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GULU, Uganda (PAMACC News) - In Amuru District in the northern part of Uganda, 47 Kilometres out of Gulu town, swathes of land under upland rice, pearl millet and the flowery sunn hemp in a place where maize has always been the traditional crop attracts the attention of any visitor in this area. “This is our new cash cow,” says Dominic Kimara, the farm Manager of Omer Farming Company, which has been growing maize on 5,000 hectares of land but has now turned to 100 percent rice production.“Until 2016, we were growing maize on this farm,” says the manager. “But we discovered that rainfall patterns were changing, and so we had to look for an alternative crop that would suit the ever changing climatic conditions.” Experts from the National Agriculture Organisation (NARO) have reported that in the past three years, many farmers in Uganda have abandoned maize to concentrate on rice with most of them opting for upland rice instead of irrigated paddy rice.The latest agriculture survey report by NARO, Uganda government’s owned research organisation indicates that more than 50 percent of rice grown in the country is now coming from the uplands, and consequently, the consumption especially in urban areas has increased considerably.“When I was growing up, rice used to be a Christmas meal because it was a rare one,” notes Robert Kawuki as he enjoyed a rice meal for lunch at the NARO canteen in Namulonge area. “But today, farmers have embraced it, and so people can enjoy it any time, both in the upcountry and in urban areas,” he says.Though upland rice is more sensitive to climate stress than irrigated paddy rice, farmers particularly in Northern Uganda say that latest varieties grown in the area have proven to be more profitable than the maize crop.“Most of the varieties grown by these farmers are the ones we released in 2015, and were bred mainly for drought tolerance, fast maturing and pest and disease resistance, but most importantly, high yielding,” says Dr Jimmy Lamo, the Principal Research Officer working with NARO as the Head of Rice and Maize Research Programme.“According to our latest survey, out of a total of 150,000 hectares under rice production in the country, 90,000 hectares is grown in the uplands without any form of irrigation,” says Dr Lamo, who earned his PhD from the University of KwaZulu-Natal for breeding some of the varieties under support from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).He notes that the switch, mainly from maize to upland rice is a way of responding to the new trends of rainfall patterns in some parts of the country.In Amuru, Omer Company has adopted climate smart farming techniques, and local farmers are following suit.“We grow pearl millet, but it is not for human food. It is for soil health,” he says. When the millet starts flowering, the crop is rolled flat on the ground and left to decompose. The same is done for sunn hemp, which is a leguminous plant with…
MADRID Spain (PAMACC News) - The Chile/Madrid Climate Change Conference taking place at the IFEMA Feria de Madrid, Spain, continued its second week with climate change negotiations going into wee hours of the following dayand statements by heads of state and government, ministers and heads of delegations making their national statement and positions during the high level segment which continues to Thursday this week.As the time approached 11:30 am, there was a long queue of members of the press at the Mocha Room. One would be forgiven for thinking that all the pushing and shoving was for one to be the first to get the best cup of Mocha coffee to warm themselves in these freezing temperatures. But Mocha Room is the official press briefing room at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) 25th Conference of Parties (COP25) underway in Madrid, Spain.What followed later was heavy security around the room and many still fought to catch a glimpse of who the distinguished person being escorted by such security personnel was. This was Greta Thunberg, the young girl who has become the global face of climate change activism. When Greta took to the microphone, there was apparent disappointment in the room because on this day Greta and Luisa decided that they will not speak to the media. She said that she has had enough of speaking and media attention—of which she is grateful for. “We have noticed that there is some media attention around us. We thought we could use that attention to render our platform to those whose voices also need to be heard. Our stories have been told and listened to over time. It is not our stories that need to be told and listened to—it is the others’. It is the people, especially those from the global south. Climate change is not something that will impact us in the future, people are dying from it today. We want to use this platform to share the stories that need to be told and heard,” Greta said.With that, she handed over the microphone to other fellow youth activists. One by one they told stories of their suffering at the hands of severe climate effects. They spoke of the hopelessness of their people and the possibility of their doomed future and diminishing dreams.One youth that caught the attention of the roving cameras and flashing lights was Hilda Flavia Nakabuye from Uganda. Hilda reckons that the laissez faire approach toclimate crisis by world leaders is a sure sign that they do not care about the future generation.A visibly upset Hilda narrated of how Africa has been ravaged by extreme weather events caused by climate change. She equated climate crisis in Africa to racism and apartheid that her ancestors endured.“We are suffering severe effects of climate impacts as if coming from the global south is a mortal sin with no or very little action from developing countries. I have come to think that climate crisis is another form of environmental…
