Climate Change (151)

 

Climate and Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet), has called on Nigerians to make concerted efforts at ensuring that their activities do not endanger the earth.

The coalition of civil society organisations made this call in a statement by Dr Ibrahim Choji, the Chairman, Board of Trustees, CSDevNet, in Abuja on Friday, to mark the World Earth Day celebrated on April 22.

Choji said that Nigeria must learn lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, which had forced a total lockdown of some human activities that contribute to environmental degradation and climate change.

He said that the impact of the coronavirus was both immediate and dreadful, however, the earth’s unfolding environmental crisis was another deep emergency to be concerned about.

“It is our belief at CSDevNet that as we lockdown to deal with this mutant virus that is killing people and making our world tragic and horrendous, nature appears to be reclaiming her space.

“From Apapa to Port Harcourt, from Lake Chad to River Benue, the fog has cleared; the soot has abated, the air is simply sublime and we can see the blue skies and the birds are just loving it.

“Chirping birds have now replaced our loud honking cars. In a very long while, we get this sense and smell of what clean air, clean rivers and exuberant nature means.

“What is further clear to us on this Earth Day is that this joy of nature has come at an enormous and unacceptable human cost to millions in the world.

“We can say with absolute conviction that this is not the way we want to clean our air or our water, however desperate we were for this to happen.”

Choji said that if Nigerians needed to have clear skies, governments at all levels, private sector and civil society must work together to ensure right livelihoods and the right to breathe.

He said that CSDevNet, which is a member of the Pan Africa Climate Justice Aliance (PACJA), believed that the time to act decisively in protecting the planet from both the coronavirus and the existential threat of climate disruption “is now’’.

“Greenhouse gases, just like viruses, do not respect national boundaries. The current crisis is an unprecedented wake-up call and we need to turn the recovery into a real opportunity to do things right for the future.

“To achieve this, we must realise that we need to get vehicles off the road, but not people. It will require fast-tracking everything Nigeria can do in order to move people, not cars, at speed, convenience and safety.

“Public transport in Nigeria will now have to take into account concerns about personal hygiene and public health. ”

He said that Nigeria must also set ambitious goals, far beyond the “tokenism” in her Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement.

Choji said this was necessary so that before 2030, Nigeria could upgrade its systems to ensure that 70 to 80 per cent of the daily commute across cities through high-speed and low-emission transportation from trains to bicycles.

He added that CSDevNet believed that an accurate Nigerian response depended not in shutting down, but shifting all industries to clean fuel.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic had caused disorder and disruptions in a large scale, saying “now we need to fix what was broken in our relationship with nature.’’

“Should Nigeria rebuild her economy with more smoke and more pollution because we need speed and scale to get back on our feet?

“This then is the biggest challenge in the coming days!

“Nigeria must do things differently, recognising what COVID-19 has brought to light. We must work together to save lives, ease suffering and lessen the shattering economic and social consequences.

“The future, like never before, is in our hands. Nature has spoken. Now we should speak gently back to her. Tread gently on mother Earth.”

 

Sorghum is the fifth most produced grain globally.

This two-meter tall plant from the grass family is often grown in regions that have high temperatures and lower rainfall. In wetter regions, its production is lower than that of more lucrative crops such as rice and maize.

Sorghum is a particularly essential crop in Africa, second to maize, as the staple grain for millions of people.

Although it is mainly consumed as a grain, sorghum is also prepared into a wide variety of other food products such as porridge, bread, lactic and alcoholic beverages, and weaning meals.

 

Africa’s third top producer of sorghum

 

Sorghum is the main cereal crop grown in Burkina Faso, with more than 1.5 million hectares. Along with pearl millet, it is the staple diet of rural populations in the Sub-Sahelian regions.

Burkina Faso is the continent’s third top producer of sorghum (after Nigeria and Sudan)

In spite of various interventions, its productivity remains low, with an average yield of approximately one tonne per hectare. Many factors have contributed to the decreased productivity, including demographic pressure, ecological degradation, loss of soil fertility, and water erosion.

Other factors include negative effect of dry spells on crop growth and yield, negative effect of end of season drought, scarcity of organic amendment, improved seed and other farm inputs and output.

 

The Sahel as a bread basket

 

To address these constraints, and with a view to transforming the Sahel into a bread basket, the African Development Bank (AfDB), in 2018, launched the Sorghum and Millet Compact of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT).

The compact, according to the bank, spearheads the bold plan to transform Sorghum and Millet in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and Chad.

TAAT’s main objective is to improve the business of agriculture across Africa by raising agricultural productivity, mitigating risks and promoting diversification and processing in 18 agricultural value chains within eight Priority Intervention Areas (PIA).

