Frontpage Slideshow

NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC ) - Ahead of the annual gathering of world leaders in Davos next week, Alvaro Lario, President of the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), warns of the urgent need to invest at speed and scale in long-term rural development to prevent recurring food crises and end hunger and poverty. “We cannot continue to go from food crisis to food crisis. We should not have to see countries experiencing acute food insecurity over and over again. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. We must take immediate and concrete actions to strengthen our failing food systems - this requires strong commitment and bold investment,” said Lario. At Davos, Lario will be calling for a massive scale-up of investments in agriculture, and long-term rural development from governments, investors and private companies with the view to ensure nutritional security and food sovereignty, an issue that has become critical for developing countries. At least an additional US$30 billion per year in investments are needed according to pre-COVID19 estimates, now the costs are even higher. “Only long-term investments in rural economies can provide long-lasting solutions to hunger, under-nutrition and poverty. This is what will enable small-scale farmers to increase local production, better adapt to climate change, build short and local food chains, build and sustain local markets and commercial opportunities, and create small rural businesses. This approach makes a lot of economic sense,” said the IFAD President. According to World Bank research, growth in agriculture is two to four times more effective at reducing poverty than growth in other sectors. Today, the world is experiencing an unprecedented food crisis due to the convergence of high food, energy and fertilizer prices linked to the war in Ukraine, and several climate shocks. Key drivers of hunger remain conflict, climate change and the economic slowdown and difficult recovery in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of people facing acute food insecurity soared - from 135 million in 2019 to 345 million in 2022. Currently, a total of 49 million people in 49 countries live on the edge of famine. One person in ten - about 828 million people - are currently suffering from hunger defined as chronic undernourishment. In addition, almost 3.1 billion people cannot afford a healthy diet. Increasingly world food consumption is concentrated on three main crops (wheat, maize and rice). An estimated 45 million children suffer from acute malnutrition, 149 million children have stunted growth and development due to a chronic lack of essential nutrients in their diet, while 39 million are overweight. Despite global commitments to end hunger by 2030, donor support for agriculture has been stagnant at just 4 percent of total ODA for at least two decades. About 3 billion people live in the rural areas of developing countries and they rely to a significant extent on small-scale farming for their food and livelihoods. In the years to come, extreme weather events will likely increase in frequency and magnitude, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate…
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Climate advocates in Africa and across the world have expressed concerns following the appointment of Dr Sultan al-Jaber, the Chief Executive Officer of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company to preside over the 2023 Conference of Parties (COP) on Climate Change. “I have learned with consternation that they have nominated an oil merchant as President,” said Dr Mithika Mwenda, the Executive Secretary of the Pan Africa Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), which is a network of over 1000 African environment related civil society organizations. “We need to be firm and protest against this impunity, otherwise, this is going to be a conference of polluters,” said Dr Mwenda, who has for two consecutive years been named among 100 top most influential individuals in the world by the apolitical.co. The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) offers processing, refining, marketing, and distribution of crude oil, petroleum, gas, sulfur, and petrochemical products for consumption worldwide. As of 2021, the company had an oil production capacity exceeding 4 million b/d with plans to increase to 5 million b/d by 2030 “You wouldn’t invite arm dealers to lead peace talks. So why let oil executives lead climate talks? Burning fossil fuels is the single largest cause of the climate crisis, and the single biggest threat to solving it,” said Alice Harrison, Fossil Fuels Campaign Leader at Global Witness – an international environmental non-governmental organization. “Hosting crucial climate talks in a repressive petrostate is one thing, having a fossil fuel CEO as its President is just mad. Even at this early stage it’s difficult to see how COP28 can lead to any positive progress on the climate crisis, when run by those with a stake in the continued burning of fossil fuels,” she said in a statement. It is on record that the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which will host this year’s talks in November, registered at least 70 fossil fuel lobbyists to COP27 in Egypt, including Dr Al Jaber, who is the UAE’s Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Special Envoy for the Climate. As a result, COP27 ended in disappointment for many, as fossil fuel producing nations including Saudi Arabia blocked a push by others, notably the US and EU, to include a promise to phase down all fossil fuels in the final deal. Following his appointment, Dr Al Jaber noted that 2023 will be a critical year in a critical decade for climate action. “The UAE is approaching COP28 with a strong sense of responsibility and the highest possible level of ambition. In cooperation with the UNFCCC and the COP27 Presidency, we will champion an inclusive agenda that ramps up action on mitigation, encourages a just energy transition that leaves no one behind, ensures substantial, affordable climate finance is directed to the most vulnerable, accelerates funding for adaptation and builds out a robust funding facility to address loss and damage,” he said in a statement. However, climate activists still maintain that Dr Al Jaber cannot preside over a…