MADRID, Spain (PAMACC News) – On the eve of a critical year for environmental decision-making, Colombia, Germany and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) today announced that Colombia will host World Environment Day 2020 in partnership with Germany and that it will focus on biodiversity. World Environment Day takes place every year on 5 June. It is the United Nations’ flagship day for promoting worldwide awareness and action for the environment. Over the years, it has grown to be the largest global platform for environmental public outreach and is celebrated by millions of people in more than 100 countries. Making the announcement on the margins of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid, Spain, Ricardo Lozano, Colombia’s Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Jochen Flasbarth, Germany’s State Secretary for Environment, and Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, stressed that with one million plant and animal species facing extinction, there has never been a more important time to focus on the issue of biodiversity. “2020 is a year for urgency, ambition and action to address the crisis facing nature; it is also an opportunity to more fully incorporate nature-based solutions into global climate action,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UNEP. “Each year, World Environment Day is a powerful platform to accelerate, amplify and engage people, communities and governments around the world to take action on critical environmental challenges facing the planet. We are grateful to Colombia and Germany for demonstrating leadership in this effort.” 2020 is a critical year for nations’ commitments to preserving and restoring biodiversity, with China hosting the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming. Next year also provides an opportunity to ramp up to the start of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), intended to massively scale up the restoration of degraded and destroyed ecosystems to fight the climate crisis and enhance food security, water supply and biodiversity. “In Colombia we will face an important challenge in 2020, and it is to host the 3rd and last OEWG [open-ended working group] meeting of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework before the COP in China. In Colombia, we are willing to work together to reach an agreement that allows us to move forward positively towards ambitious results in the COP that will meet us in China; we welcome Germany’s gesture of support in this global effort and look forward to a successful collaboration," said Ricardo Lozano, Colombia’s Environment Minister. Listed as one of the world’s “megadiverse” countries and sustaining close to 10 per cent of the planet’s biodiversity, Colombia ranks first in bird and orchid species diversity and second in plants, butterflies, freshwater fish and amphibians. The country has several areas of high biological diversity in Andean ecosystems, with a significant variety of endemic species. It also has part of the Amazon rainforest and the humid ecosystems of the Chocó biogeographical area. “There is no better time to come together for the planet…
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Kenya is a global player often leading part in various international discussions linked to the pressing issues of climate change and sustainable development. The country has its long-term development blueprint’s social, political and economic pillars (Vision 2030) aligned with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2016, Kenya also ratified the Paris Agreement and submitted a very ambitious commitment of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by the year 2030.In the end, however, success in achieving Vision 2030, the SDGs and living up to the commitments of the Paris Agreement will require a transition to a more equal, socially just, and ecologically sustainable economic model. This model would also have to consider global trends such as digitalisation and automation, which will a profound impact on the kind of jobs that Kenya will create in order to position itself competitively within the region and globally.Climate change crisis and the transition to low carbon, climate-resilient futureIn its climate change policies, plans, and programmes and as part of its commitment to the Paris Agreement, Kenya aims to achieve a low carbon, climate-resilient development pathway. Both the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement and the SDGs emphasize the inevitability of a shift toward a sustainable, net zero-carbon future for all. One of the country’s climate change mitigation strategies is to expand geothermal, solar, wind energy, and other renewable and clean energy options, to align its development agenda with the aspirations of the frameworks. The energy sector, for example, is a key economic driver and it is also responsible for contributing a significant proportion of the carbon emissions, and therefore must be at the centre of such an extensive shift.Kenya has promising potential for power generation from renewable energy sources as the installed capacity consists of 70% renewable sources, with enormous potential to expand that base. The abundant sources of solar, hydro, wind, biomass and geothermal resources have led the government to seek the expansion of renewable energy generation. The expansion will lead to vast disruptions owing to the need for technological transformation and also to account for changes in use of resources such as land. One of the major challenges the country will face is that of enabling a low carbon economy that delivers poverty reduction and climate resilience simultaneously. Although this presents a social and technical challenge of staggering proportions, thinking about who sets the terms of transition raises key political questions about the role of actors, interests, and institutions as they seek to advance competing energy pathways and associated technologies. In July, 2019, the country launched one of Africa’s biggest wind power plant in Loiyangalani, Turkana that will deliver 310 megawatts of renewable energy to the national grid, effectively slashing power costs for consumers. By 2030, the goal is to expand geothermal power production to 5,530 megawatts (or 26% of total capacity), making it Kenya's largest source of clean energy. This transition will also come with new energy technologies and it is also expected that renewable energy…
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