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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Family planning: Lagos mothers laud exercise, we’re healthier - NaijaAgroNet

It was a commendation galore for the Lagos State government on its efforts for an improved family planning service delivery and adoption among resident mothers, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This commendation is coming at the heels of 2018 World Population Day which focused its anniversary on the “Family Planning is a Human Right”.

Most of the Lagos mothers who spoke to NaijaAgroNet at a field trip to some Primary HealthCare centres in Lagos by Pathfinders International, said they see the issue of family planning as their own human rights, hence they were encouraged to go all out with additional support of their spouses towards making life better and healthier.

For a teacher, Mrs. Oluwaseyi Oluwapadia, who has been using family planning since December 2012, noted she has evidently seen the benefit on herself and her children.

“My last baby was in about September 11 and will be 7 by this year September,” she declared.
Also, she affirmed support and consent of her husband, pointing out that work permission is the only hindrance to keeping up to date with medical visits as at when due.

“My husband gave his consent and has been very supportive,” she asserted, stressing that one of the immediate benefit for her is that family planning has helped her to keep fit and look like sweet sixteen.

Another mother, Mrs. Karim Bilikis, 32, told NaijaAgroNet that family planning is very good and has enabled her to have peace in the home front.

“It allows you to have peace at home, and take care of children up to university level,” she said.
As said by her, women or mothers precisely have some work and she would like to have time to improve on her education, noted that she is on two months family planning, which she had started using it after her first child.

“There is no side-effects unless you miss your medical appointment,” she responded, when asked if there is any side effect to family planning.

Family planning for her offers users an opportunity to have happy family, help your husband. Mrs. Karim revealed that she has plan to have just three children, stressing that she see family planning as a human right.

“Women have very important work to do including the breastfeeding and catering for all the children,” Mrs Karim said.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

IFAD wants increased access to finance for smallholder farmers - NaijaAgroNet

Indications have emerged that over 440,000 smallholder farmers in Mali to have better access to rural financial services thanks to a new agreement signed on 6 July by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Republic of Mali, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The new agreement will provide financial support to the Inclusive Finance in Agricultural Value Chain Project (INCLUSIF), which will be implemented in five regions of the country (Koulikoro, Sikasso, Kayes, Ségou and Mopti). By providing a range of financial products, including savings, credit and micro-insurance, the project will enable smallholder farmers to invest in the necessary infrastructure and equipment that will help them produce, store, process and better market their products.

“INCLUSIF’s vision is to promote the sustainable transformation of agricultural value chains by improving financial inclusion for disadvantaged groups, such as women and young people, and their organizations,” said Philippe Rémy, IFAD Country Programme Manager for Mali.

Rémy said INCLUSIF will bring 440,000 smallholders and 360 agricultural professional organizations into the banking system. In addition, over 40,000 producers will have access to financing for climate change adaptation. The project will also develop profitable and sustainable relationships with the private sector and the financial system.

Currently, financial inclusion in Mali’s rural areas stands at 20 per cent. Small and medium-sized enterprises also experience difficulties in accessing finance. In 2016, less than 1 per cent of bank credit went to the agricultural sector.

The total cost of the project is US$105.5 million, including a $22.9 million loan and $22.9 million grant from IFAD. The project will be cofinanced by the Government of Denmark ($21.6 million), rural finance institutions ($15.5 million), the ABC Microfinance (Babyloan) ($0.4 million), the private sector ($5.4 million), the Government of Mali ($4.6 million) and by the beneficiaries themselves ($1.9 million). The financing gap of $10.4 million will be covered from future IFAD financing rounds or by other potential cofinancing partners.

The financial agreement was signed by Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD, and Boubou Cissé, Minister of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Mali.

Since 1982, IFAD has financed 14 rural development programmes and projects in Mali at a total cost of $630 million, with an IFAD investment of $274.9 million. These programmes and projects have directly benefitted more than 516,000 rural households.

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Environmental institute ISPRA joins FAO’s renewed partnership - NaijaAgroNet

The Italian Institute for Environmental Research and Protection (ISPRA) has joined FAO and three of Italy's main research institutions - the National Research Council (CNR), the Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), and the National Agency for New Technologies,  Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) - in a partnership aimed at enhancing sustainable food production and nutrition in developing countries, reports NaijaAgroNet.

"The world is facing unprecedented global challenges that affect the long-term sustainability of food and agriculture systems, impacting global food security and the livelihoods of millions of family farmers worldwide," said Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General and Natural Resources Coordinator.  

With a world population expected to grow to nearly 10 billion people in 2050, , FAO estimates that agricultural output will need to increase by almost 50 percent compared to 2012 to meet projected food demand. Research is going to be crucial to help countries find the right balance between increasing agricultural productivity while sustainably managing valuable natural resources and conserving ecosystems.

