Search NaijaAgroNet

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Over 130m girls experience FGM in Africa, Middle East

More than 130 million girls and women have experienced some form of Female Genital Mutilation, FGM in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where the harmful practice is most common, the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has said.
NaijaAgroNet reports that this is coming as UNICEF raised alarm that over 700 million women alive today were married as children.
The world body made the disclosure in a statement released today in United Kingdom as the UK government and UNICEF played host to a first-ever Girl Summit to rally support for much faster progress to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage – two practices that affect millions of girls across the globe.

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake stressed that FGM and child marriage profoundly and permanently harm girls, denying them their right to make their own decisions and to reach their full potential. In his words, they (FGM and child marriage) are detriments to the girls themselves, their families, and their societies. “Girls are not property; they have the right to determine their destiny. When they do so, everyone benefits”, he said.

 According to UNICEF, more than 1 in 3 – or some 250 million – were married before 15. The body believes that  girls who marry before they turn 18 are less likely to remain in school and more likely to experience domestic violence.
In the report titled: No time to lose: New UNICEF data show need for urgent action on female genital mutilation and child marriage , young teenage girls are more likely to die due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth than women in their 20s; their infants are more likely to be stillborn or die in the first month of life.

The report discloses that beyond extreme physical and psychological pain, girls who undergo FGM are at risk of prolonged bleeding, infection, infertility and death and adds that child marriage is even more widespread and can lead to a lifetime of disadvantage and deprivation.

“Overall, an adolescent girl today is about a third less likely to be cut than 30 years ago. Kenya and Tanzania have seen rates drop to a third of their levels three decades ago through a combination of community activism and legislation. In the Central African Republic, Iraq, Liberia and Nigeria, prevalence has dropped by as much as half. Attitudes are also changing: recent data show that the majority of people in the countries where FGM is practiced believe it should end, but continue to compel their daughters to undergo the procedure because of strong social pressure.
But without far more intensive and sustained action now from all parts of society, hundreds of millions more girls will suffer profound, permanent, and utterly unnecessary harm”, the statement said.
The report maintains that if rates of decline seen in the past three decades are sustained, the impact of population growth means the number of women married as children (more than 700 million) will remain flat through 2050; and up to 63 million more girls could be cut by 2050.
The report also argues that doubling the rate of decline would bring the number of women married as children down to 570 million by 2030 and 450 million by 2050.

“The numbers tell us we must accelerate our efforts. And let’s not forget that these numbers represent real lives. While these are problems of a global scale, the solutions must be local, driven by communities, families and girls themselves to change mindsets and break the cycles that perpetuate FGM/C and child marriage. We can’t let the staggering numbers numb us – they must compel us to act”, Lake said.

Chukwudi Obi 
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Climate Change: Concern Worldwide joins forces with 10 NGOs

Concern Worldwide has joined 10 NGOs in an alliance to reach 60 million farmer s in a new climate change approach over the next 7 years.

The African Union, announced that Concern Worldwide is one of the non-governmental organizations, NGOs,  joining a group of 10 global partners whose goal is to reach six million farm families with new Climate-Smart Agriculture approaches over the next seven years, NaijaAgronet gathered.

This was disclosed to NaijaAgronet  at the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) at the 23rd African Union Summit on Agriculture and Food Security, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

Known as the Africa Climate-Smart Agriculture Alliance, NaijaAgronet checks reveal that the group will contribute to the African Union’s goal of helping 25 million farmers become more resilient and achieve food and nutrition security by 2025. It will do so by aligning international NGO and research activities around existing agricultural investment plans, increasing coherence and coordination for greater impact.

Concern joins partners including Catholic Relief Services (CRS), World Vision, CARE, and the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in the new alliance.

