Climate Change (181)


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.


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.

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 future

In 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 jobs will significantly increase. At present, unemployment is a major problem in the country and it will be important to invest in both jobs and skills training to enable Kenyans to tap into the growing investments from the renewable energy sector.

Despite the huge potential of renewable energy, non-renewable energy sources, including the Lamu Coal Plant are also being explored. In August, 2019 the country also joined the league of oil-exporting countries, owing to the conclusion of 200,000 barrels at a price of Kenya shillings 1.2 billion ($12m). The Lamu coal plant was halted by the national environmental tribunal in June, 2019 on the grounds that a proper environment impact assessment study was not carried out. Amu Power, the company constructing the Lamu coal plant says its goal is to, “improve the lives of the communities in Lamu County through; employment creation, infrastructure development, upskilling of the youth and the provision of affordable energy generated from coal power” but what is the value of the project given the negative environmental and social implications it will lead to? Environmental groups deemed the ruling as a success on the pursuit to stop ‘dirty’ energy investments, however, there needs to be a bigger conversation on the political economy of the energy sector and the socioeconomic viability in line with the country’s climate ambition and pursuit for low carbon development pathway.

The agricultural sector remains the backbone of the Kenyan economy and contributes directly to 24% of the GDP and 27% indirectly, making it an important contributor to Kenya’s economy and food security as well as in providing employment for rural and urban households. Over 50% of export earnings in Kenya come from agriculture which is also the largest employer contributing to 60% of total employment in the country. Another important thing to note is that 80% of the rural population in Kenya rely on agriculture. It is a fundamental pillar of the Kenyan economy but over the years there has been no stability in the agricultural sector. The sector has been affected by unstable prices, climate change, and income inequalities in the value chain among other issues. With the climate crisis causing recurrent droughts, changing rainfall patterns, and increasing temperatures, definitely the future of the agricultural sector has to be re-thought especially in livelihoods provision and security of jobs in the sector.

The Kenyan economy is now hugely driven by an informal service/retail sector and still relies to a significant extent on agriculture which is essentially run by smallholder farm family labour, who earn no or insignificant wages. Climate variability and change have adversely affected the agricultural sector and the situation is expected to worsen in the future. This poses a concern as a key driver of the economy which may result to huge food and job losses. In rethinking the future of the sector, various changes are expected including rapid changes in technology.

With climate change impacting critical economic sectors, the current economic growth path in Kenya leads to a widening gap between the poor and rich. Unless Kenya can significantly include inequality reduction strategies in its development agenda and bring along the millions of people currently working in insecure informal employment, achieving its development targets linked to the SDGs will be challenging. It is therefore important to link actions on SDG 13: climate action to SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all and; SDG 10 reducing inequality within and among countries requires countries to address inequalities. 

 Pursuing a Just Transition for Kenya

Just Transition refers to a vision-led, unifying and place-based set of principles, processes, and practices that build economic and political power to shift from an extractive economy to a regenerative and socially just economy. Bringing justice to economic transition processes in Kenya is possible if preventive and strategic action is taken and if economic, social and climate change adaptation policies are designed in a way that they adequately take into consideration the needs and rights of those people who are most vulnerable. For just transition to work, economic development has to be connected to the climate justice dimension.

Kenya is pursuing its low carbon development pathway through different interventions including mainstreaming climate change actions into its development plans as well as the domestication of international obligations such as the Paris agreement, SDGs among others. This transition to a cleaner, more sustainable economy must, therefore, be economically and socially just, fair for people and their communities. A just transition means a complete package of sustainable policies and social programs that will allow the majority of the population to benefit from change, rather than bearing its costs. This means going beyond providing a reliable system of social protection and compensation to those who will be affected to bringing economic life into a social and democratic framework.

With the expected changes in the different sectors it is important to look at the kind of jobs created and whether they are equitable and decent. What kind of wages and social protection will the employees in the sectors get? Which parts of the workforce would be affected? What kind of skills will be required to enable Kenyans to tap into the opportunities coming with new technologies or growth trends? Some changes in the different sectors will come with rapid advances in digital technology and global trends of the automation which are changing the global economy. It will be important for Kenya to rethink what digitalization and automation will mean for its potential integration into global supply chains and as a consequence which jobs can be created in Kenya.

Realizing SDG’s and Paris Agreement obligations Realizing the targets and indicators under the SDG’s as well as its commitment under the Paris Agreement, Kenya has made efforts in localizing the frameworks to fit within its national and local development contexts. In the Kenyan case, the County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs) could be conceptualized as tools for localizing the implementation of the two frameworks. While the frameworks are there, what is needed is a broader debate on the necessary steps towards a just transition in Kenya.

