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PROFILENAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Joseph Mithika Mwenda never expected to be named among the world's 100 most influential people in climate change policy this year.Despite being the executive director of Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), a civil society organization that champions for a healthy earth, Mwenda never thought that he was on the same level with some of the prominent people in the world. So when the announcement by Apolitical, a global network for governments came, last month, Mwenda’s name was among the 100nominated by hundreds of public servants from around the world, including experts at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Harvard University, Oxford University, Bloomberg Philanthropies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The list has people currently making the biggest impact on climate change policy including government ministers, academics, environmental activists and the church where Catholic’s Pope Francis is from. The list recognizes include high-profile advocates whose work is indispensable to raising awareness and demanding change. Others are young rising stars who are making their mark in local communities and are a driving force behind governmental progress. “I was in Ghana attending a climate change conference and when this announcement was done I didn’t have an iota of imagination that I could be in such a distinguished roll. I learnt of it in a peculiar way people were greeting me…congratulating me on the accomplishment. That’s when I learnt that I was in the same league with top celebrities, religious leaders and politicians in the world. It is still a humbling recognition,” Mwenda said.Mwenda, who comes from Meru County said he has dedicated the last decade in building PACJA since a small group of people met at Johannesburg’s suburb of Sandton, South Africa in 2008 and expressed desire to have a unified platform on climate change and environment in Africa.“It has been a fulfilling journey, a journey of ups and downs but we eventually arrived where we wanted. Am happy I have contributed, together with my colleagues and partners across the continent, the most formidable environmental movement in Africa. We most of more than 1000 organisations in 48 countries,” Mwenda said.He said Kenya can be considered a first mover in matters climate change and a pacesetter in policies to address the scourge. “It became the first country in Africa to enact the most comprehensive law on climate change, the Climate Change Act, 2016 which was signed by President Kenyatta in May 2016,” he said. Mwenda said the law puts in place a framework which defines actions to be undertaken by stakeholders to mainstream climate change in the entire political economy of the country. “In addition, several Policies to mainstream the problem have been put in place, including the National Climate Change Action Plan 2018 – 2022. There is also the National Adaptation Plan, the National Green Economy Implementation Strategy, among others,” Mwenda said.He revealed that he and PACJA have played a key role in helping the Kenya government draft climate change legislation.“Together with some colleagues, we reached out to…
OPINIONNAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) – As President Uhuru Kenyatta gave the 2019 Kenya’s State of the Nation Address, he failed to acknowledge a fact that some pastoralist communities were starving due to tough climatic conditions, and also he did not talk about any kind of future intervention to protect livestock in those counties.Despite the little attention it gets, the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) reports that the livestock sub-sector contributes over 30 percent of the farm-gate value of agricultural commodities, about 10 percent of the national GDP and at least 50 percent of the agricultural GDP, thereby employing about 50 percent of the total agricultural labour force.Indeed, the Kenyan president has put food and nutrition security as part of the Big4 Agenda. However, this may not come to pass if nearly all the investment is to be directed to crop production without investing substantially in livestock, especially among pastoral communities who bear the brunt of climate change.Livestock remains the main source of livelihoods for millions of residents in Arid and Semi Arid Land (Asal) communities. These communities feed the 6 million Nairobians with meat every day, whether at the household level or nyama choma in thousands of social joints sprawling across the city and its environs.It therefore means that if the sub-sector was given just a little attention to make it climate smart, and to ensure proper control of emerging pests and diseases, then nobody will die of hunger within the pastoral communities, and the country will possibly earn billions every year from the export market.There are a number of climate smart techniques, of which, if scaled up especially at the county level, then starvation in pastoral communities will become a thing of the past.First, pastoralists need not to rare cattle, but instead, they should be producing cattle. However, this can only happen if county governments or private investors invested in feedlots or feed yard, which is a type of animal feeding operation that is used in intensive animal farming for finishing livestock, notably beef cattle, but also swine, horses, sheep, turkeys, chickens or ducks, prior to slaughter.In feedlots, the animals are not given grass. They are fed on dry protein rich feeds often made of sunflower cakes, barley, soybeans, dried Lucerne grass among others, and water. One acre feedlot for example, can accommodate up to 500 mature cattle, and all of them can be served by two or three people. With protein rich feeds, an animal that was received with say 200 Kilogrammes can easily double it to 400 or even 450 Kilogrammes in just 90 days, depending on its genetic make-up.With this system, pastoralists can now concentrate on keeping animals that can produce calves to be sold to feedlots at an early stage for finishing instead of raring them, then losing them to drought thereafter. This will reduce the population of animals in the rangelands, thereby availing enough pastures for the remaining productive animals.Botwana is one of the African countries that have tried this climate smart…