The programme increases agricultural productivity through the deployment of proven and high-performance agricultural technologies at scale along selected nine commodity compacts which include sorghum and millet.

These work with six enabler compacts addressing transversal issues such as soil fertility management, water management, capacity development, policy support, attracting African youth in agribusiness and fall armyworm response.

With sustainable intensification, improved profitability of sorghum and millet; and the scaling up of proven technologies as areas of focal emphasis, the TAAT sorghum and millet compact set out to work on contributing to food and nutrition security in a region where low agricultural productivity and lack of value added are among the main causes of malnutrition, unemployment and poverty on the continent.

Led by the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), in collaboration with National Research and Extension Systems, the sorghum and millet compact targets about 40 to 50% of African farmers with technologies relevant to boosting agricultural productivity and self-sufficiency by 2025.

During the 2019 rainy season, the compact, in collaboration with the TAAT Water Enabler Compact (TAAT-WEC) selected Burkina Faso and Mali to host the demonstration of climate smart technologies.

The TAAT-WEC is led by International Water Management Institute (IWMI). The Water Compact promotes low-cost and easy-to-deploy irrigation and water management technologies to small-scale farmers across Africa.

 

Zai, Half-moon and CLT Technologies

 

The technologies identified for the demonstration are Zai, Half-moons and Contour Lines Technique. These are mainly soil and water conservation technologies.

Zai refers to planting pit dug in degraded land, amended with organic manure which is meant to collect run-off water and restore the productivity of the soil.

Sorghum or millet seeds are planted in the pits.

Half-moons on the other hand, form structure made in degraded land and amended with organic manure which collects run-off water and is planted with sorghum or millet.

Zai pits and half-moon ditches can increase yields even in the first year. The farmer does not need to wait for the land to fully regenerate before sowing.

The soil remains bare between Zai pits, but inside the hole the earth is damp and fertile. The pit collects and retains moisture and prevents the rich soil and seeds from being washed away by the rain.

These technologies were displayed in Burkina Faso using the famer field school approach, while the contour lines technique (CLT) was presented to farmers in Mali using the demonstration plot approach.

Contour lines technique refers to lines of stones installed on degraded land following the contour lines. They are meant to reduce run-off and spread run-off water in the field.

In both countries, abandoned bare lands, which traditional famers believe are not suitable for cultivation, were used with the compact selecting the sites and the relevant crop varieties in both cases.

According to Dr Dougbeji Fatondji, TAAT Sorghum and Millet Compact Leader, “the objective of this activity is to demonstrate to the farmers, technologies that can help them produce and increase crop productivity under the current weather variability and climate change conditions.

 

Farmer field school approach in Burkina Faso

 

Kapelga, a sorghum variety (white grain and early maturing) was used in the district of Toma. It is a variety that is under promotion in the province and beyond by Federation des Professionnels Agricole du Burkina (FEPAB).

In the district of Boussoma, ICSV1049 a variety promoted in the Sanmentenga province was used. 

Both varieties were grown in half-hectare of half-moon and half-hectare of Zai. The half hectare planted with the same varieties was used as control using the farmer’s practice.

The two sorghum varieties were selected based on the agro-ecological characteristics. Planting was done on the same day at each site.

In Toma, the field was managed by FEPAB (25 farmers with 9 of them being females) and in Boussouma it was managed by 30 farmers – 13 females and 17 males.

Two field days were organized in each site, during heading and during maturity stages.

The second day of the farmer field school presented an opportunity to harvest and estimate with farmers, the yield of the different technologies.

 

Demonstration plot approach in Mali

In Sorofing, one of the selected villages, the TAAT Water Enabler Compact (TAAT-WEC) trained farmers on how to design the contour lines by automatic reading method.

Mr Dramane Male, a farmer applied the CLT on 2.0 hectare of Fadda. Despite the end of season’s drought, the plants remained green with good soil moisture.

Dramane said that the CLT stopped the runoffs.

“If this were to be the traditional method in a similar rainy season, I would have lost all my crops because of drought,” he added. He promised to apply the CLT in all the areas of his fields with pronounced slopes.

On the 0.5-hectare, Yaya Male, another farmer, applied the CLT, the plants are well developed with big stems and green leaves.

A field day was organized at Foh to showcase the performance of the demonstrated technology to farmers. 

About 10 research and development institutions including a private seed company and many farmers were represented at the event which was covered by Office de Radiodiffusion-Télévision du Mali (ORTM), the country’s national television station.

During the visit to the plot of Pierre Diarra in Kourouma, Dr. Kalifa Traore, from the Institut d’Economie Rurale (IER), explained the methodology deployed – from farmers’ sensitization to training and practical exercises on the CLT.

In addition to the proposed variety (Tiandougou Coura), the farmer used his own local variety to see if the crop performance was not linked to the varietal differences.

