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Saturday, October 29, 2011

NEPAD, SA commemorate Food and Nutrition Security Day

The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) in collaboration with the South African Department of Health kick started the commemoration of the year's Africa’s Food and Nutrition Security Day (AFNSD) with a technical seminar today, Thursday, October 27, 2011.

The Africa Food and Nutrition Security Day slated for October 30, was followed by the High level official ceremony.

NaijaAgroNet recalled that AFNSD was officially launched in 2010 at Malawi during the Conference of African Ministers of Agriculture (CAMA) following a decision passed in July of the same year by the African Union summit in Kampala, Uganda for AFNSD to be commemorated annually on the October 30, in all AU member states.

The main objectives for creating the AFNSD include sharing best practices, innovations, challenges and constraints surrounding the availability of food and to improve access to market while opening opportunities for trade by promoting production and consumption of quality foods.

Part of the objectives include creation of a widespread awareness about the importance of investing in intra-African trade of strategic food and agricultural commodities in order to promote food and nutrition, and promotion of a sustainable access to evidence-based material and child nutrition interventions.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Nigeria needs to confront food security – ActionAid

An international non-governmental organization with focus on right to food, the ActionAid Nigeria, has said that the country needs to confront food security in its domain.

This, ActionAid said, would be in line with the National Adaptation and Plan Action on climate change.

The adaptation strategies, according to the programme officer, Right to Food at ActionAid Nigeria, Ms Constance Okeke at the recently concluded regional non-state actors’ workshop in Abuja, would also build on existing strategies and predictive climate scenarios in order to assess the prospective vulnerability and long term requirement.

“It is a necessity for Nigerian government as a matter of urgency to confront the crisis about food security, climate change and other resources,” she declared to NaijaAgroNet in a chat.

She maintained that it’s important for Nigeria to recognize this as major issue to the right of its citizens to life without poverty, right to food, right to life and livelihood, advising that Nigeria should examine success stories from other countries as a case study.

The ActionAid Nigeria further recommended the recognition of the strategic roles of small scale farmers in order to ensure food security in all the national strategic plans.

Creating a special funding scheme for small scale farmers, especially for women farmer, ActionAid said, would increase production, advocating for an increase in the annual budgetary allocation to a minimum of 10 per cent of the national budget.

The organization urged the federal and state governments to ensure that a revitalize agricultural extension services is up and running in all local governments of the federation, with attendant incentives to encourage and support climate resilient, low cost farming and, research and development focused on low input methods.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

ActionAid demands legislation on ‘right to food’

The ActionAid Nigeria has scored Nigeria 46 per cent in an overall rating, just as it disclosed that Nigeria has no legal framework for the “right to food.”

The scorecard also revealed that Nigerian’s hunger level is medium with a low climate vulnerability and low budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector.

Confirming this with NaijaAgroNet, the Programme Officer, Right to Food at ActionAid Nigeria, Ms Constance Okeke, noted that though the nation has a moderate plans for climate adaptation, yet more than 12 million are undernourished, almost one third of children are also underweight, just as 30 per cent of children shows signs of severe malnutrition.

She said that in order to withstand the increasing price of food in the nation, ActionAid advised Nigerian governments to increase spending in agriculture, increasing production on more than half of the uncultivated arable land.

The 2011 budget, ActionAid Nigeria pointed out had given only 3.5 per cent to agriculture and water resources; a declination compared to 2010 budget, which allocated 5.4 per cent, and the small portion of the budget allocated is not capable of scratching the surface of improvements or even the needed inputs in agriculture.

A commendable performance was recorded despite the low interest of governments in the sector, the sector still grew by 6 per cent in 2010 but the success could only be traced to good weather conditions.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Developing nations undecided over ‘Green Climate Fund’

Developing nations were at the weekend undecided over the composition of the ‘Green Climate Fund,’ a project meant to give up to US$100billion about N15.87trillion yearly to developing nations by 2020 for combating climate change.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that Green Climate Fund was agreed upon by developed nations at the Conference of Parties (COP-16) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in December last year at Cancun, Mexico.

Though an agreement was reached at the COP-16 by negotiators from 194 countries to create the trust fund but poor nations from Africa and Asia said that there will be a limitation to the use of the fund as a result of the control of the donor countries.

The latest disclosure was the outcome of the meeting of an international committee charged with the responsibility of designing the fund in time for governments' approval at the upcoming UN's climate change conference in November, this year.

NaijaAgroNet also gathered that poor African and Asian nations alleged vulnerability to climate change numbering up to 48 represented by Bangladesh and Zambia called for a radical new approach to the trust fund.

In their argument, the national climate change trust fund in developing countries should be able to access the Green Climate Fund directly without having to go through a third party such as the World Bank.

