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GABORONE, Botswana (PAMACC News) - Chair of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN), Ephraim Mwepya Shitima has called for African countries to put in place measures to encourage active participation of legislators in climate action. Mr. Shitima notes the important oversight role that Parliaments play in policy making and implementation through their legislative and oversight mandates such as approval and monitoring of national budgets. “Under the Paris Agreement, Parties have made commitments through Nationally Determined Contributions. These national commitments require resources, and our Parliamentarians are critical as they not only approve national budgets but also provide the oversight role of monitoring budget performance and implementation. As AGN, we therefore believe that our law makers across the continent must actively be involved in climate processes. We are grateful to partners such as AGNES for their initiative to engage our parliamentarians, and welcome efforts from other partners to get law makers involved,” said Mr. Shitima. According to the African Group of Negotiators Experts Support (AGNES), despite their critical role, parliaments in Africa are least prepared to effectively participate and play their oversight role on implementation of climate response actions. While legislation has a crucial role to play by capturing political momentum and establishing strong systems to drive delivery of the desired national and international climate commitments, only a few countries in Africa have so far put in place relevant climate change legislation (Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda). Similarly, Parliaments have a fundamental role in budget approval (public expenditure and revenue-raising) decisions and holding government to account. “However, in most countries, there is very little relationship between the NDCs and the national budgets, yet most countries have indicated in their NDCs domestic financing contribution in the implementation of their NDCs,” notes George Wamukoya, AGNES Team Lead. “It is against the foregoing that AGNES has been convening regional parliamentary meetings to engage law makers and raise awareness on their critical role in supporting climate action at international, regional, national and local levels.” After the regional parliamentary meeting for West Africa held earlier in the year, the latest meeting to be convened is the Southern African regional meeting, which opened in Gaborone, Botswana, on 25th September, 2023, organised in with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism of Botswana, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Botswana, the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and other partners. Officially opening the meeting, Botswana’s Acting Minister of Environment and Tourism, Mabuse Pule said climate change legislation must be part of a larger policy framework that supports equitable, sustainable, and inclusive development, Acting Minister of Environment and Tourism, Botswana, Hon. Mabuse Pule. “Climate change action presents numerous significant challenges for legislators,” said Hon. Pule. “For starters, this phenomenon is inextricably tied to a wide range of other challenges and development goals. Climate change will have an extreme and long-term influence on agriculture, food production, energy availability and production, health and water security, to name a few. As a result, climate change legislation must be part of a larger policy framework…
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (PAMACC News) - Sierra Leone has more than 5.4 million hectares of arable land, including bolilands, mangroves, inland valley swamps, and riverine grasslands suitable for growing rice. and other crops. However, the total area cultivated for maize is 7,538 ha, while cassava is cultivated at 155,727 ha. This puts the total area under cultivation at about 10% of the fertile and diverse lands. Limitations to domestic production continue to exist principally as a result of insufficient access to quality seeds (owing to the absence of a formal seed system) around which other practices are applied Although poor access to improved seeds is a prime factor hindering productivity, there are other limiting constraints, which include limited success to fertilizer, pesticides, and mechanization services); low use of improved production technologies, weak institutional and human capacities, and low access to affordable finance. As a result of these constraints, Sierra Leonean farmers cannot compete in the global market, as they struggle with low crop yield and productivity. Over the last decade, several initiatives have supported the Sierra Leonean seed sector. The interventions include the rice seed system and cassava Semi Autotrophic Hydroponics infrastructural support by the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) and the Building an Economically Sustainable Cassava Seed System, Phase 2 (BASICS-II) Project. Sierra Leone has also received support from the African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the World Bank, USAID and other Technical and Financial Partners regarding grants to support the agriculture sector. Previous interventions in Sierra Leone Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) intervened in Sierra Leone through its Rice and Cassava Compacts. In 2021/2022, support was provided through the supply of 1.5 tons of breeder and 30 tons of foundation rice seed for further multiplication by the Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI) and the private sector, respectively. This support engaged SLARI, the private sector, and the Sierra Leone Seed Certification Agency (SLeSCA) to advance hands-on seed multiplication, quality control practices, and capacity development. The Sierra Leone Agri-Business Rice Value Chain Support (SLARiS) Project, in partnership with the IsDB- Regional Rice Value Chain Development Project (RRVCDP), distributed the 101.52 tons of certified seed received under the TAAT Rice Compact facilitation to 1,692 farmers. The paddy yields of these farmers increased by 25−30% compared to farmers who used the local or old varieties, with 2,225,000 Leones as net revenue per hectare. An e-register has been established with 13,851 households and their locations and communities captured. Through the Special Emergency Assistant Facility (SEAF), TAAT facilitated the delivery of 57 MT of rice seed and 10 mt of maize seed in the 2021/2022 cropping season. TAAT, through AfDB’s Africa Emergency Food Production Facility (AEFPF), has registered 6,000 beneficiaries, with an anticipated 8,950 beneficiaries in view. The support and supervision missions with AfDB in Sierra Leone have strengthened partnerships with agricultural development stakeholders and seed industry actors. In addition, the seed system has been regularly reviewed, and recommendations have been provided to improve it. TAAT has rehabilitated and…