The results were self-explanatory and amazing. The plot under CLT produced good plants with large panicles compared to the control (low plant stand due to runoffs).

“I usually abandon this particular field because of the runoffs,” Pierre Diarra said.

“With this exposure to the CLT now, I promise to apply the CLT in all problematic soils for all crops,” Pierre aded.

The local authorities led by the Deputy Mayor, Michel Traore, thanked the team for the technology deployed in his community. He equally called for continuous support aimed at taking the technology beyond borders.

On his part, he promised to include the CLT technique in their local Development Plan (PDSEC).

Participants from other communities also requested for similar training on CLT. This elicited a positive response from farmers organizations Platform (AOPP) and the local Chamber of Agriculture (CRA) who pledged to organise more training sessions in collaboration with the TAAT programme.

 

Sorghum is the fifth most produced grain globally.

This two-meter tall plant from the grass family is often grown in regions that have high temperatures and lower rainfall. In wetter regions, its production is lower than that of more lucrative crops such as rice and maize.

Sorghum is a particularly essential crop in Africa, second to maize, as the staple grain for millions of people.

Although it is mainly consumed as a grain, sorghum is also prepared into a wide variety of other food products such as porridge, bread, lactic and alcoholic beverages, and weaning meals.

 

Africa’s third top producer of sorghum

 

Sorghum is the main cereal crop grown in Burkina Faso, with more than 1.5 million hectares. Along with pearl millet, it is the staple diet of rural populations in the Sub-Sahelian regions.

Burkina Faso is the continent’s third top producer of sorghum (after Nigeria and Sudan)

In spite of various interventions, its productivity remains low, with an average yield of approximately one tonne per hectare. Many factors have contributed to the decreased productivity, including demographic pressure, ecological degradation, loss of soil fertility, and water erosion.

Other factors include negative effect of dry spells on crop growth and yield, negative effect of end of season drought, scarcity of organic amendment, improved seed and other farm inputs and output.

 

The Sahel as a bread basket

 

To address these constraints, and with a view to transforming the Sahel into a bread basket, the African Development Bank (AfDB), in 2018, launched the Sorghum and Millet Compact of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT).

The compact, according to the bank, spearheads the bold plan to transform Sorghum and Millet in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and Chad.

TAAT’s main objective is to improve the business of agriculture across Africa by raising agricultural productivity, mitigating risks and promoting diversification and processing in 18 agricultural value chains within eight Priority Intervention Areas (PIA).

The programme increases agricultural productivity through the deployment of proven and high-performance agricultural technologies at scale along selected nine commodity compacts which include sorghum and millet.

These work with six enabler compacts addressing transversal issues such as soil fertility management, water management, capacity development, policy support, attracting African youth in agribusiness and fall armyworm response.

With sustainable intensification, improved profitability of sorghum and millet; and the scaling up of proven technologies as areas of focal emphasis, the TAAT sorghum and millet compact set out to work on contributing to food and nutrition security in a region where low agricultural productivity and lack of value added are among the main causes of malnutrition, unemployment and poverty on the continent.

Led by the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), in collaboration with National Research and Extension Systems, the sorghum and millet compact targets about 40 to 50% of African farmers with technologies relevant to boosting agricultural productivity and self-sufficiency by 2025.

During the 2019 rainy season, the compact, in collaboration with the TAAT Water Enabler Compact (TAAT-WEC) selected Burkina Faso and Mali to host the demonstration of climate smart technologies.

The TAAT-WEC is led by International Water Management Institute (IWMI). The Water Compact promotes low-cost and easy-to-deploy irrigation and water management technologies to small-scale farmers across Africa.

 

Zai, Half-moon and CLT Technologies

 

The technologies identified for the demonstration are Zai, Half-moons and Contour Lines Technique. These are mainly soil and water conservation technologies.

Zai refers to planting pit dug in degraded land, amended with organic manure which is meant to collect run-off water and restore the productivity of the soil.

Sorghum or millet seeds are planted in the pits.

Half-moons on the other hand, form structure made in degraded land and amended with organic manure which collects run-off water and is planted with sorghum or millet.

Zai pits and half-moon ditches can increase yields even in the first year. The farmer does not need to wait for the land to fully regenerate before sowing.

The soil remains bare between Zai pits, but inside the hole the earth is damp and fertile. The pit collects and retains moisture and prevents the rich soil and seeds from being washed away by the rain.

These technologies were displayed in Burkina Faso using the famer field school approach, while the contour lines technique (CLT) was presented to farmers in Mali using the demonstration plot approach.

Contour lines technique refers to lines of stones installed on degraded land following the contour lines. They are meant to reduce run-off and spread run-off water in the field.