In his reaction, Concern Worldwide CEO Dominic MacSorley ,said: “This is a hugely exciting initiative and we are delighted that Concern has been invited to bring its expertise and knowledge to what is a unique global partnership. Every day, our teams on the ground not only see first-hand the impact of climate change but are assisting the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people deal with the often catastrophic consequences. It is vital that the international community faces climate change with pioneering approaches like this that aim to quickly scale up on-farm assistance and link to technological advances. This new alliance is designed to achieve transformational impact; for women and men, for communities, and on agricultural systems, as they face floods, drought and other climate-related threats to their lives and livelihoods.”

Chukwudi Obi

... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

AfDB canvasses private funding of Africa’s agro-industrial sector

AfDB canvasses private funding of Africa’s agro-industrial sector

THE African Development Bank (AfDB) has advocated private investment in Africa’s agro-industrial sector to promote sustainable agricultural development in the region, NaijaAgronet authoritatively gathered.

AfDB’s Regional Director for West Africa, Mr Janvier Liste, who made the call in Abidjan recently, said this in his address during the signing of funding agreement between the fund for the Acceleration of Agricultural Development (FADA) and the Ivorian Society of Animal Production (SIPRA).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abidjan reports that the agreement is to provide funding to enable SIPRA carry out studies for poultry construction and animal feeds production in Côte d'Ivoire.

``This will guarantee a shift of agriculture from peasant to a more modern, competitive and market-related one.Private investors must necessarily be part of this move by massively investing in the agro-industrial sector to boost the transformation of agriculture in the continent,’’ Liste said.

Also speaking, SIPRA’s Representative, Mr Sylvain Gotta, said the project to be sponsored by the grant would create direct jobs for thousands of youths.

``The project is part of SIPRA’s investment programme; it is designed to construct livestock farms and feed mills to meet the Ivorian market. It will create direct jobs for the people, it will provide additional outlet for cereals, it will also allow farmers to be more competitive,’’ he said.

Chukwudi Obi

... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Convention tasks environment ministers on illegal wildlife trade

THE Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has called on environment ministers to support the war against illegal wildlife trade, NaijaAgronet gathered.

The call was made in a statement issued by the secretariat of the ongoing UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, and made available to NaijaAgroNet.

According to the statement, the ministers should be at the fore front of addressing the ecosystem which is under threat from illegal wildlife trade.

The statement stressed that illegal wildlife trade had been an issue of priority in international conferences for the past three years.

``From the UN Security Council to the World Heritage Committee, there is recognition at the highest political levels of the economic, social, environmental and security impacts of this highly destructive criminal activity. The focus now has to be on the front line. This means even stronger law enforcement and demand-reduction efforts across multiple countries, to reverse the current dangerous trends. CITES decisions and compliance processes underpin the global effort.”

Secretary-General of CITES, John Scanlon was quoted as saying that, ``Ultimately, this fight will be won or lost on the front lines, whether in the field, the courtroom, or the market place but not in a conference room. We have had a lot of important high-level events over the past three years and we must now better focus our collective efforts on local, national and regional actions.

``The effects of illegal wildlife trade on natural assets were highlighted earlier this month when the World Heritage Committee added Selous Reserve in Tanzania to the `in danger’ list under the World Heritage Convention due to the impacts of poaching for illegal trade. Illegal logging, poaching and wildlife crimes have an impact on over 50 per cent of the Natural World Heritage Sites”.

According the statement, the effects of illegal wildlife trade on natural assets were highlighted earlier this month at the 38th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, held in Doha.

The statement further quoted Scanlon, as saying: ``We cannot allow poaching for the illegal trade in wildlife and the global crime syndicates behind it to destroy entire species.

``The world is losing the building blocks of our ecosystems that we all rely upon. ‘Africa’s elephants are also known as the ‘ecological engineers’ they disperse the seeds of the food they eat and are an essential part of healthy and diverse ecosystems.
``Healthy ecosystems also provide essential services for people from the provision of fresh water to wildlife-based tourism.’’

