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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.…
KISUMU, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Schools in Kenya only opened for the new term two weeks but the 2000 students of Victoria Primary School in Kisumu might soon have no place to learn from.The school’s land measuring 3.6 hectares, located in the Kenya’s third city’s central business district has been grabbed by powerful individuals, leaving the fate of the pupils unknown.Edward Omalla, the school’s head teacher says the problem began in 2012 when part of the land was forcibly annexed, subdivided and given to some individuals.“We are living in fear. The teachers and learners don’t know what to expect. Our school’s land is registered under numbers 644 and 647. But in 2012, some of the school manage committee members colluded with land grabbers and sold 3.6 hectares. To date, this land has not reverted to us. It is a case that has been fought for eight years now,” Omalla said.He is optimistic that government has now sent its investigators to get to the bottom of the problem and save the school that is a stone’s throw away from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s State House in Kisumu.The school’s case illustrates the insatiable appetite of land around Lake Victoria. The lake, the largest fresh water in Africa and second largest fresh water lake in the world has lost some of its land, including that located on its shores to businesspeople and politicians.Now, the once fresh lake has its waters poisoned and the residents can no longer enjoy the fish, either from the proceeds of selling the fish or eating it. Politicians have hived off junks of land around the lake to erect palatial homes or tourist hotels.Investigations by The Standard revealed that public land valued at Sh1.654 billion is in the hands of private individuals, who illegally acquired it.Identified as Block 7 within Kisumu municipality and found on the shores of the lake, this land stretches from Kisumu international airport, through Lwangni beach, Kenya Railways, State House, Impala animal sanctuary to the famous Dunga beach, renowned for fish, school visits and boat rides.Here, there are 16 pieces of land that have been subdivided from the original Block 7. Records show the pieces are worth Sh1.654 billion.Through the efforts of EACC, some pieces have been returned to the public. They include Block 7/509 that was owned by Dr Oburu Odinga, former Bondo MP and elder brother of Raila. He is a nominated MP of the East African Legislative Assembly.In its ruling delivered on July 26, last year, High Court Judge, Justice Stephen Kibunja ruled that the lease given to Oburu by then Commissioner of Lands Sammy Mwaita was not protected under Article 40 of the Constitution. The case was filed by EACC.The court ruled that the piece of land worth Sh35 million is part of the larger land set apart as reserve and vested in the Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) and was not available for allocation for private purposes. Oburu was accused of colluding with Mwaita, now Baringo Central MP, to defraud Kenya Railways…
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…
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