In both countries, abandoned bare lands, which traditional famers believe are not suitable for cultivation, were used with the compact selecting the sites and the relevant crop varieties in both cases.

According to Dr Dougbeji Fatondji, TAAT Sorghum and Millet Compact Leader, “the objective of this activity is to demonstrate to the farmers, technologies that can help them produce and increase crop productivity under the current weather variability and climate change conditions.

 

Farmer field school approach in Burkina Faso

 

Kapelga, a sorghum variety (white grain and early maturing) was used in the district of Toma. It is a variety that is under promotion in the province and beyond by Federation des Professionnels Agricole du Burkina (FEPAB).

In the district of Boussoma, ICSV1049 a variety promoted in the Sanmentenga province was used. 

Both varieties were grown in half-hectare of half-moon and half-hectare of Zai. The half hectare planted with the same varieties was used as control using the farmer’s practice.

The two sorghum varieties were selected based on the agro-ecological characteristics. Planting was done on the same day at each site.

In Toma, the field was managed by FEPAB (25 farmers with 9 of them being females) and in Boussouma it was managed by 30 farmers – 13 females and 17 males.

Two field days were organized in each site, during heading and during maturity stages.

The second day of the farmer field school presented an opportunity to harvest and estimate with farmers, the yield of the different technologies.

 

Demonstration plot approach in Mali

In Sorofing, one of the selected villages, the TAAT Water Enabler Compact (TAAT-WEC) trained farmers on how to design the contour lines by automatic reading method.

Mr Dramane Male, a farmer applied the CLT on 2.0 hectare of Fadda. Despite the end of season’s drought, the plants remained green with good soil moisture.

Dramane said that the CLT stopped the runoffs.

“If this were to be the traditional method in a similar rainy season, I would have lost all my crops because of drought,” he added. He promised to apply the CLT in all the areas of his fields with pronounced slopes.

On the 0.5-hectare, Yaya Male, another farmer, applied the CLT, the plants are well developed with big stems and green leaves.

A field day was organized at Foh to showcase the performance of the demonstrated technology to farmers. 

About 10 research and development institutions including a private seed company and many farmers were represented at the event which was covered by Office de Radiodiffusion-Télévision du Mali (ORTM), the country’s national television station.

During the visit to the plot of Pierre Diarra in Kourouma, Dr. Kalifa Traore, from the Institut d’Economie Rurale (IER), explained the methodology deployed – from farmers’ sensitization to training and practical exercises on the CLT.

In addition to the proposed variety (Tiandougou Coura), the farmer used his own local variety to see if the crop performance was not linked to the varietal differences.

The results were self-explanatory and amazing. The plot under CLT produced good plants with large panicles compared to the control (low plant stand due to runoffs).

“I usually abandon this particular field because of the runoffs,” Pierre Diarra said.

“With this exposure to the CLT now, I promise to apply the CLT in all problematic soils for all crops,” Pierre aded.

The local authorities led by the Deputy Mayor, Michel Traore, thanked the team for the technology deployed in his community. He equally called for continuous support aimed at taking the technology beyond borders.

On his part, he promised to include the CLT technique in their local Development Plan (PDSEC).

Participants from other communities also requested for similar training on CLT. This elicited a positive response from farmers organizations Platform (AOPP) and the local Chamber of Agriculture (CRA) who pledged to organise more training sessions in collaboration with the TAAT programme.

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. Owusu Afriyie Akoto in his speech which was delivered on his behalf stated that Agriculture is the backbone of the Ghanaian economy.Achieving sustainable food security in a world of growing population and changing diets is a major challenge under climate change. Climate change will have far-reaching consequences for agriculture that will disproportionately affect poor and marginalized groups who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods and have a lower capacity to adapt.

Dr. Akoto added “I am happy to note that the overarching goal of NISCOPS is to contribute towards Ghana’s Nationally Determined Contribution of the Paris Climate Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals through;

Building the climate resilience of smallholder oil palm farmers and oil palm processors; Promoting use of energy efficient cook stoves at the artisanal processing level and; Implementing community led adaptation and livelihood diversification programs.

I wish to assure you of Government support to create the enabling environment for the successful implementation of the programme in selected vulnerable communities in order to replicate it in other sectors of the economy to mitigate the impact of climate change”

A nine-member National Advisory Committee (NAC) to advise the programme was inaugurated. The NAC members comprised ofPublic and Private sector representativesfrom the Oil Palm Development Association of Ghana, Oil Palm Research Institute, Ministries of Food and Agriculture; Trade and Industry; Local Government and Rural Development; Land and Natural Resources; Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (Environmental Protection Agency and Forestry Commission).

NISCOPS is implemented by Solidaridad in Ghana and Solidaridad in partnership with IDH in Indonesia, Malaysia and Nigeria.

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