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LAMU, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Lamu residents in Kenya's coastal region through their Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have called on the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to pull up their socks in the conservation of the currently degrading environments of the Island. Speaking during a three-day workshop organised by the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) in partnership with the Open Society Initiative for East Africa (OSIEA) through the Kenya Platform for Climate Governance (KPCG)on proper land use planning for community climate resilience, Ishaq Abubakar of Save Lamu, accused NEMA of being directly linked to all the environmental problems; including destruction of the ocean and sea life, hunger and increased poverty, unprecedented destruction of mangroves amongst other challenges currently experienced in the Island. In responding to the accusation, Joshua KahindiYeri of NEMAin Lamu County admitted to a few of the challenges but asked for continued collaboration and partnership, especially during environmental impact assessments to ensure the wrongs are over-written. “Ndio, hatukataimakosamoja au mbili yalitokea, lakini kwa sasatunawahitajituungemikonopamojamanakemkonomojahalivunjichawa. (We agree that one or two mistakes have happened during our watch, it is not true that all environmental problems in Lamu have been caused by NEMA. Let’s unite and forge ahead),” stated MrKahindi.He further explained that given functions, including air quality, waste management that NEMA was responsible for, had since moved to the county government Department of Public Health and Environment. “While we are a coordinating body, we implement the Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA), which is very keen on integration of land uses for community climate resilience,” Kahindiadded, as he explained the process of environmental impact assessment as a tool and process for deciding land use plans and climate resilience. In attendance at the three day workshop were key county departments likePublic Health and Environment, the Department of Agriculture, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Lamu Water and Sewerage Company, the Fisheries Department and several other key departments of the county and CSO actors relevant to land use planning and climate resilience. Matthias Muavita of KWS said: "KWS is very keen on promoting resilience at the community level through the implementation of the Wildlife Conservation Act." The workshop, held at SunSail Hotel, aimed at capacity building the community on the nexus between land use planning and climate change,providing a platform for the community to dialogue with the respective county officials and identifying potential action points; based on the county spatial plan for action for enhanced community resilience in the county. The LAPSSET project and its seven components, the coal power plant, the Blue Economy were among those identified by the CSOs as the potential projects that will likely disrupt their land use plans and cumulatively lead to adverse impacts of climate change if not relooked by the authorities involved. The KPCG, Lamu Chapter also signed anMoU with the localSifa FMchampion spread of information on the nexus between land use planning and climate change and ensure increased advocacy for the good of the local ecosystem. KPCG lead Meryne Warah said: "The future and…
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Hundreds of farmers in Tranzoia County have switched from common fertilisers that have for decades been promoted by the government to blended non-acidifying fertilisers, and as a result, the county government says that annual maize yield has increased by one million 90 kilogram bags per season, for the past three seasons. According to Dr Stanley Kenei Tarus, the Deputy Governor for Tranzoia County, farmers were already counting losses due to the declining soil fertility across the county.His sentiments were echoed by the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, who said that in the past 12 years, the government has been supplying farmers with the same type of fertilizers, thereby helping farmers poison the soils. So far, according to Munya, 19 million acres of land especially in Nyanza region, Western parts of the country and within the Rift Valley are already acidic. “We must change the way we do things if we have to improve food productivity,” said the CS during the launch of an electronic voucher system which will be used to deliver subsidised farm inputs to smallholder farmers.According to Tarus, the switch from straight fertilizers to blended ones was a long journey that involved scientific surveys. “We first started with soil testing in 2013 to find out why yields were declining,” said Dr Tarus. “As a result, we found that apart from the changing climatic conditions, all our soils across the county were already acidic because farmers continually applied straight fertilisers just to provide two nutrients - nitrogen and phosphorous,” he said.It was then that the county officials begun encouraging farmers to conduct soil testing, and use appropriate blended fertilisers which have more nutrients than the normal CAN, DAP and Urea. As a result, reports the Deputy Governor, yields across the county have improved by one million bags. “This good news to us because farmers now have more food and they can make more money from the same pieces of land,” he said. Philemon Olembo a smallholder farmer from Mawe-tatu village in the heart of Tranzoia County is one of the farmers who have embraced the use of blended non-acidifying fertilisers.“In the past two seasons that I have used blended fertilisers, yield from my two and a half acres of land has increased by eight bags,” said Olembo, noting that the increment is more than enough to sustain his family of three children for a whole year. “I do not know much about fertiliser contents, but I learned about the non-acidifying fertilisers from a local radio program and I decided to try it out,” said Olembo.A 2019 report by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) show that cultivation with acidifying fertiliser applications (or without any inputs) leads to a decline of pH of one unit in 5 to 10 years.Apart from soils becoming acidic due to constant use of some farm inputs, experts say that plants need more than 10 key nutrients for proper growth, and they will always extract such nutrients…