KARA, Togo (PAMACC News) - With more than 3.4 million hectares of land available, the Togolese government is worried that only 45% is being used presently.The government is equally concerned that despite Togo’s natural comparative advantage in agriculture when compared to other countries, its inability to maximise technologies that will increase productivity and diversify into higher-value-added products has held back the sector’s performance and the country’s economic growth.These and many more concerns dominated Hon. Noël Koutéra Bataka’s speech as the Togolese Minister for Agriculture, Animal Production and Fisheries declared opened today, the 11th National Farmers Forum in Kara, north of Togo.This year’s edition of the forum, which holds under the theme “agricultural transformation hubs to promote Togo’s potentials”, brings together high-level representatives of governments, donor agencies, experts from Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), farmers and women groups from across Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso."This forum is intended to show the agricultural sector in all its and diversity. The government's ambition for the sector is the attainment of a modern, sustainable and technology-driven agriculture with active value chains leading to food security and a strong, inclusive economy, "the minister said.Technologies for agricultural transformationHon Bataka, during a visit to the TAAT stand admitted that the National Farmers Forum remains the best avenue to position Togo’s on-going and new agricultural projects to benefit from TAAT’s proven technologies.Dr Mpoko Bokanga, Head of TAAT Clearinghouse in his response, informed the minister of the active engagement of experts from nine TAAT compacts in the forum. These compacts include aquaculture, maize, livestock, high iron beans, orange-fleshed sweet potato, soil fertility, rice and youth in agribusiness.This engagement, Dr Bokanga said, “is the first of its kind in the implementation of the TAAT programme as it provides an opportunity for TAAT Compacts to link up with funded agricultural development programmes in Togo and leverage their resources to enable TAAT technologies to reach millions of smallholder farmers.”Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) is a programme initiated by the African Development Bank (AfDB) as part of its Feed Africa Initiative.The programme aspires 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).With presence in about 31 African countries, TAAT is already increasing agricultural productivity through the deployment of proven and high-performance agricultural technologies at scale along selected value chains. These include rice, maize, cassava, wheat, sorghum and millet, orange-flesh sweet potato, high-iron beans, Livestock, aquaculture.The programme also provides needed specialist services through six enabler compacts for soil fertility management, water management, capacity building, seed policy, fall army worm control and youth involvement in agribusiness.Agriculture in TogoAgriculture is the most important sector to most Togolese as over 50% of Togo’s estimated seven million people is engaged in agriculture, accounting for nearly 30% of economic activity over the past five years.It employs two-thirds of the active population, who predominantly work on small land holdings. Food crops (mainly cassava, yams, maize, millet, and…
ACCRA, Ghana (PAMACC News) — Mithika Mwenda, the Executive Director of the African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), was today named among the “World’s 100 Most Influential People in Climate Change Policy 2019”. It is the first time such a list, which will become an annual tradition, has been compiled. Only five other Africans are on the list.Apolitical, the global network for government, curated the list after screening hundreds of nominations by public servants from around the world, including experts at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Harvard University, Oxford University, Bloomberg Philanthropies, NGOs and more.“The list highlights people currently making the biggest impact on climate change policy… Those recognized include high-profile advocates whose work is indispensable to raising awareness and demanding change. Others are rising stars who are making their mark in local communities and are a driving force behind governmental progress,” Apolitical said in a statement.Mr Mwenda said in Accra, Ghana, where his organisation is co-hosting the Africa Climate Week with the UNFCCC: “This is a great honour and not only to me as an individual. It is more than anything else a recognition of the work PACJA has put in for more than a decade to shape just, fair and equitable climate policies and action in Africa and globally. I wish to extend my gratitude to all our members, affiliates and partners who have believed in our vision and assure them of our continued commitments to pursue our shared vision in the ensuing transition to a low-emission, climate-resilient future.” The climate policy and action community in Africa has welcomed the distinction.Jame Murombedzi, Chief, Climate Change Unit and Coordinator of Addis Ababa-based Africa Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) said: “It has been evident for some years that effective climate policy and action requires more than state actors. During the build up to COP21 in 2015, there was incredible expectation that the world would deliver a framework capable of regulating climate actions and ensuring that we achieve a stable climate system. This process also recognised that there was a need to engage CSOs and other non-state actors in ensuring a global governance regime and also in holding state actors accountable. “On the African continent, PACJA emerged as the leader in convening African CSOs and mobilising the participation of the civil society in national and global processes. PACJA played a significant role in linking CSOs with Pan-African institutions, such as the Pan-African Parliament, the African Union Commission, NEPAD, the African Development Bank and UNECA. PACJA ensured that the civil society became an important component of continental climate change initiatives, such as the Climate for Development in Africa program (CLIMDEV AFRICA). All of this was achieved under the leadership of Mr Mwenda, who is indeed recognised in African climate change circles as representing a disciplined and consistent position on climate change and development in our continent.”Kwame Ababio, Senior Program Officer, Environmental Governance and Climate Change at the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD said: “The role that PACJA has played to bring together CSOs and…
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