This, they say entails long delays and excessive paperwork, which will in turn limit their ability to make good use of the money.

Saleemul Huq, a Senior Fellow, Climate Change Group of International Institute for Environment and Development backed the argument that direct access will empower the recipients of support to take their destiny into their own hands, without the necessity to have their plans and projects approved by an external body. Read more.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

UNEP beckons on African Young Environmentalists

The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) is beckoning on Young Environmental Journalist with an award which entry closes December 16, 2011.

UNEP said the entry is open to young African journalist between the ages of 21 and 35 years, based on the continent and working for local, regional or international media organizations.

Applicants are expects to submit one radio, television, print or online report in English or French on an environmental issue.

Bryan Coll of UNEP News desk confirmed this to NaijaAgroNet, saying that articles to be submitted must not exceed 3,000 words while radio or television report must not be longer than six minutes and must have been published or broadcast between January 1, and December 2011.

Coll also disclosed that applications could be made online at, while funding support for the award is been made available by the United States’ government.

The winner, Coll noted, would get an all-expenses-paid study visit to the USA, where the winner will follow a specially designed “green itinerary” by interacting with leading environmental projects, green economy projects, scientists and public figures.

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Political will to fight drought in East Africa

Awosanya Yinka Sanya

In the recent months, the world has been daunted with the news that horn of Africa is facing the worst drought in six decades, according to the United Nations (UN).

This has led to loss of lives in millions while some find their destiny at refugee camps for survival, thereby creating food insecurity and displacement of people.

An estimation of about 13 million East Africans are affected by the famine with about 2.5million Kenyans not left out as they are in dare need of food.

The United Nations while trying to sort out the issue of food insecurity in Kenya said the affected population will soon rise to three million.

The world's largest refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya, was intended for 90,000 people, but the UN said it now have more than 380,000 occupants.

Part of the cause of the drought, according to experts, could be linked to the increase in global food price by almost 40 per cent between July last year 2010 and February 2011.

Industry observers noted that the demand and supply sides were the major factors affecting food pricing as well as an increase in population also contributes towards high food price.

Equally, UN said, countless efforts have been made to combat the issue of escalating malnutrition in the region; governments, corporate institutions and foundations have all try to meet the needs of the East Africans, whereas millions of dollars have expended in fighting the famine.

Part of the efforts includes the gathering of the East African Legislative Assembly’s resolve to strategise so as to boost food security in the region. The legislators joined forces with global parliamentarians from 30 other countries of Association of European Parliamentarians in appealing for assistance to address the drought threatening lives in the horn of Africa.

The East Africa Agricultural Development Action Plan which is expected to run for 25 years between 2010 and 2035 was also approved by the Assembly in December 2010 in an effort to control the food insecurity.

Chinese government was not left out in the crusade, as it partnered other international communities to make available emergency grains and monetary donations of about N11.07billion to the governments of Eastern Africa.

Also, in effort to fight the drought that have already claimed about 30,000 children in just 3 months, the government of Kenya made a controversial move to allow the importation of Genetically Modified (GM) maize from South Africa since GM maize could be grown in the country.

The World Bank is not left out in the fight as it extends helping hands with the sum of about N299.5billion to be used in catering for the needs of the affected populace.

The United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon was quoted as saying recently that three-quarters of a million people in the affected region are at imminent risk of starvation due to war, the droughts that have continually plagued the regions and rising food cost.

Ban Ki-Moon described the drought as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, hence there is need for an addition aid of N112,225 million to the victim countries.

Spirit of compassion and generosity was demonstrated in recent times by the Canadian government which led to the donation of the sum of N11.49 billion to support the East Africans. The funds to be manned by the United Nations Children Funds (UNICEF) and some other United Nations programmes, is expected to give a boost to the alleviation projects for East Africans.

Above all, industry watchers expected that AU should be able to galvanise resources, even if not like member countries, but as a continental body to support what the international community has done so far and would continue to do in the near future.

The political will to entrench this concept of an African Made Aid, would be seen by many as a means of reducing corrupt funds being starched away in advance countries.


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UN confab on Sustainable Development goes to Rio

The United Nations planned conference on Sustainable Development (SD) is anticipated to give boost to global economic development.

Addressing a press conference at the UN headquarters, the UN Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. Sha Zukang said the conference "Rio 2012" will be hosted by Brazil following its impressive track record in economic growth, poverty eradication and environmental conservation after it played host to UN Conference on Environment and Development in 1992.

Zukang also said that the SD conference scheduled to hold in June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, will provide opportunity for international community to build a global economic development model.

The model according to Zukang is meant to improve lives, ensuring social equity and reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcity.

"Brazil has certainly shown the world how to put sustainable development into practice," he said.