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries has committed to building resilient food systems by investing more in technology with respect to food production. During a COVID-19 virtual conference convened by the Council of Governors (CoG) on 31st August, 2020, and hosted by President Uhuru Kenyatta, the leaders also agreed to mainstream climate change within annual budgets to promote community resilience during pandemics. The overall objective of the conference was to reflect on the government’s COVID-19 response efforts, challenges so as to recommend strategic policy measures that can be adopted by both levels of government in readiness for future pandemics.In his remarks, John Macharia, the Country Manager for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa lauded the quick efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture in putting in place the food security war room that has effectively coordinated activities of national, county, private sector and development partners. “As we think of a paradigm shift, it is important to think more of resilient food systems as opposed to value chain sustainability,” Macharia told the conference which was also attended by the Deputy President, William Ruto, all the Governors, some Cabinet Secretaries and different stakeholders. “COVID-19 has shown us the interconnectedness of health, education and agriculture. As such, we need to focus on the development of resilient food systems that are cognizant of the nexus between water, nutrition, food security and the environment,” said Macharia. President Kenyatta as well reiterated the need for the country to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic moving forward. “We must build positive resilience out of the COVID experience,” he said.AGRA has been working with different counties across the country to promote food productivity through building capacities of smallholder farmers and supporting government activities. So far, the ration between extension officers and small holder farmers in Kenya is approximately 1:5000. To this end, AGRA has collaborated with counties to promote the concept of Village Based Advisers (VBA). The VBAs are usually trained in partnership with seed and fertilizer companies on how to teach farmers on the use of the appropriate maize varieties, correct spacing of seed, placement of fertilizer and other good agricultural practices including control of the Fall Armyworm. “I would like to highlight here the work of Governor James Nyoro of Kiambu and the Governor Martin Wambora of Embu, who are piloting private sector-led extension approaches therough the VBA model,” Macharia told the Council of Governor’s conference. The conference came up with resolutions that will be used as reference points as the country continue to develop resilience to the COVID-19 pandemic.
PRESS RELEASE YAOUNDE, Cameroon: The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) has called on Africa and its people to rise against any trade deals and plans that may render their streets and communities a dumping ground for US waste. The Alliance, with at least 1,000 civil society organisations in 48 African countries under its fold, has especially condemned any plans by oil companies to have a trade deal that would benefit them but weaken Kenya’s rules on plastics and imports of American trash. In a statement sent to newsrooms today (September 2nd 2020), PACJA’s Executive Director Mithika Mwenda any such plan to “flood Africa with plastics” would be diabolic “and the oil companies and governments behind this endeavour must be shamed and stopped”. “Africa already receives millions of tonnes of waste from western countries annually. The World Bank estimates that by 2050 waste generated in Sub-Saharan Africa will triple. Right now, 80 per cent to 90 per cent of plastic waste is inadequately disposed of in many countries across Africa,” said Dr Mithika, adding that this posed threats to rivers and oceans. He was responding to statements appearing in credible media websites insinuating that “faced with plunging profits and a climate crisis that threatens fossil fuels, (Big Oil) is demanding a trade deal that weakens Kenya’s rules on plastics and on imports of American trash”. Dr Mithika said waste mismanagement was projected to increase on the African continent, and that any additional burden of plastics imports would make it difficult for people and nature to thrive. “We cannot let this happen,” he said. He called upon the US government to be transparent in its dealings with African countries, noting that it was a glaring concern that already the American leadership had aided the country’s withdrawal from the 2015 Paris Agreement, yet it was responsible for 18 per cent of the total global emissions. “It is, therefore, wicked and immoral for the US government and its corporate interests to pursue actions likely to cause further havoc and exacerbate existing environmental crises in African countries,” Mithika said. He urged the US government to ensure any of its dealings in Africa were in line with or supported through continued investments in healthcare, sustainable food systems, water, infrastructure to mention a few. The ED urged big oil investors to begin redeeming themselves by redirecting their resources towards supporting de-carbonised growth in Africa through investments in renewable energy uptake and access. “Fossils fuels account for nearly 90 per cent of global emissions of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which with other greenhouse gasses, is responsible for climate change,” Mithika noted.Despite contributing only 4 per cent to global emissions, Africa is among the most vulnerable regions to the impacts of climate change and the least capable to either adapt or contribute to mitigating it. “Big Oil investors should support strides towards an Africa powered by renewable energy and not work to hamper or reverse them,” said Dr Mithika. “Big Oil investors should support strides towards an…
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