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But farmers will have to convince the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) that the pest free zones being established in Counties are succeeding in weeding out the mango fruit fly, according to Esther Kimani, the managing director of at KEPHIS.To win the confidence of importers for instance, plastic traps set up in pest free zones must be able to prove that no single fruit fly has been caught there for days.“When we get to that level where the trap does not capture anything, that is when now we can write to our trading partners and tell them that we have established a pest free area for mango production,” says Kimani.Kenya lost the lucrative EU market for mango exports between 2010 and 2014, forcing farmers to hawk their fruits locally for as low as two Kenya shillings due to overproduction.Still, the pressures of climate change like prolonged drought and floods has affected mango production in the country, with experts linking extreme weather to the rapid multiplication of the fruit fly.“The mango is the second most produced fruit in the country after the banana. But fruit fly infestation led to the ban on exports to the EU market,” says Makueni County governor, Kivutha Kibwana, adding that the pest causes between 40 to 80 percent of mango losses in Kenya.Data by TechnoServe indicates that about 49,098 hectares of land are under mango plantation in Kenya, producing 779,147 metric tonnes of the fruit valued at Ksh. 11.9 billion.Only six counties in Kenya, Keiyo, Marakwet, Tharaka Nithi, Tana river, Makueni, Kilifi and Kwale, have established pest free areas for mango farming.A pest free area can reduce post-harvest losses due to fruit fly infestation by about 50 percent.“We want to make the culture of good agricultural practice a way of life for our farmers,” says Kimani.
PRESS RELEASE The National Initiatives for Sustainable and Climate-smart Oil Palm Smallholders (NISCOPS) has been launched by Solidaridad in Accra, Ghana. NISCOPS is a five year strategic programme aimed to among others Enable governments in key oil palm producing countries to support and work with farmers towards more sustainable, climate smart palm oil production as well as contribute to Paris Agreement, Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)objectives and the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs).The programme is being implemented in Africa (Ghana and Nigeria) and Asia (Indonesia and Malaysia) with the initial funding support from the Government of the Netherlands. The programme has an inception year (2019) with the implementation phase I from 2020 to 2023 and implementation phase II from 2024 and beyond.The Regional Director, Solidaridad West Africa, Mr. Isaac Gyamfiduring the launch of the programme in Accra, Ghana and the inauguration of the programme National Advisory Committee (NAC), says, “We make bold here to saySolidaridad is in term with the current global and local realities especially on climate change and agriculture and we are now using our over 50 years’ experience of both foot and brain on the ground through our works to contribute to shaping practices and policies at local, districts, national and global levels”Solidaridad has been in Ghana’s Oil palm landscape since 2012 promoting yield intensification at both the farm and mill levels through introduction of Best Management Practices (BMP) and improved processing technology respectively. The organization have also supported the revitalization of the Oil Palm Development Association of Ghana (OPDAG). Solidaridad have also played a role in the establishment of the Tree Crops Development Authority. These have been implemented under our Sustainable West Africa Oil Palm Program (SWAPP).Analysis from SWAPP shows that an average farm yield of at least 12tons/ha/year for existing farms coupled with oil extraction rate of 18% will make Ghana self-sufficient in Crude Palm Oil (CPO) production. This can only be realised when among other interventions such as BMP, great attention is paid to the impacts of climate change on the sector as well as the contribution of the oil palm sector to climate change.In his presentation during the event, Dr. Samson Samuel Ogallah, Solidaridad Senior Climate Specialist for Africa and the NISCOPS Technical Coordinator stated that the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the programme is built on the three pillars of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) of Productivity, Adaptation and Mitigation. Dr. Ogallah added that the programme in addition to its contribution to the NDCs and SDGs of the four countries,aimed to further buildcapacity of smallholders(organizations) and local institutions to improve performance as well as support development of landscape level mechanismsto operate in ‘vulnerable’ landscapes prone to deforestation.In her speech at the event, Katja Lasseur, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Ghana, expressed the commitment of the Government of the Netherlands to the programme and call on other partners and stakeholders to come on board in order to achieve the laudable objectives of the programme. The Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr.…
