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OPINIONA recent article in the appearing in one of Kenya’s dailies titled ‘Acidic soils deal blow to food security efforts’ painted a true picture of the soil health condition in some parts of the country. However, it is important to note that soil health is just one of the aspects that determine crop yields. If a farmer plants low quality seed in healthy soils, then the yields will still disappoint. Adoption of good agronomic practices and timing of the planting period based on the prevailing climatic conditions also determines the yields – particularly for farmers who rely on rainfall. Overall having assurance at the marketing end serves as a great incentive for farmers to uptake appropriate seeds, appropriate fertilizers, good agronomic practices and other technologies.It therefore calls for an integrated approach of the above elements augmented with reliable weather and climate information services, and extension service provision to advise farmers on particular agronomical practices based on agroecological zones.It is also important to note that as much as Kenyan soils are already ‘sick,’ there is a lot happening on the ground with various organizations working out solutions to the existing problems as Kenya walk towards a green revolution and self reliance.In 2014 for example, with support from the World Bank and the European Union, the National Accelerated Agricultural Inputs Access Programme (NAAIAP) in collaboration with Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Research Organization (KALRO) and the Department of Kenya Soil Survey undertook a study to evaluate soil suitability for maize production in Kenya, where over 4000 soil samples were analyzed. One of the aims of this survey was to identify key soil fertility constraints so as to improve crop yield within the project areas, and to provide recommendations of most appropriate fertilizer formulation/blend for the cropping systems and soil fertility combinations.As a result, there was no one all inclusive recommendation for Kenyan farmers. Different counties and sub-counties had different types of soils that required different forms of interventions to meet the crop nutrients demand for improved productivity.Following these results, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) commissioned another study in 2018, which identified some key issues constraining the effectiveness of the Kenyan fertilizer system. One of them was lack of awareness among smallholder famers about the availability of fertilizer blends in the market.But even worse, the study reported inadequate knowledge and capacity among the fertilizer companies to manufacture appropriate balanced fertilizer blends and other soil amelioration inputs such as lime.In addition, some of the lime producing companies continues to produce the powder form of lime while others have granulated lime all of which are of different quality and reactivity hence different application rates are recommended to farmers. The study further found that some of the companies do not even have capacity to granulate the lime. There is also need to explore possibilities of blending the multi-nutrient fertilizers with the granulated lime to reduce labour costs for farmers.Until recently, the country had relied predominantly on commodity fertilizers DAP, NPK, urea and CAN.…
Press statement It is now official: Chile will not host COP25. In a speech on Wednesday, President Sebastian Piñera blamed a fortnight of civil unrest for the 11th hour cancelation. The fallouts that led to Chile’s withdrawal from hosting COP25 have been immediate. The UNFCCC is now in a frantic search for an alternative venue. Across the world, governments and other actors of the global climate change movement are grappling with logistical headaches. It is the first time a host has pulled the plugs on a major climate change gathering. In every sense, the organisational challenges that will beset the coming weeks will be huge, widespread and will leave long-terms consequences. It also creates a leadership crisis. Chile plans to continue chairing COP25 despite not hosting the summit. If the UNFCCC eventually finds a new venue, as it would likely do, it would take exceptional leadership to coordinate between Chile, the new host and the UNFCCC Secretariat. Even then, COP25 would, at best, be cast in the shadow of the Chilean crisis and the consequences of its last-minute change of heart. The cancellation of Santiago 2019 was to be expected. Chile’s ongoing political unrests are the worst in nearly two decades. Transport infrastructure has been severely damaged in Santiago and there are no signs that the security situation in the country will improve significantly to host thousands of delegates to the climate change summit. Even then, rumours of this eventuality began spreading during SB50 in Bonn, Germany last June . With little prevision, the chaos caused by the last-minute withdrawal could have been minimised. President Piñera has demonstrated a lack of foresight in his management of the COP25 chairmanship. Only last week, he was still adamant that the country would host the climate summit, as well as the Asia Pacific Economic Forum. Yet, it now appears no plans were made to deal with a damaged