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Showing posts with label Kenya. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kenya. Show all posts

Thursday, September 3, 2015

FAO, MasterCard partnership kick starts with Turkana 170,000 refugees



 
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) partnership with MasterCard, the technology company in the global payments industry, will take off by caring for Kakuma refugee camp, Turkana County, Kenya, NaijaAgroNet reports.

The camp is currently housing 170,000 refugees who have fled wars and violence in neighboring countries.

According to the agreement, camp residents will be provided with prepaid cards that will permit them to buy charcoal produced locally by the host community – charcoal that has been certified as being produced in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly way. The scheme, NaijaAgroNet gathered, is designed to improve incomes of Turkana residents, reduce social tensions between those residents and the refugees, and relieve pressure on the environment.

MasterCard will provide its technology expertise and a meaningful financial contribution, to kick-start the business chain by providing 1,240 host-community households with improved charcoal making kilns and 7,000 refugee households with energy efficient stoves and credit to purchase 25 per cent of their annual charcoal needs.

The FAO and MasterCard are joining forces to create this innovative alliance against hunger.  The new partnership agreement which was signed recently by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and Walt Macnee, Vice Chairman of MasterCard, at FAO headquarters, NaijaAgroNet reports, will  pave the way for a collaborative effort that will develop inclusive payment systems to support small-scale farmers and poor families.

Among other activities, the collaboration will explore ways to provide credit or money to households for purchases of basic needs and farming inputs on local markets, thereby supporting local economies and putting financial tools in the hands of economically marginalized communities.

The effort will benefit from the complementary strengths of each organization: MasterCard’s expertise in payments technology and FAO's global reach and track record in combating hunger and malnutrition, NaijaAgroNet learnt.

FAO's three main goals, NaijaAgroNet discovers, include the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition; the elimination of poverty and the driving forward of economic and social progress for all; and, the sustainable management and utilization of natural resources, including land, water, air, climate and genetic resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

Cyriacus Nnaji/GEE
 

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

NCRRI, others plan genetically modified cassava for Africa


The National Crops Resources Research Institute (NCRRI) in Uganda and Kenya and other research agencies are currently  developing cassava varieties under a collaborative project termed ‘virus resistant cassava for Africa,’ NaijaAgroNet reports.

The project which also involves Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, and the Donald Danforth Plant Centre, is aimed at developing cassava varieties that are not only resistant to viruses but also preferred by farmers. When supported and released, these cassava varieties have the potential of saving farmers preferred varieties which had been abandoned because they were susceptible to cassava brown streak disease.

An agriculturist, science writer and an advocate on science-based interventions in solving agricultural challenges in developing countries, Isaac Ongu, said farmers are not only looking for resistant cassava but cassava with the familiar taste that they and their children have always eaten and enjoyed.

Genetic engineering, he said, has a great potential to preserve farmers’ desirable traits with minimum variation compared to conventional breeding that always register marked differences in tastes and texture of cassava. This project, NaijaAgroNet gathered, is not only trying to deliver resistant cassava but could rescue farmers’ preferred varieties that have been abandoned because of the viruses.

Scientists are improving cassava because of its potential in guaranteeing household food security as well as its potential as an industrial raw materials in brewery, bakery, fuel and pharmaceuticals. Anti GMO activists too are resisting biotech cassava because of its potential to deflate the balloon of lies surrounding GM crops. They are frankly scared that the new GM cassava with its focus of preserving farmers preferred traits stands a high chance of being adopted by several households — if it’s not blocked.

Anti GMO activists have intentionally twisted the fact that intercropping would work well with most genetically modified crops and misinform and scare farmers, alleging that all GM crops cannot be intercropped. One of the crops they are targeting is genetically modified and nutritionally enhanced cassava, which has been tweaked to be virus resistant, protecting Africa’s most important staple against two of the most virulent cassava viruses in Africa, the cassava brown streak disease and cassava Mosaic disease.

Cyriacus Nnaji/GEE

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Pix: Isaac Ongu

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

G-Soko platform to connect farmers for grains


NaijaAgroNet:
G-Soko, a platform to connect farmers to grain buyers was launched recently in Nairobi, Kenya, NaijaAgroNetreports.

The platform, invented by a Kenyan-based Information Technology(IT) company, Virtual City in collaboration with the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) and the Food Trade Eastern and Southern Africa Organization, is an online trading platform which would enable Smallholder farmers in the East Africa to sell their produce at favourable prices.

The Secretary General, the East African Community, Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera, commended EAGC for partnering with the Secretariat to implement the EAC Food Security Action Plan, which is the community’s strategy to achieve food security in the region.