MADRID, Spain (PAMACC News) - A new study that was recently published in the Nature scientific journal shows that groundwater is one of the most climate resilient natural resources especially for the African continent. This is contrary to the earlier understanding by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Fifth Assessment Report , that groundwater was susceptible to climate change in dryland areas. Though it was not a big subject for major discussions at the 2019 UN Conference of Parties (COP25) on climate change in Madrid, experts believe that groundwater will be at the centre of climate adaptation particularly for African countries. Richard Taylor, a Professor of Hydrogeology from University College London (UCL) and one of the lead researchers of the Nature study explained to IPS why groundwater should be a focal point for climate discussions. Q. How important is groundwater to climate change adaptation especially in Africa? A. Groundwater plays a fundamental role in enabling communities in Africa to adapt to climate change. As our world warms, rainfall becomes less frequent but more intensive resulting in longer droughts and worsening floods - changes that occur most strongly in the tropics. Adapting to this greater variability in water resources relies on the ability to draw water from stores such as groundwater or to store water in dams for example. Groundwater, which comprises 99 percent of the Earth’s liquid water, amounts to more than 100 times that of annual river discharge in Africa. For cities in Africa that have recently experienced severe droughts such as Cape Town and Dar es Salaam, groundwater has played a critical role in enabling residents in those cities to adapt to water scarcity. Less frequent rainfalls also reduce crop yields. Increasing cropland irrigation is a critical strategy to improve food security in Africa under climate change. As smallholder farmers account for the vast majority of food production in Sub-Saharan Africa, distributed groundwater supplies are often the most cost-effective and sustainable sources of water for irrigation. Q. How resilient or vulnerable is groundwater to climate change? A. Groundwater resources are generally resilient to climate change. Recent evidence from a pan-African study shows that replenishment of groundwater occurs preferentially from heavy rainfalls so that changes in rainfall brought about by climate change favour groundwater replenishment. Alas, these same changes in rainfall reduce soil moisture and lead to greater and more frequent flood events. Q. Why do you think this subject has not been able to attract the attention of climate change negotiators for the past 25 years of negotiation? A. That is a good question. Groundwater is often called the hidden or invisible resource as it lies unseen beneath our feet. Limited understanding of groundwater by both policy makers and engineers means that it is often considered mysterious or unknowable. The impact of climate change on groundwater resources has been largely ignored by the climate change community until last year when it was captured in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. This is surprising in light of the critical…
GULU, Uganda (PAMACC News) - In Amuru District in the northern part of Uganda, 47 Kilometres out of Gulu town, swathes of land under upland rice, pearl millet and the flowery sunn hemp in a place where maize has always been the traditional crop attracts the attention of any visitor in this area. “This is our new cash cow,” says Dominic Kimara, the farm Manager of Omer Farming Company, which has been growing maize on 5,000 hectares of land but has now turned to 100 percent rice production.“Until 2016, we were growing maize on this farm,” says the manager. “But we discovered that rainfall patterns were changing, and so we had to look for an alternative crop that would suit the ever changing climatic conditions.” Experts from the National Agriculture Organisation (NARO) have reported that in the past three years, many farmers in Uganda have abandoned maize to concentrate on rice with most of them opting for upland rice instead of irrigated paddy rice.The latest agriculture survey report by NARO, Uganda government’s owned research organisation indicates that more than 50 percent of rice grown in the country is now coming from the uplands, and consequently, the consumption especially in urban areas has increased considerably.“When I was growing up, rice used to be a Christmas meal because it was a rare one,” notes Robert Kawuki as he enjoyed a rice meal for lunch at the NARO canteen in Namulonge area. “But today, farmers have embraced it, and so people can enjoy it any time, both in the upcountry and in urban areas,” he says.Though upland rice is more sensitive to climate stress than irrigated paddy rice, farmers particularly in Northern Uganda say that latest varieties grown in the area have proven to be more profitable than the maize crop.“Most of the varieties grown by these farmers are the ones we released in 2015, and were bred mainly for drought tolerance, fast maturing and pest and disease resistance, but most importantly, high yielding,” says Dr Jimmy Lamo, the Principal Research Officer working with NARO as the Head of Rice and Maize Research Programme.“According to our latest survey, out of a total of 150,000 hectares under rice production in the country, 90,000 hectares is grown in the uplands without any form of irrigation,” says Dr Lamo, who earned his PhD from the University of KwaZulu-Natal for breeding some of the varieties under support from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).He notes that the switch, mainly from maize to upland rice is a way of responding to the new trends of rainfall patterns in some parts of the country.In Amuru, Omer Company has adopted climate smart farming techniques, and local farmers are following suit.“We grow pearl millet, but it is not for human food. It is for soil health,” he says. When the millet starts flowering, the crop is rolled flat on the ground and left to decompose. The same is done for sunn hemp, which is a leguminous plant with…
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