"Italy's top research institutions can provide crucial expertise, information and science to move towards sustainable food systems and  the achievement of Zero Hunger by 2030," Semedo added.

"With this wide-ranging cooperation agreement Italy can better support FAO in the field of agriculture innovation for family farmers and smallholders. Together, we can  transform  agriculture and food systems to make them sustainable in innovative ways!" said Ambassador Pierfrancesco Sacco, Permanent Representative of the Italian Republic to the UN Agencies in Rome during the signing of the partnership. 

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CoFo to examine forest contribution to SDGs - NaijaAgroNet

The Heads of forestry services and other senior government officials from around the world will participate in the Committee on Forestry (CoFo) meeting held at FAO in Rome, Italy, report NaijaAgroNet.

The Committee on Forestry, NaijaAgroNet gathered, will also examine what contributions forests could make to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Participants, NaijaAgroNet reports, will identify emerging policy and technical issues affecting the forestry sector.

Some of the agenda, NaijaAgroNet reports, include halting deforestation, managing forests sustainably, restoring degraded forests and adding to worldwide tree cover - forests, trees play crucial roles in food security, drinking water, renewable energy, and rural economies and they provide around 20 percent of income for rural households in developing countries.

In particular, the Committee on Forestry will explore the contributions that forests can make to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and discuss actions related to the contributions of forests to food security and nutrition, including within the context of climate change.

The COFO meeting will be opened with a message from FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, while, the keynote speakers consist of Maithripala Sirisena, President of Sri Lanka, Daniel Gustafson Deputy Director-General (Programmes), FAO, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, Minister of Environment and Forestry, Indonesia; and Tomasz Chruszczow Special Envoy for Climate Change, Ministry of Environment, Poland.

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Pix: Forest, courtesy FAO

Friday, July 13, 2018

Nigeria’s rising population a security threat says MeCAM - NaijaAgroNet

Nigeria must multiply its efforts to strengthen the economy and provide all the necessary social and physical infrastructure to keep up with the country's explosive population growth, the Media Centre Against Child Malnutrition (MeCAM) has said, reports NaijaAgroNet.
MeCAM, a media advocacy group against child malnutrition, is determined to strengthen the agro-nutrition capacity and interest of its members professionally in contribution to nation-building and emancipation from extreme hunger especially in children, women as espoused in the Goal 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
MeCAM National Coordinator, Remmy Nweke said in a press statement commemorating the World Population Day that Nigeria’s estimated 192m population is not sustainable and may well worsen its security challenges and leave more children malnourished, unless it is matched by commensurate economic growth and infrastructure.
“Such infrastructure must include affordable and accessible medical facilities that would not only boost public health but will offer all the assistance for family planning to check unwanted pregnancy and keep population in check as well as have healthy children,” according to the statement.
“Overpopulation begets insecurity especially on food and put pressure on family fiscal economy, could lead to school dropouts, and lack of money for balance diet which is key to effective breastfeeding by mothers.
“Importantly, MECAM urges the government to make life more abundant for the people by working on all the fundamentals of the economy that would support its population. Also, we call on the governments to double their efforts on education, health care and access to other basic needs so that the rising population would be an asset instead of liabilities and source of security threats.”

Commemorated every July 11, the World Population Day was established by the then-Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989, an outgrowth of the interest generated by the Day of Five Billion, which was observed on 11 July 1987. The objective is to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues. This year’s commemoration was themed “Family Planning is a Human Right”.
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Self-Powering Smart Cities - NaijaAgroNet

The cost of renewable energies such as tidal and wave power in the open sea, wind and solar power have come down greatly in recent years but they are rarely considered viable for base power, largely because of the energy storage needed. As this gets solved by going beyond lithium-ion batteries, there are great growth opportunities for supercapacitors and reflow batteries in the $30 billion off-grid and the huge on-grid energy market. 

Radically improved supercapacitors will provide short term storage such as at turn-of-tide (8 of the top 10 cities are on the sea) and new batteries will provide longer term storage such as overnight for solar. The IDTechEx Research reports, Redox Flow Batteries 2018-2028: Markets, Trends, Applications and Supercapacitor Technologies and Markets 2018-2028 explain fully. Electricity will be made where it is needed as we bypass increasing attacks on long grid powerlines by cyberterrorists and increasingly violent weather. Self-Powering Smart Cities 2018-2028, a recent IDTechEx Research report envisages more

Reflow batteries are usually non-flammable, environmentally friendly, can be repaired, are relatively non-toxic and have lifespans of at least 10,000 cycles, maintaining 90% of their capacity over 20 years. Supercapacitors store energy more briefly but delight with longer life than either of them and effectively infinite cycle life: their power density is magnitudes ahead. The new IDTechEx Research report, Supercapacitor Materials and Technology Roadmap 2019-2029 scopes pseudocapacitor variants approaching lithium-ion battery energy density. 