The Executive Director of EAGC, Mr. Gerald Masila, at the event said, G-Soko was part of a five-year trade promotion programme in the region, adding that linking rural food production zones in East Africa to urban consumption centres demands a well-functioning regional market and system whereby farmers in the region will be able to access credit while waiting for prices to increase through pledging the electronic warehouse receipt with the banks and agro-dealers.

The farmers will also benefit from reduced post-harvest losses through access to professional storage, cleaning, drying and will benefit from improved prices discovery since many of them rely on farm-gate prices that deliver cash at lower prices.As for Millers, G-Soko system guarantees availability of quality stocks; standardized and proven grading thus reducing need to carry out sampling to check quality.

The G-Soko, NaijaAgroNet learnt, is now operational in two of the EAC Partner States; Uganda and Kenya, and arrangements are underway to extend the system to Tanzania and Rwanda before the Grains Farmers Summit scheduled to take place in Rwanda in early October, 2015.

Cyriacus Nnaji/GEE with addition sourcefrom East African Community Secretariat (EAC)
 
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Pix: The Executive Director of EAGC, Mr. Gerald Masila,

Monday, June 8, 2015

Kenya committed to boost agricultural production



 
The Kenya’sActing Cabinet Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Adan Mohamed has said that his country is committed to developing linkages between industrialization and the agricultural sector to power the sector's transformation, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Addressing the Grow Africa Investment Forum held in Cape Town, South Africa, recently, NaijaAgroNet gathered that Mohamed said that this will open up opportunities in the sector to accelerate Kenya's food security plans.

According to him, NaijaAgroNet learnt, "Kenya is placing an enabling agricultural policy to attract investors establish investments in the agricultural sector which includes infrastructure investments to improve market access and lower the cost of production."

Kenya's strong agricultural sector accounts for 24 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), supports numerous employment opportunities and trade but has historically experienced sustainability challenges.

The model farm of 10,000 acres that is part of the 1 million-acre(about 405,000-hectare) food irrigation programme,
NaijaAgroNet gathered, is progressing well and once completed will offer a sustainable food security solution.

The Grow Africa Investment Forum, part of the World Economic Forum on Africa (WEF food Africa) brought delegates from different countries together to find solutions to Africa’s agricultural needs. Among those who attended this year's forum were; South Africa's President Jacob Zuma, Ghanaian Vice-President KwesiAmissah-Arthur, Cote d'Ivoire Budget Minister MamadouKoulibaly and Erastus Mwencha of the African Union,
NaijaAgroNet gathered.

Cyriacus Nnaji/ GEE

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Zambia benefits from DuPont’s investments to increase farmers’ productivity





One of the world’s foremost agricultural businesses, Dupont Pioneer, recently in Zambia, opened a new warehouse and office facility which will increase maize storage capacity and meet farmers’ demand for both local and export markets to Kenya, Tanzania and other markets in Africa, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Worede Woldemariam, East and South Central Africa senior business manager of DuPont Pioneer stated, “Zambia could emerge as the breadbasket for southern Africa provided an enabling agricultural environment is fostered.”

“The warehouse will allow DuPont Pioneer to develop and produce more seed locally as well as enhance the global competitiveness of the maize industry. Better quality seeds and more advanced farming practices can improve nutrition, the standard of living, and overall agricultural productivity,” says Woldemariam.

NaijaAgroNet further learnt that the country currently has an average maize yield of about 2.4 metric tons per hectare, which is slightly above the average 2 metric tons per hectare of maize yields in Africa and 10 tons per hectare in the U.S.

 Zambia produces excellent seed quality, and the new facility will ensure world class quality standards are maintained in the region. The latest investment is part of ongoing efforts by DuPont Pioneer to invest in resources and infrastructure in Africa.

DuPont (NYSE: DD),  NaijaAgroNet learnt, has been bringing world-class science and engineering to the global marketplace in the form of innovative products, materials, and services since 1802. The company believes that by collaborating with customers, governments, NGOs, and thought leaders solutions could be found to such global challenges as providing enough healthy food for people everywhere.