Further, he recommended that participating Member States should come up with a focused political document based on the three objectives of the event which are renewing political commitment for sustainable development, identifying progress and obstacles to achieving it and addressing emerging challenges. Read more

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ban Ki-Moon urges countries to recognize energy security

In an effort to help about three billion people that are in need of modern power, the United Nations has made some recommendations to countries around the globe to recognize the importance of energy security on development.

Addressing participants at a recent Energy Conference in Oslo, Norway, the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, made this call, saying that for a clean energy revolution to happen, mostly for some three million people, relying on charcoal or wood as source of power for cooking and heating, a change in attitude must evolve.

NaijaAgroNet recalled that about three billion people rely on charcoal or wood for cooking and heating till date, this people, Ban added that such people are energy-poor.

As said by him, energy poverty translates into grinding, dehumanizing poverty. “We need energy not only to be universal; [we] need it to be clean – to be sustainable as well. We cannot continue to burn our way to prosperity. The only way to minimize the risks of dangerous climate
change is by ensuring that energy is sustainable.”

Sustainable energy, he said, is critical for all aspects of human progress and pointed out that a departure from existing practices is needed to achieve the goal of universal energy access by 2030.

"The only way to minimize the risks of dangerous climate change is by ensuring that energy is sustainable," he said. Read more

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Agrobiz tops agenda as young entrepreneurs gather in Cotonou

Cotonou a city in Benin Republic would soon play host to some young entrepreneurs whose top agenda is agro business and leadership with the anticipated launch of Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN).

The four-day knowledge and experience sharing event would focus on promoting youth empowerment, reports MenaFn.

The event titled "Youth Entrepreneurs - Agents of Change" is expected to bring over 100 youths from around the world together to discussion issues focusing on agricultural business, innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership.

Organized by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Phelps Stokes Fund with the collaboration of Benin Government, Songhai Centre, Palmares DundacAGBPo Cultural, FundaciA'n Activos Culturales Afro (ACUA) and the GIVE 1 Project.

The director of IFAD's West and Central Africa Division, Mr. Mohamed Beavogui said the event would be an exciting medium to gather young people in order to define with the youths about their objectives and strategies to improve the quality of their lives.

GYIN, he said, would be launched at the event scheduled to commence on October 10, 2011 to highlight youth-run enterprises that are located in, or providing products and services to rural areas.

And with the support of IFAD, GYIN will facilitate and manage entirely young people. Read more


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Monday, October 10, 2011

AfricaRice, partners plan GRiSP for rice development

To benefit everyone in the society especially the poor and hungry, a global programme known as Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) has be created to look into development challenges of major Africa’s rice, reports StarAfrica

The main aim of the programme, Director General, AfricaRice, Dr. Papa Abdoulaye Seck, said is to mobilize the world's rice science, involve range of stakeholders in technology generation and disseminate process to address issue affecting rice development in the continent.

Seck also said the urgent need to conduct different research activities is acknowledged and hence the reason behind GRiSP as it is a proposal to a new global approach to research.

AfricaRice, Dr. Seck said, is part of the programme with other partners in order to address the constraints of rice production efficiently. Read more

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Canadians donate N11.49billion to East Africans

The Canadian government has donated the sum of $70 million, about N11.49 billion to the drought-troubled East Africa countries.

Minister for International Co-operation, Canada, Ms Bev Oda, disclosed this at a conference on food security in Montreal, at the weekend, reports CBCNews.

“Canadians have once again demonstrated their compassion and generosity by continuing to support the people of East Africa suffering from this catastrophic drought,” Oda said.

She also said that the Canadian government is proud to partner with her citizens to help those affected by the drought.

“We continue to work with partners on ground to ensure Canadian aid is helping those who need it the most, including women and children” she said.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that some of the fund implementing organizations includes UNICEF, CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, World Vision Canada and Plan Canada. Read more.


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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Adesina decries Nigeria’s annual fish consumption ratio

Nigerian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has decried poor fish production in the country which has led to the low annual per capita fish consumption rate and frozen fish importation in excess of N100 billion, reports ThisDay.

Addressing a national stakeholders workshop in Abuja on Development of Aquaculture Value Chain under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of his Ministry, Dr. Adesina, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Ezekiel Oyemomi, revealed that the fish consumption rate in the country is only 7.5 kilogrammes as against 15 kilogrammes per annum as recommended by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Also, he said the estimated annual fish demand in the country was about 2.66 million as against the annual domestic production of about 0.78 million, thus giving a demand-supply gap of about 1.8 million metric tones and importation of frozen fish worth over N100 billion.

The minister further said that Nigeria imported over 780,000 metric tonnes of frozen fish annually from Europe, Latin America and Eastern countries. Read more.
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