to the CLT now, I promise to apply the CLT in all problematic soils for all crops,” Pierre aded.

The local authorities led by the Deputy Mayor, Michel Traore, thanked the team for the technology deployed in his community. He equally called for continuous support aimed at taking the technology beyond borders.

On his part, he promised to include the CLT technique in their local Development Plan (PDSEC).

Participants from other communities also requested for similar training on CLT. This elicited a positive response from farmers organizations Platform (AOPP) and the local Chamber of Agriculture (CRA) who pledged to organise more training sessions in collaboration with the TAAT programme.

 

Sorghum is the fifth most produced grain globally.

This two-meter tall plant from the grass family is often grown in regions that have high temperatures and lower rainfall. In wetter regions, its production is lower than that of more lucrative crops such as rice and maize.

Sorghum is a particularly essential crop in Africa, second to maize, as the staple grain for millions of people.

Although it is mainly consumed as a grain, sorghum is also prepared into a wide variety of other food products such as porridge, bread, lactic and alcoholic beverages, and weaning meals.

 

Africa’s third top producer of sorghum

 

Sorghum is the main cereal crop grown in Burkina Faso, with more than 1.5 million hectares. Along with pearl millet, it is the staple diet of rural populations in the Sub-Sahelian regions.

Burkina Faso is the continent’s third top producer of sorghum (after Nigeria and Sudan)

In spite of various interventions, its productivity remains low, with an average yield of approximately one tonne per hectare. Many factors have contributed to the decreased productivity, including demographic pressure, ecological degradation, loss of soil fertility, and water erosion.

Other factors include negative effect of dry spells on crop growth and yield, negative effect of end of season drought, scarcity of organic amendment, improved seed and other farm inputs and output.

 

The Sahel as a bread basket

 

To address these constraints, and with a view to transforming the Sahel into a bread basket, the African Development Bank (AfDB), in 2018, launched the Sorghum and Millet Compact of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT).

The compact, according to the bank, spearheads the bold plan to transform Sorghum and Millet in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and Chad.

TAAT’s main objective is to improve the business of agriculture across Africa by raising agricultural productivity, mitigating risks and promoting diversification and processing in 18 agricultural value chains within eight Priority Intervention Areas (PIA).

The programme increases agricultural productivity through the deployment of proven and high-performance agricultural technologies at scale along selected nine commodity compacts which include sorghum and millet.

These work with six enabler compacts addressing transversal issues such as soil fertility management, water management, capacity development, policy support, attracting African youth in agribusiness and fall armyworm response.

With sustainable intensification, improved profitability of sorghum and millet; and the scaling up of proven technologies as areas of focal emphasis, the TAAT sorghum and millet compact set out to work on contributing to food and nutrition security in a region where low agricultural productivity and lack of value added are among the main causes of malnutrition, unemployment and poverty on the continent.

Led by the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), in collaboration with National Research and Extension Systems, the sorghum and millet compact targets about 40 to 50% of African farmers with technologies relevant to boosting agricultural productivity and self-sufficiency by 2025.

During the 2019 rainy season, the compact, in collaboration with the TAAT Water Enabler Compact (TAAT-WEC) selected Burkina Faso and Mali to host the demonstration of climate smart technologies.

The TAAT-WEC is led by International Water Management Institute (IWMI). The Water Compact promotes low-cost and easy-to-deploy irrigation and water management technologies to small-scale farmers across Africa.

 

Zai, Half-moon and CLT Technologies

 

The technologies identified for the demonstration are Zai, Half-moons and Contour Lines Technique. These are mainly soil and water conservation technologies.

Zai refers to planting pit dug in degraded land, amended with organic manure which is meant to collect run-off water and restore the productivity of the soil.

Sorghum or millet seeds are planted in the pits.

Half-moons on the other hand, form structure made in degraded land and amended with organic manure which collects run-off water and is planted with sorghum or millet.

Zai pits and half-moon ditches can increase yields even in the first year. The farmer does not need to wait for the land to fully regenerate before sowing.

The soil remains bare between Zai pits, but inside the hole the earth is damp and fertile. The pit collects and retains moisture and prevents the rich soil and seeds from being washed away by the rain.

These technologies were displayed in Burkina Faso using the famer field school approach, while the contour lines technique (CLT) was presented to farmers in Mali using the demonstration plot approach.

Contour lines technique refers to lines of stones installed on degraded land following the contour lines. They are meant to reduce run-off and spread run-off water in the field.

In both countries, abandoned bare lands, which traditional famers believe are not suitable for cultivation, were used with the compact selecting the sites and the relevant crop varieties in both cases.

According to Dr Dougbeji Fatondji, TAAT Sorghum and Millet Compact Leader, “the objective of this activity is to demonstrate to the farmers, technologies that can help them produce and increase crop productivity under the current weather variability and climate change conditions.

 

Farmer field school approach in Burkina Faso

 

Kapelga, a sorghum variety (white grain and early maturing) was used in the district of Toma. It is a variety that is under promotion in the province and beyond by Federation des Professionnels Agricole du Burkina (FEPAB).

In the district of Boussoma, ICSV1049 a variety promoted in the Sanmentenga province was used. 

Both varieties were grown in half-hectare of half-moon and half-hectare of Zai. The half hectare planted with the same varieties was used as control using the farmer’s practice.

The two sorghum varieties were selected based on the agro-ecological characteristics. Planting was done on the same day at each site.