The statement, noted that both UNESCO and CITES had expressed concern over World Heritage sites across Africa that were suffering from a surge in poaching.
It said the organisations had expressed concern for poaching, especially for elephants, which is diminishing their natural heritage value and appeal as wildlife tourism destinations, which can have severe economic consequences.
``Half of the 14 African World Heritage sites monitored under the CITES Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) programme are now on the `in danger’ list.
``The CITES Secretariat is working with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre to better protect these iconic sites.
``The degradation of World Heritage sites through poaching for illegal trade is destroying these beautiful wildlife-based tourism assets impoverishing local people and national economies as well as the world’s natural heritage,” the statement added.

Chukwudi Obi
... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

FAO warns of Iraqi food insecurity

United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has warned that Iraq is facing serious food insecurity concerns following the recent escalation of conflict in a large swath of the country, NaijaAgronet authoritatively reports.

FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) recently raised the alarm that over 1 million people so far have fled their homes and farms since January, leaving behind jobs and possessions just as the main harvesting season for wheat and barley crops was getting under way.

According to the report, no fewer than 2 million Iraqis are now displaced within the country, including those affected by the Syrian conflicts and previous events in Iraq.

FAO had predicted an above-average wheat harvest of 3 million tonnes for this year, some 16 percent above the five-year average. The barley crop was also expected to hold steady at 900 000 tonnes, still 15 percent above the five-year average.

However, the report observes that “prevailing civil insecurity and associated access problems, labour shortages, and disruptions in transport and marketing are expected to significantly impact harvesting and domestic production and supply”.

The governor rates most affected by the current conflict, Nineveh and Salahaddin, on average contribute nearly a third of Iraq’s wheat production and about 38 percent of its barley.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that in Nineveh and Salahaddin governor rates, grain reserves are being depleted and levels of available food via the public distribution system are fast deteriorating. The report further states that the system is the main source of food for the poorest Iraqis, providing them with subsidized rice, wheat flour, oil, sugar and baby milk formula.

In addition to the governor-rates, which are the epicentre of the ongoing conflict and civil insecurity, the northern Kurdish region of Iraq is also under pressure, since it is now hosting a large share of people who have fled their homes in addition to some 225 000 Syrian refugees.

In his reaction to the situation, FAO Representative in Iraq, Fadel El Zubi, state that “If the conflict continues, basic food commodities and other essential items will be increasingly unavailable to the most vulnerable, despite government subsidies,” adding that “The conflict and displacement has also coincided with the peak of summer heat and the holy month of Ramadan, when household expenditures on food and other essential items are normally higher.”

The report forecasts that cereal import requirements for 2014-2015 are now expected to increase saying that in the 2013-2014 marketing year that is just ending, cereal import levels were estimated at 4.26 million tonnes, including 2.7 million tonnes of wheat and 1.3 million tonnes of rice.

 In the FAO report, animal diseases are already a threat to livestock in Iraq and a danger to public health, particularly for refugees and people who have been displaced.

Chukwudi Obi/GEE

... Linking agrobiz, people & technology

BOKO HARAM: Adamawa may experience famine – Expert

Following incessant violent attacks on lives and property by insurgents in the North East region of the country, there are strong indications that the Northern part of Adamawa may experience shortage of foodstuff and livestock, NaijaAgroNet authoritatively gathered.

An agriculturalist, Dr Walia Hamman, said at the weekend that most of the victims killed in Madagali and Michika local government areas of the state were peasant farmers who produced about 70 per cent of foodstuff in the state.

Dr Hamman had told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yola that records showed a significant number of farmers had abandoned their farmlands and migrated to neighbouring towns and states in fear of attacks.

He also said that a survey conducted by the ministry indicated that thousands of farmers in the affected areas had not shown interest to cultivate crops in 2014.

``If urgent step to encourage the few farmers still residing within the affected areas to cultivate crops is not taken, there will be possibility of hunger in some communities living in Madagali and Michika this year,” he said.

He listed Chakawa, Zanzha and Bitiku as some of the few villages in Madagali Local Government Area that were mostly affected by the activities perpetrated by the insurgents adding that officials of the ministry in the area were encouraging farmers to go back to farming to mitigate the expected shortage of food.

Chukwudi Obi

... Linking agrobiz, people & technology