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (PAMACC News)The Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone, in collaboration with the for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Sahel Consulting, and the Sasakawa Africa Association, will be hosting a National Seed Business Summit from the 18 – 20 September in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The summit, with the theme, “Building a roadmap for seed sector transformation,” seeks to propel Sierra Leone towards an economically sustainable rice, cassava, maize and soybean seed system. The roll call of speakers at this summit includes Dr. Henry Musa Kpaka, the Sierra Leonean Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Chief Alfred Dixon, Director, Partnerships for Delivery, IITA, Dr Baboucarr Manneh Director General, Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) and Dr Martin Fregene, Director, Agriculture and Agro-industry at the African Development Bank. Others include Dr Nteranya Sanginga, President of the African Leadership Institute (AALI)/Immediate past DG IITA, Dr Lawrence Kent, Senior Program Officer at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr Kenton Dashiell, Deputy Director General, Partnerships for Delivery, IITA and Dr Solomon Gizaw, Head, TAAT Clearinghouse. According to Dr Solomon Gizaw, “this summit represents a direct response to the need to hold a more comprehensive audience consultation to identify major challenges, develop solutions and advocate for more investments in Sierra Leone’s agriculture.” “This seed summit will bring together policymakers, international financial institutions and policymakers, scientists, the private sector and farmer organizations to a roundtable discussion to broker investments for Sierra Leonean agricultural transformation with quality inputs, particularly seed as a primary entry point,” Dr Gizaw added. Dr Gizaw, in a statement issued ahead of the summit, noted that TAAT, being a consortium of 13 International Agricultural Research Institutions and the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS), brings a wide range of solutions to the major challenges militating against the growth in the agricultural sector. The summit, according to him, “will elevate the voices of value chain actors impacted by the cassava, maize, and rice seed system by sharing success stories from the global south on increasing the availability of climate-adaptive, improved, and disease-free seed to improve farmers' livelihoods.” “It will provide the opportunity to share seed development experiences from DRC, Nigeria, Tanzania, etc,. and TAAT’s and BASICS-II value proposition for scaling and replicability to other African countries where cassava, maize, and rice play significant roles in income generation and food security,” he said. The three-day seed summit, which aspires to catalyse the realisation of the Sierra Leonean Government’s agricultural policy goals through seed sector development, is poised to raise awareness on the role of quality seed in agricultural transformation, share best practices in building sustainable cassava, maize, soybean and rice seed systems and value propositions to achieve the Government goals. The summit will equally chart the path for seed sector development guided by a seed roadmap that will boost the supply of quality seeds of climate-resilient and market-preferred varieties to respond to the growing needs for food and industry in Sierra Leone and advocate for more investments in sustainable cassava,…
YAOUNDE, Cameroon )PAMACC News) - Stakeholders have been enjoined to reinforce adaptation policies and actions as pathways against climate change. The call was made by environment experts at two day workshop to empower youths, women, small-scaled farmers,fath-based groups on climate adaptation policies and actions in Cameroon. The workshop took place at the Mvolye Church Centre in Yaounde September 12-13, 2023. Organised by the African Coalition for Sustainable Energy & Access (ACSEA), the workshop seeked to developing participants’ skills to better interact with stakeholders and decision makers therough effective communication, negotiation and advocacy techniques. According to the CEO of ACSEA, Dr. Augustine Njamnshi, “the workshop was also to strengthen knowledge on processes and policy mechanism related to climate change adaptation at national level.” “Faith-based organizations, small-scale farmers, youth and women groups often have a strong moral imperative to act on climate change, but they may lack the knowledge and skills to effectively advocate for climate adaptation policies and actions,” Njamnshi added. The training centered on topics like climate change impact on food systems in Cameroon, Cameroons climate change adaptation and resilence strategies, mapping local climate change impacts and adaptation staregies, climate information and adaptive uses in Cameroon amongst others. Climate experts say transforming lives means having the right policies in place and the enabling environment for climate investments to yield the right results. “We need to empower the community on the issues sot hey can question and push government and non-governmental organisations, NGOs,to put in place the right policies. Community actors should be able to know, the problems their communties are facing and to see whether solutions proposed by some NGOs are not flawed” noted Eugene Nforngwa, head of programs ACSEA. According to the World Bank,Cameroon has an opportunity to turn the climate crisis into an opportunity for a more green and resilient future for all, taking a people centered approach to climate action. The country’s poverty rate could be reduced five-fold by 2050. Experts say climate change is impacting social and economic gains in the country and and stakeholders must get to work with the right actions to address it. “Climate change in a reality and we are all living witnesses of its disastrous effects. The floods, landslides, droughts are affecting agriculture, water resources, health and the environment in general. It will take our collective efforts to get the right solutions to address this crisis” says Professor Amougou Joseph Armathée, director general of the National Observatory on Climate Change. According to World Bank 2022 report,Climate change is a big threat to the country’s dependence on natural resources and agriculture for livelihoods and subsistence. The report says under current climate conditions, about two million people live in drought-affected areas. Tropical forests cover almost 40% of the country and provide an estimated 8 million rural people with traditional staples including food, medicines, fuel, and construction material. “Changes in temperature, rain, and droughts are putting these populations at greater risks for increased poverty and famine.” The socioeconomic impact of climate change shocks is…
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