Most supercapacitor options are non-toxic and non-flammable. Astoundingly, Imperial College London supercapacitors now form load-bearing structures of lighter weight than the dumb structure they replace. This “negative mass energy”, puts batteries on the back foot as the bulky, heavier option now. Currently all batteries, even new solid state ones, swell and shrink in use so they cannot become load-bearing smart materials.

Raghu Das CEO of IDTechEx says, “The Levelised Cost of Electricity for the best wind and solar plants has plummeted to below most coal, nuclear and gas plants. However, wind and solar are severely intermittent, this being usefully reduced but not eliminated by combining the two. The situation will improve as wind turbines grow higher to where winds are stronger at night and more consistent in the day. As they cease to be viable beyond 300 meters, new Airborne Wind Energy grabs wind at up to 2000 meters. 

There, the wind is even faster, and even more consistent and power produced increases as the cube of the wind speed. Supercapacitors can provide the brief energy storage needed as AWE is cycled like a kite. First commercial AWE arrived this year at 60kW: 1MW units approach.” See the IDTechEx Research report, Airborne Wind Energy (AWE) 2018-2028.

Another option is combination with the new wave and tidal power that has no infrastructure. See the IDTechEx Research report, Wave, Tidal and Hydro Power 1W-10MW 2018-2038. Self-powering smart cities like Belmont California and Facebook’s Toronto suburb are on the way as Oregon and other cities even make electricity from their water supply pipes and 110 solar road projects are proceeding globally. 

The IDTechEx Research report Smart Glass and Windows 2018-2028: Electronic Shading and Semi-Transparent PV convinces that 1MW solar windows in a high rise are in prospect. A Saudi car park provides 10MW – the whole demand for a nearby high-rise office block. Indeed, Ulleung Island Korea will provide its 7MW for 10,000 residents entirely from wind, solar, geothermal and small hydro power, ditching diesel completely.

*Contributed by Dr Peter Harrop, Chairman, IDTechEx

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

What you should know about Italian Olive groves - NaijaAgroNet


The hillsides between the Italian towns of Assisi and Spoleto (including Assisi, Spello, Foligno, Trevi, Campello sull Clitunno and Spoleto), where olives have been grown since the time of the Etruscans, are now one of the main olive production areas in Umbria and Italy, eports NaijaAgroNet.

The area has been recognized for the ingenuity through which natural resources and human needs have been combined to create livelihoods and mutually sustainable ecosystems. 

Even today, olive groves are cultivated with traditional knowledge and practices including the use of different types of terraces, growing technologies and genetic varieties which have been supported by local communities for many centuries. This area also demonstrates remarkable landscape of olive trees which have been formed by farmers' long term interaction with nature. 

The GIAHS register highlights unique ways that rural communities have over generations farmed in harmony with nature to create mutually sustainable livelihoods and ecosystems, and often produced remarkable landscapes in the process. 

FAO's selection criteria includes that sites be of global importance, have value as a public good in terms of supporting food and livelihood security, agro-biodiversity, knowledge systems, adapted technologies, and culture, and have outstanding landscapes. 

Evidence suggests that GIAHS designation can help conserve valuable elements of the sites while boosting demand and prices for the agricultural products, as well as encouraging tourism and jobs growth. 

The two new additions bring the total number of sites on the list to 52 in 21 countries. 

Other remarkable landscapes already recognized include Hani rice terraces in China, the Massai pastoral system in Kenya and Tanzania, the Ghout oasis system in Algeria, wasabi production in Japan, Spain's salt production in Salinas de Añana, Portugal's agro-sylvo-pastoral system in Barroso, and farmland in Mexico's Chinampas that relies on oral transmission of traditional farming techniques dating back to the Aztec civilization. 

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Monday, July 9, 2018

UN agencies enter MoU to close SDG gaps - NaijaAgroNet


The two of United Nation's agencies, namely the  Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have renewed their partnership to boost efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, including the goal of Zero Hunger, reports NaijaAgroNet.

FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva and UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay today signed a new Memorandum of Understanding in Paris. It comes more than 70 years after the first partnership signing between the agencies.

"This new agreement opens a new chapter in the relationship between our two organizations," said FAO's Graziano da Silva. "We need to work closer together to accelerate our efforts towards the goals set out under Agenda 2030."

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay welcomed reinforced collaboration between UNESCO and FAO as two key Specialized Agencies of the UN system. "The nexus between education, culture, food and health is at the center of many of the challenges faced in this century", she highlighted. "We are committed to strengthening our collaboration in these areas to create sustainable futures for societies."