In Toma, the field was managed by FEPAB (25 farmers with 9 of them being females) and in Boussouma it was managed by 30 farmers – 13 females and 17 males.

Two field days were organized in each site, during heading and during maturity stages.

The second day of the farmer field school presented an opportunity to harvest and estimate with farmers, the yield of the different technologies.

 

Demonstration plot approach in Mali

In Sorofing, one of the selected villages, the TAAT Water Enabler Compact (TAAT-WEC) trained farmers on how to design the contour lines by automatic reading method.

Mr Dramane Male, a farmer applied the CLT on 2.0 hectare of Fadda. Despite the end of season’s drought, the plants remained green with good soil moisture.

Dramane said that the CLT stopped the runoffs.

“If this were to be the traditional method in a similar rainy season, I would have lost all my crops because of drought,” he added. He promised to apply the CLT in all the areas of his fields with pronounced slopes.

On the 0.5-hectare, Yaya Male, another farmer, applied the CLT, the plants are well developed with big stems and green leaves.

A field day was organized at Foh to showcase the performance of the demonstrated technology to farmers. 

About 10 research and development institutions including a private seed company and many farmers were represented at the event which was covered by Office de Radiodiffusion-Télévision du Mali (ORTM), the country’s national television station.

During the visit to the plot of Pierre Diarra in Kourouma, Dr. Kalifa Traore, from the Institut d’Economie Rurale (IER), explained the methodology deployed – from farmers’ sensitization to training and practical exercises on the CLT.

In addition to the proposed variety (Tiandougou Coura), the farmer used his own local variety to see if the crop performance was not linked to the varietal differences.

The results were self-explanatory and amazing. The plot under CLT produced good plants with large panicles compared to the control (low plant stand due to runoffs).

“I usually abandon this particular field because of the runoffs,” Pierre Diarra said.

“With this exposure to the CLT now, I promise to apply the CLT in all problematic soils for all crops,” Pierre aded.

The local authorities led by the Deputy Mayor, Michel Traore, thanked the team for the technology deployed in his community. He equally called for continuous support aimed at taking the technology beyond borders.

On his part, he promised to include the CLT technique in their local Development Plan (PDSEC).

Participants from other communities also requested for similar training on CLT. This elicited a positive response from farmers organizations Platform (AOPP) and the local Chamber of Agriculture (CRA) who pledged to organise more training sessions in collaboration with the TAAT programme.


KAMPALA, Uganda (PAMACC News) - As climatic conditions continue to disrupt normal rainfall patterns, drying up rivers and streams, the African Ministers’ Council on Water is now seeking to understand groundwater, following numerous studies that have shown that it is key to building resilience.

“The volume of groundwater in Africa is estimated at 0.66 million km3, which is more than 100 times the annual renewable freshwater resources, but since it is hidden underground, it remains under-valued and underutilized,” said Dr Paul Orengoh, the Director of Programs at African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW).

This comes after a recent study led by scientists from University College London (UCL) and published in the Nature Journal suggested that groundwater in the Sub Saharan Africa region was resilient to extreme climate conditions, making it a key resource for climate change adaptation.

To examine how groundwater is replenished, Prof Richard Taylor of UCL together with several other scientists from different institutions abroad and in collaboration with their counterparts in Africa examined how different aquifers behaved with different rainfall patterns.

"Our results suggest that the intense rainfall brought about by global warming strongly favours the renewal of groundwater resources,” said Prof Taylor noting that over half the world's population is predicted to live in the tropics by 2050, and therefore dependence on groundwater as a resource will continue to rise.

And now, AMCOW has formed an initiative that will help member states understand their water resources, manage it sustainable, and use it for poverty alleviation in their respective countries.

“The AMCOW Pan-African Groundwater Programme shortened as APAGroP seeks to improve the policy and practice of groundwater in Africa for better lives and livelihoods in all the 55 member countries,” said Orengoh.

Studies have shown that at least 320 million people in Africa lack access to safe water supplies, and therefore developing groundwater resources sustainably, according to experts, is a realistic way of meeting this need across Africa.

APAGroP therefore comes in to bridge the knowledge deficits gap around groundwater on the continent.

Through the initiative, AMCOW seeks to support Member States to develop, manage, and utilize water resources to assure water, food and energy security in Africa. “WASH has historically attracted prime attention. Strategy is raising the priority given to water for food, energy and industrial production,” said Orengoh.

Speaking at the recently concluded African Water Association (AfWA) forum in Kampala Uganda, Dr Callist Tindimugaya, the Commissioner for Water Resources Planning and Regulation Ministry of Water and Environment in Uganda said that there is need to to support and implement APAGrop- from transboundary to local scale.

“APAGrop should have a strong link with all Regional Economic Communities, River Basin Organisations and member states for easy implementation,” he said. “These regional organisations and member states can contribute through actual implementation on the ground, capacity building, resource mobilization, and advocacy,” noted Dr Tindimugaya.

Apart from regional platforms and member states, AMCOW seeks to work in close collaboration with consumptive sectors, which include agriculture, water supply, industry, among others through appropriate platforms.
Others are research-to-use organizations and associations such as the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH), Civil Society Organisations, the private sector and international bodies and organiosations.

“By the end of the day, we expect to have increased knowledge base on groundwater resources, strengthened groundwater networks, strengthened capacity for groundwater development and management across all member states, and strengthened multi-purpose and sustainable use of groundwater to enhance water and food security and climate resilience,” said Dr Orengoh.

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