 Cyriacus Nnaji/ GEE

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Nestle unveils online nutrition calculator for kids

Nestlé through its MILO brand, has unveiled a web-based nutrition calculator to help foster healthy nutrition among kids at a time when health statistics indicate that obesity rate in both private and public schools may be as high as 50 percent among kids between ages six and 12 in Kenya.
Dubbed MILO Nutrition Calculator, the tool is designed for parents of kids between ages 6 to 12 and allows them to track and monitor their nutrition intake in every day’s serving.
The web nutrition calculator enables parents to calculate the nutrition component of their kid’s meals, analyse their activeness, set up a balanced diet and schedule their kid’s sports activities by just a click of the mouse, on their web-enabled phones, tablet or ipad.
The application is currently available as a link on the website and as a widget.
“Currently the application is web-based but we will unveil a mobile application version for both Android and ISO platforms in two months’ time,” says Diana Irungu, Category Development Manager at Nestlé
The application will not only enhance nutritional awareness but empower mums and caregivers with information to make better nutrition choices to help their children grow strong and healthy, according to Diana.
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Story by BizTech Africa

Monday, October 28, 2013

Kenya launches first African soil atlas

                 
                   

The first Atlas of Africa that collects vital information on African soils has been launched in Nakuru, Kenya.

The Principal Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture Sicily Kariuki  said at the Soil Science Society of East Africa and the African Soil Science Society conference in Nakuru that the soil atlas is to raise awareness on the significance of soil as a natural resource to farmers, politicians, agricultural stakeholders and the importance of the resource and how it affects livelihoods.

“Healthy and fertile soils are the cornerstones of food security, key environmental services, social cohesion and the economies of most African countries. Unfortunately, soil in Africa tends to reach public awareness only when it fails to feed the people living from it,” states the atlas.

According to the atlas, Africa is the only continent in the world where the annual per capita food production is lower than its estimated population growth because of land degradation and soil fertility decline over time.

The atlas further explains the origin and functions of soil, describing the different types of soil, their relevance to both local and global issues linked to soil with diagrams, illustration tables and maps and this has helped readers understand the information and research work, the principal threats to soil and the steps being taken to protect soil resources.

The soil atlas is said to form the basis for a Pan-African assessment on the state of soil resources and compiles the contributions of dozens of soil experts from Africa and Europe with useful information for policy makers and researchers.

NaijaAgroNet noted that the atlas will help to create strategies and structures for better land and water management practices which will lead to increased food production that will ensure food security and environmental protection.

AN/GEE

NaijaAgroNet
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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Lagos, partners Botswana, Kenya on Eko animal project

Anthony Nwakaegho/NaijaAgroNet
The Lagos state government is partnering with organisations in Botswana and Kenya to fully harness the Eko large Ruminant Animal Project.

This was made known in a release from the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and made available to NaijaAgroNet that the project is to enhance the integration of cognate sub projects such as feeding milling operation to ensure timely availability of quality compound animal feeds in the desired quantities.

It quoted the Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Prince Gbolahan Lawal  as saying that the partnership will assist in carrying out animal slaughtering, processing, distribution and the marketing of processed beef.

Lawal said that members of staff and Butchers Association and selected stakeholders are currently on study tour of these two countries in this respect.

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pix:Lagos State Gov.Raji Fashola

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Kenya launches climate change adaptation fund


In a bid for Northern Kenyans to adapt to changes in climate, the Kenyan government has launched a new fund, tagged, ‘Climate Adaptation Fund.’
Officials of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), revealed to NaijaAgroNet that the fund will be used for combating some other development challenges that the country might be facing.
Also, the fund, will release the sum of Euro 500,000 about N101.2 million in 2013 in Isiolo, to an eastern region of the country where the five communities of the pilot project are.
The fund was financed by Kenyan office of the United Kingdom (UK) Department for International Development through the UK International Climate Fund, whereas IIED is playing the dual role as a coordinator and adviser to the Kenyan government on the fund.
The communities have the opportunity to come up with proposal through their ward-level committee as regards the fund, and such proposals would be assessed at the county level by a cross community and government committee.
The fund, NaijaAgroNet gather that the fund would also see to a country-wide community radio station which will work towards delivering the right and accessible climate information in order to better inform local planning processes.
Whereas some of the earlier community suggestions had its focus on improvement of natural resource management by building the capacity of customary institutions.
Commenting on the fund, climate change advisor in the Ministry of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands, Victor Orindi said emergency responses to extreme weather event over the years have deflected development resources from their proper purpose.
According to Orindi, local planning needs to be integrated in actions for climate resilience so as to make it effective.
Head, Climate Change Group at IIED, Simon Anderson said the climate adaption fund will tackle local development needs and climae vulnerabilities as it seeks to empower local people to build partnership with local governments.