MADRID, Spain (PAMACC News) - As the 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) enters its fifth day, representatives from a global coalition delivered a resounding call to governments to hold polluting industries liable and make them pay for the damage they’ve knowingly caused and for real climate solutions.

The call comes just two months after the coalition was launched at the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in New York City. Participating organizations and signatories hail from more than 63 countries including Bolivia, The Philippines, and Nigeria.

Fossil fuel industry liability is a growing area of focus for climate experts, academics and governments alike as the industry’s long history of denial and the link between industry emissions and climate impacts becomes more evidenced. From U.S. states to Vanuatu to Peru, elected officials and people are exploring holding the fossil fuel industry liable for its long history of deceit and environmental destruction.

Earlier this year, the European Parliament held a hearing investigating Exxon’s attempts to mislead the public. The Philippines’ commission on human rights is considering the fossil fuel industry’s responsibility for human rights violations in connection to climate change. And in Peru, a farmer is suing a German utility for its role in the crisis harming his livelihood.   

In the United States, the climate plans of numerous presidential candidates include taking steps to hold the industry liable. And industry attempts to preempt accountability at the city and national level have consistent failed to gain support. A landmark case against Exxon Mobil in New York State is expected to be decided in the next few weeks.

 “People and governments are already taking steps to hold Big Polluters like the fossil fuel industry liable around the world. The next step is for decisionmakers, including those at the UNFCCC, to get on board and hold polluting industries liable for the damage they've knowingly caused, and use the finance to fund the real solutions the world needs,”,” said Sriram Madhusoodanan of Corporate Accountability, “Big Polluters are most responsible for this crisis and must be made to pay for the damages, loss of life, and climate doubt their operations have knowingly created.”

“The world’s climate culprits are increasingly being brought to court, signaling the beginning of a global boom in climate justice,” said Jean Su, energy director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The evidence can’t be any clearer that big polluters have known their dirty fossil fuels are cooking the planet. We’re urging all world leaders to hold these corporations accountable once and for all.”  

“This year’s climate talks are a crucial opportunity to hold polluting industries accountable for the climate crisis, especially the 100 fossil fuel companies that are responsible for 71% of greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. Citizens around the world are rising up to demand climate action, to demand an end to the immense suffering global temperatures are already causing in the Global South. The dirty fossil fuel party is over,” said Harjeet Singh, Global Lead on Climate Change for ActionAid International.

“The fossil fuel industry must take full responsibility for the climate change crisis. There is no alternative to cutting down emission at source and the time is now,” said Philip Jakpor of Environmental Rights Action.
"At every COP, we address governments as it is they who possess the political power to act on and address the climate emergency. But an important matter we are demanding them to do is to regulate the policies, behavior and operations of corporations.
One of the urgent things that corporations must do is to pay reparations for the huge damage they have caused for so many decades. But not pay so they will be able to continue business as usual and pollute even more. We have to make them pay for the many years of abuse, for the many decades of exploitation of resources for their operations, and for the enormous costs of suffering that we from the South have historically endured," said Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of the Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development.
 “Indigenous Peoples as all of humanity suffer massive and gross violations of their rights by the continuation of fossil fuel emissions. Those directly responsible must exercise some morality and look to their future generations as well as ours,and the continuation of life on Mother Earth as we know it and take immediate steps to stop their emissions at source,” said Alberto Saldamando of Indigenous Environmental Network.
"Some of the biggest and dirtiest corporations on the planet are a huge contributor to the climate crisis. We will stand up to those who are
destroying the planet and harming communities with impunity. We will push for a transformation of our energy, transport, food and economic systems,” said Dipti Bhatnagar, Climate Justice and Energy program coordinator at Friends of the Earth International.

“We are in the midst of a global crime scene where millions are being assaulted by unprecedented levels of climate violence. But those destroying the lives and livelihoods of innocent people are not nameless or faceless thugs. The names of these climate criminals are well known - they are big polluting industries whose thirst for profit is destroying people & planet. They must be brought to justice and held liable for the crisis they have caused.” Asad Rehman, Executive Director, War on Want

“For decades, Big Polluters have gone to any lengths to block, weaken and delay policy. That time is over. They need to pay for the real solutions and be held liable for their years of abuse.” -Pascoe Sabido, Corporate Europe Observatory.

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