KAKAMEGA, Kenya (PAMACC News) - In the heart of Kakamega town, Eliakim Andaye arrives at Friends Hotel along Mumias Road with a bag full of assorted African leafy vegetables. He is fulfilling his contractual agreement to supply the vegetables on a daily basis, after which he will collect his cheque by the end of the month. “I have been a maize farmer since I was a child, but I never knew that from African leafy vegetables I could earn so much money to buy all the maize and other food items my family needs, but above all, I have been able to pay university fees for my two children, and the last one has just finished his secondary education, preparing to join college any time soon,” said the farmer. Andaye learned about indigenous vegetables from the AGRA led Sustainable Land and Forest Ecosystem Management (SLFM) project that was implemented in collaboration with the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) among others. The project, which was initiated by AGRA in collaboration with UNEP, GEF, KALRO and the County Governments, was aimed at enhancing productivity of smallholder farmers who live around Kakamega and Nandi Forests in order to reduce their encroachment on the forests as a way of conserving the forest biodiversity. On his farm in Shamiloli Microcatchment area, in the outskirts of Kakamega town, Andaye has dedicated one full acre of land to growing of different types of indigenous vegetables not limited to Ethiopian kales (Kanzila), African nightshade (lisutsa/managu), spider plant (tsisaka/saga), Amaranthus (libokoi/terere), Pumpkin leaves (lisebebe), Cowpea (likhubi/kunde) among others. The African leafy vegetables are arguably climate resilient because most of them are indigenous to places where they are being grown. But following the introduction of exotic commercial vegetables such as cabbage and kales, many farmers tended to abandon the indigenous vegetables. However, patrons both in rural and urban areas who care about healthy diets are once again embracing the indigenous vegetables due to their nutritional and medicinal values, hence, high market demand. “At the farm gate, I earn at least Sh1500 per week, but from the supply to hotels, I make at least Sh20,000 per month or more depending on activities at the hotels,” he said noting that whenever there are seminars in the hotels, he supplies more than normal daily quantities. According to John Macharia, the Country Manager at AGRA, Kenyans must go back to their sustainable way of living. “We have to be environment friendly by diversifying our diets to include indigenous foods that relate well with the prevailing environmental conditions, and use methods that are friendly to nature,” he said. Indeed, all farmers who are growing the African leafy vegetables in Western Kenya use compost and farm yard manure, which is different from farming of cabbage and kales that require synthetic fertilisers and frequent chemical spraying for pests and diseases. In Chepketemon Village in Nandi County, Gideon Rono is another farmer who only knew cabbage as the only vegetables that could be produced from his…
PAMACC News - A research team led by UvA plant biologists Harro Bouwmeester and Lemeng Dong has identified a – North-American - maize line that is resistant to Striga, according to a new study published in the leading journal Science. Over the next two years, Bouwmeester will test whether this new knowledge can be used to breed African maize varieties to make them resistant to witchweed. According to the scientists, food security is a growing challenge, especially in light of climate change and increasing food needs around the world. However, a small plant with beautiful purple flowers presents yet another grave challenge to food security: Striga or witchweed. Although beautiful, this plant is called witchweed for a reason. Striga seeds lie dormant in the soil until their germination is triggered by strigolactones, specific plant hormones secreted into the soil by the roots of plants, including maize. After germination, Striga penetrates the root of the maize and drains nutrients and water, like a vampire, sometimes causing entire harvests to fail. Discovery of resistance in maize The research team found a new possible basis for resistance to Striga. Intriguingly, a North American corn line seems to provide the solution to the plague in Africa. In the lab, PhD student Changsheng Li analyzed the strigolactones of a whole set of different maize lines. The one North American line was found to secrete a different mixture of strigolactones into the soil than most of the other lines and was therefore less susceptible to Striga. 'Research into the mechanism behind this subsequently showed that one of the genes responsible for the biosynthesis of strigolactones in this maize line is less active,' explains Bouwmeester. ‘We now want to use that mechanism to introduce this Striga resistance into the maize that grows in Africa.’ Making African maize Striga-resistant Over the next two years, Bouwmeester will use an ERC Proof of Concept grant to collaborate with researchers from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). In the lab and greenhouse at the Amsterdam Science Park and in Mexico, where CIMMYT is based, the researchers will use modern biotechnology to change the strigolactone composition in African maize lines. They will then test these lines together with farmers in Kenya to assess their sensitivity to Striga.
Page 2 of 139
--------- --------- --------- ---------
Top
We use cookies to improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. More details…