Yinka Awosanya
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Friday, August 10, 2012

Sustainable Development and Governance in Nigeria


Different nations of the world are to a greater or lesser extent faced with the same constraints and opportunities, and are called with varying degree of urgency to provide individual answers to the common challenges.
No matter the priorities of each country, areas such as education, economics and social development, health and environment still await sustainable solutions. This requires a creative application of democratic principles and practices to tackling both local and national imperatives. Quality governance, with an eye on environmental sustainability is one sure way of, not only solving a country’s priorities, but also achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
Environmental sustainability is critical because without it, the achievements of the rest of the goals may be short-lived. The fact is that, economics depend, to a large extent, on environmental resources.
Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola
Scared by the unsustainable lifestyle in Nigeria, the Chairman of Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Chief Philip Asiodu warned that “Economic downturn is nothing compared with a global ecological downturn and the disasters that will come with it.” Thus, if we think this warning by the retired technocrat is alarmist or untimely, then we may have to consider the impact of climate variability on the economy of Kenya; between 1997 and 2001, its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth dropped from 4.6 per cent to 0.3 per cent. The key factor is that the downturn leads to inadequate investment in sustainable infrastructure to control floods or store water for use during draught.
The question is, as nations continue to have their fare share of environmental problems like flood, hurricanes, pollutions, droughts to name a few, what is our beloved country putting in place at the Federal, State and local government levels to prevent, or mitigate the threats to the integrity of our ecosystem? While Nigerians are yet to recover from the shock arising from last year flood disaster in Lagos and Ibadan, and a more terrifying flood which claimed over 50 lives and property worth millions of naira just hit Jos, Plateau State. If that level of flooding disaster could happen in Jos, what should we expect in flood-prone areas like Niger, Oyo, Ogun? What should we expect in flood-plagued city of Lagos.
For instance, the Gov. Babatunde Fashola administration in Lagos, is doing his best to clear drainages, but his best is not enough, for some reasons. First, the source of the flood is trans-boundary. The flood from neighboring states of Oyo and Ogun empties into it.
Secondly, there are numerous settlements occupied by the urban poor which lack drainages. Successive administrations in the state has failed to construct a comprehensive drainage system. Thirdly, as a coastal, commercial and civic city, its huge population is overburdening the few available working infrastructure. The encroachment of human settlements unto floodplain areas increases the vulnerability to flood.
If you take a trip to some of the rural communities in Anambra and Edo (North), you will see what erosion has done to the quality of life of the people. In most cases their livelihood, as subsistence farmers, are threatened. It is either the path to their farms, markets, or that of their streams has been taken over by erosion.
In virtually all the eastern states and some south-south states, the soil fertility is gone and their successive state governors have not been concerned about food production like their colleague in the North and West. Consequently, fertilizers have been scarce. It was the newly elected governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, who recently commenced the distribution of fertilizers in the state directly to farmers.
The degradation of the environment of oil producing states of the south-south is an old song, yet nothing much have changed in the livelihood of the people in spite of budgetary allocations to the region. Many of these communities are yet to have access to sanitary infrastructure and quality maternal care.
Poverty still pervades across most northern states due to desertification and lack of poverty-oriented policies. Their case is presently worsened by insecurity occasioned by the recent Boko Haram insurgence.
In no distant time, this will adversely impinge on the agricultural productivity of that region. It is sad to note that in most of these Nigerian communities, many of the breadwinners are people on less than $3 dollars a day income. How many of our state governors and local government authorities can boast of projects that are environmentally sustainable. Housing estates and market projects in state capitals are often showcased by many governors. Yet, they are offered to citizens at unsustainable prices. Some states have built schools and even some Federal government MDG schools are situated in flood plains, thereby making such projects unsustainable.
If the searchlight is turned to the government at the centre, the picture is that of contradictions. Too many environmental agencies, yet no action. Too many environment summits and conferences, yet little technical capacity. Too much efforts towards aforestation, yet making Kerosene unaffordable. Too much talk on power sector reforms, and advocacy for energy efficiency, yet inappropriate pricing and non-availability of power. Too much grants received, and budgetary allocations appropriated, yet no funds released to execute sustainable projects.
Good governance entails the awareness by those in power of possible ecological and sociological breakdowns, putting in place ways and means of minimizing their effects. It also entails their monitoring to ensure the adoption of Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) by private sector concerns in their domains.
Sustainable development, therefore, depends largely on the quality of governance and political will. There is a compelling need to mobilize the required political will at all levels of government. It is also necessary to mobilize all relevant stakeholders in the work.
As Borge Brend, the former Nowegian Minister of Environment aptly puts it, “Developing countries need to assign priorities, draw up strategies, invest in human resources, and implement poverty oriented policies. Good governance (That is, anti-corruption policies), democracy building, and respect for human rights are crucial to combat poverty and to make development sustainable.”


MacDenis Igbo
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