Under the partnership, FAO and UNESCO have agreed to support the development of learning modules, teaching aids and practical sessions for agricultural secondary schools, universities and farmer field schools on food security and sustainable food systems. The agencies will also explore opportunities for nutrition education and healthy nutrition in schools.

This builds on the joint work already being carried out in South Sudan's cattle camps, where literacy and numeracy training by UNESCO is incorporated into FAO's Pastoral Field School approach. This means young people can access a formal school curriculum as well as topics on livestock management and livelihoods' diversification.

FAO and UNESCO will also develop a joint knowledge-sharing platform on the nexus between food, culture and peace, and develop special education projects in poor, rural conflict-affected areas.

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Two sites added to global agricultural heritage - NaijaaAgroNet


Traditional ginseng farming in the Republic of Korea and olive tree groves in Italy's Umbria region have been recognized on the register of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS), managed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), reports NaijaAgroNet.

The two sites, NaijaAgroNet gathered, were added during a meeting of the GIAHS Scientific Advisory Group in Rome this week (2-4 July), which is the first time an Italian site has been recognized, and the fourth site in the Republic of Korea. 

NaijaAgroNet reports that the traditional ginseng agricultural system in Geumsan, South Chungcheong Province has been recognized because it relies on a symbiotic relationship between nature and cultivation, and has been in practice for around 1500 years. Farmers use a 15-to-20 year rotation system whereby land is left fallow or used for other crops after harvest, to allow the land's ‘energy' to restore.  Surrounding forests and rivers contribute to micro climate control, and shade structures using natural materials help mimic conditions for wild ginseng cultivation.

"This is not only about the past, but also about the future," said FAO's Yoshihide Endo who coordinates the GIAHS programme. "Becoming a GIAHS site encourages the preservation of these long histories of agricultural practice, but it also recognizes the benefits for future generations in keeping these systems sustainable, promoting knowledge sharing and agrotourism potential and encouraging young people to participate in agriculture." 

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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

African leaders unite against malaria, launch ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’ - NaijaAgroNet

African leaders have launched the Zero MalariaStarts with Me, a continent-wide campaign co-led by the African Union Commission and the Roll-Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership to End Malaria, to see more people involved in the fight against the disease that kills over 400,000 Africans every year, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Following reports that malaria cases have increased for the first time in more than a decade, Zero Malaria Starts with Me seeks to reignite a society-wide movement to get back on track efforts that contributed to a 60% decline in cases and saved an estimated 7 million lives since 2000, and to help meet the goal of eliminating malaria across Africa by 2030.

The campaign, unveiled Sunday during the AIDS Watch Africa Meeting at the 31st African Union Summit by President Macky Sall of Senegal and King Mswati III of Eswatini and endorsed by 55 (TBC) African Heads of State and Government today, empowers communities to take greater ownership of malaria prevention and care, and to mobilise additional resources for the effort.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Chair of the African Union, says: “The African continent accounts for over 90% of the global malaria burden. It is in this context that we have launched the “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” campaign, a continent-wide public-facing campaign for a malaria-free Africa. The campaign will reignite grassroot movements in which individuals, families, communities, religious leaders, private sector, political leaders, and other members of society pledge to take responsibility in the fight against malaria.”

Inspired by Senegal’s nationwide campaign of the same name launched in 2014, Zero Malaria Starts with Me is now being rolled out across the African continent to encourage all citizens – political, business, community and religious leaders, as well as individuals, families and communities – to make a personal commitment to ending malaria for good.

To date, over 20 African nations have committed to join in supporting the campaign, with presidents of Uganda, Zambia and Mozambique already launching nationwide campaigns that include large-scale bed net distribution drives to establishing high-level national End Malaria Councils and parliamentary groups on malaria. Others, including the First Ladies of Ghana and Niger, have pledged to do more to engage leaders and communities to fight malaria in their countries.

President Macky Sall of Senegal comments: “In my country, malaria has long been a major public health concern threatening the socio-economic development and structural transformation trajectory that has put our country on a firm path to sustainable development. It is through national ownership, shared responsibility and global solidarity that we can defeat malaria for good.”

HM King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Eswatini, Chair of the African Leaders’ Malaria Alliance, says: “This campaign further reinvigorates our commitment to eliminate malaria in Africa as we now call upon all our people at all levels to work with us in ridding our continent of this scourge. I urge all governments to invest more in fighting the disease, however the success of this campaign will depend on partnerships and on collaboration across sectors and amongst our population, for as government, we cannot win this fight against malaria alone.”

The campaign offers simple tools to increase community participation in malaria elimination efforts, keep pressure up on leaders to stay committed to ending the disease, and forge new partnerships that can contribute additional funding that will increase access to treatment, improve diagnosis and prevention against the deadly disease. Campaign resources are provided via a Zero Malaria Starts with Me toolkit available at

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