transport system in Santiago and the obvious logistical and security challenges of hosting thousands of people from around the world. This will be a huge loss for Chile. The choice of Santiago to host the COP25 seemed sensible in many ways. Until the recent unrests, Chile was one of the most stable countries in Latin America. It was a significantly better option to Brazil, which had just elected a climate change-denier and fiercely right-wing President. Chile was preferred over Costa Rica on the assumption that it had a better capacity to deal with the huge logistical challenges that come with hosting a COP. In the end, it is these assumptions that have helped expose the precarity of Chilean politics. We believe attention should now turn to President Piñera’s handling of the ongoing crisis and its fallouts. Respecting the rights of citizens is fundamental to our collective effort to address climate change and the range of intertwined challenges that now face humanity. We can no longer have governments that cannot assure the rights of its people at the helm of global climate change negotiations. Clearly, Chile…
MOGADISHU, Somalia (PAMACC News) – The United Nations envoy to Somalia today voiced his concern over the flooding affecting thousands of people mainly in the southern parts of the country, and highlighted the world body’s willingness to support efforts to provide aid to those affected. “I am saddened by the heavy toll that the floods are taking on the people of Somalia, and deeply concerned about the situation of people who have lost homes and livelihoods,” said the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan. “I extend my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and wish a speedy recovery to all injured and affected by the flooding,” he added. “The United Nations stands ready to work with Somalia’s federal and regional authorities to support affected communities.”Tens of thousands of people have been displaced, and casualties have been reported. Farmland, infrastructure and roads have been destroyed, and livelihoods disrupted in some of the worst-hit areas.Heavy seasonal rains triggered floods along the Juba and Shabelle rivers in Hirshabelle, Jubaland and South West states. Flash flooding was also reported in Benadir region, Jowhar in Hirshabelle, and Ceel Cade and Jamame in Jubaland. “I want to thank the Government of Somalia for demonstrating leadership by setting up an inter-ministerial committee to coordinate flood response with state authorities,” the UN envoy said.“The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and its humanitarian partners are working with the authorities to quickly deliver live-saving assistance to affected people,” Mr. Swan added. “The World Food Programme is deploying a helicopter dedicated to support humanitarian response efforts in Belet Weyne and other affected locations. I’m grateful to the UN Support Office in Somalia for the temporary use of helicopters to assist in carrying out search-and-rescue operations despite pressing operational demands.”
BAFOUSAM, Cameroon (PAMACC News) - Heavy and persistent week long rains triggered deadly landslide on Tuesday 29 October in Bafoussam, West of Cameroon, killing over 50 persons. Many more are believed to be still buried in the mud as search for more corpses continue, state authorities announced shortly after the sad incident. "We can now confirm that over 50 lives have been lost in the incident and close to fifteen houses have been buried in mud," said Cameroon minister of territorial administration,Paul AtangaNji in a press briefing after visiting the site yesterday. The minister said 80% of those killed are children between 6-15 years and women. The landslide, which occurred at around 10.30 pm after over a week-long of heavy rains, caught the rural population in their sleep,said the governor of the West region, Away Gonna Augustine. Major recovery efforts are ongoing in the area,government has announced. Military and the local population say they are using shovel and local tool in their search . "We fear using complex machines might hurt someone who could have been saved," said a military officer on the site.Residents who survived the accident said they heard a loud noise while asleep and quickly rushed out " I heard a loud bang and jumped out of bed only to discover part of the house has been covered with mud and two of my children trapped under. The rescue team that came in hours later managed to rescue the," said Divine Ngambou, survivor of the landslide. The minister of territorial administration and that of urban development have issued orders for the population living on the flanks of the hilly area to evacuate. Rains have been very heavy in most parts of Cameroon in the past few months causing flooding and destroying property,environment experts say. "These prolonged rains are clear signs of climate change. This was not the case in the past.". said Epie Joseph head of meteorology in the ministry of environment.. Floods and landslides he said are triggered by climate abnormality. Cameroon President Paul Biya has ordered for immediate financial assistance to be provided to the victims,while receiving treatment in the hospitals are getting it for free.
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