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Showing posts with label United States. Show all posts
Showing posts with label United States. Show all posts

Thursday, September 8, 2016

US donates AGRIS tools to pilot data collection

The United States (US) government has donated some Agricultural Integrated Surveys (AGRIS) tools as part of its recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to pilot data collections in four developing countries, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The donation received by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on behalf of benefiting countries to be named soon, NaijaAgroNet gathered, was made through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The endowment, NaijaAgroNet reports would cover the first phase of an FAO-led project that will run from 2016 to 2021 starting with pilot efforts in four developing countries, two in Sub-Saharan Africa, one in Latin America and one in Asia. A dialogue is under way with eligible countries.

The goal, 
NaijaAgroNet also gathered is to design and implement a new and cost-effective approach to agricultural data collection in developing world contexts, known as agricultural integrated surveys (AGRIS).

The AGRIS methodology will not only capture improved annual data on agricultural production, but also broader and more detailed structural information relating to farms, including employment, machinery use, production costs, farming practices, and environmental impacts.

This will incorporate recent innovations like remote sensing, Global Positioning System (GPS), mobile technology and various uses of "big data." These tools will introduce more objective approaches to measuring agricultural performance, in some cases replacing traditional, more expensive methods.

In addition to better and more detailed data, 
NaijaAgroNet reports that AGRIS will also promote the integration of disparate data sources, improve data timeliness and usability, and cut data collection costs.

The end result will be high-quality data on a wide range of technical, economic, environmental and social dimensions of agriculture that will help governments analyse and understand the impacts of agricultural policies, assess progress toward the SDGs and other goals, and shape better policies.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Hackers invade FAO headquarters

Last Friday, a group of Italian and international hackers literally invaded headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome for a United States (US)- government-sponsored ‘Fishackathon’ reports NaijaAgroNet.

The Fishackathon, NaijaAgroNet reports, was aimed at cooking up high-tech solutions to problems that have long plagued fishing communities around the globe.

The Assistant Director-General of FAO's Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Árni M. Mathiesen, said that working in teams in a marathon hacking session, the group of around 30 coders, technology students, developers and designers will be asked to harness FAO data to develop creative mobile applications, systems, and tools to help tackle key challenges facing sustainable fisheries.

Mathiesen also said that these range from illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, to overfishing and degradation of fishing grounds, to post harvest losses of catches.

Teams of 2-8 people joined forces to brainstorm solutions that responses to one of nine fisheries-related problem statements to be provided.

On Sunday, FAO experts would judge the submissions and one team will be chosen as the winner.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that the exercise now in its third year, the Fishackathon was first launched in 2014 by US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Our Oceans conference is an event taking place in 40 cities around the globe.

The winners of each, including this weekend's Italian edition, will move forward into a global contest whose final outcome will be announced by the US government on June 8 at World Oceans Day 2016.

Last year's Fishackathon winners included a game to teach children about sustainable fishing, an app to help consumers find and eat sustainable seafood, and a reporting tool for marine mammal protection.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
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Friday, April 22, 2016

Hilary Clinton petitions Congress over Zika virus funding

The United States presidential hopeful, Senator Hillary Clinton has petition the Congress over lack of adequate funding to check the spread of Zika virus across the world, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Clinton in a petition seeking some 500 signatories expressed worries about Zika virus, but lamented that despite the concerns expressed by global leaders including President Barrack Obama, the United Nations (UN), and every major health organization in the world. 

But Congress has taken no action to provide funding that could help us stave off this virus and ultimately find a cure,” she said.

According to her, over 2 billion people are at risk for Zika, which could cause serious health problems for pregnant women and babies, stressing that in the United States, estimated 800 cases have been documented so far, and in Puerto Rico, it’s possible that 1 in 5 people will be affected by the end of this year.

“… That’s why I’m sending members of my staff there this weekend to discuss what more we can do to mitigate this crisis,” Mrs. Clinton said.
NaijaAgroNet recalls that the World Health Organization has declared Zika a public health emergency, hence, Mrs. Clinton noted that the United States needs to step up and do more about it.
Also NaijaAgroNet reports that President Obama had requested emergency funding from Congress two months ago, but Congress has yet to give him the money. 

That’s just unacceptable and together, we can do something about it,” Clinton assured, stressing that there’s a lot the world is yet to know about Zika.

“How exactly it’s transmitted, how far mosquitoes carrying the disease can travel, and the full extent of the health risks involved. We need to move quickly on life-saving research to develop a diagnostic test, a vaccine, and a treatment,” she said.

Pointing out that nothing really could be done until Congress approves the needed funding, insisting that with Americans’ health at risk, she said, Congress must take action.

“I know petitions have been a powerful tool to influence Congress - petitions have helped prompt Congress to provide health care for firefighters who fight wildfires and families affected by contaminated water at a military base,” she submitted.

Clinton, therefore, urged people of good conscious to help by signing the petition so as to convince Congress to do the right thing to confront this dangerous virus.

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Pix: Hillary Clinton

Monday, March 14, 2016

FAO receives US ratification instrument against rogue fishing

The office of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has received the ratification instrument against rogue fishing from the United States (US), reports NaijaAgroNet.

This, industry watchers say adds momentum to global efforts targeting illegal fishing by adhering to a FAO-brokered international pact.

The US Ambassador to the United Nations agencies in Rome, David Lane, who formally presented FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva with the US' instrument of ratification of the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, said, FAO is a strong partner in the promotion of sustainable fisheries, and US looks forward to continuing to collaborate with the organisation and the entire global community in the fight against illegal fishing.

FAO Director-General appreciated US for its partnership on such an important issue, adding that combatting illegal fishing is a crucial goal not only for small island developing states, but also for major countries like the US.

NaijaAgroNet reports that the Agreement comes into force when 25 countries or regional economic blocs have deposited their instrument of adherence with the FAO Director-General. 

To date 22 instruments of adherence have been deposited by 21 countries, and the European Union on behalf of its members. Among the latest are Barbados, Republic of Korea and South Africa.

Graziano da Silva told Ambassador Lane that several other countries have expressed a willingness to become party to the Agreement and that the target of 25 could be reached by July this year.

 +Naija AgroNet
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Monday, August 24, 2015

PICS bags reduce incidents of food poisoning

Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) bags have been designed for effective storage of grains even as they also have the capacity to reduce the incidents of food poisoning, reports NaijaAgroNet.

PICS  was designed by the Purdue University, United States of America to provide a simple, effective low-cost method of reducing post-harvest losses in cereal crops due to insect infestations in West and Central Africa.

NaijaAgroNet learnt through PICS media consultant in Ghana, David Babayara, who was interviewed by Daily Graphic, that using the PICS bags to store foodstuff also reduced the incidents of food poisoning.

“This is because PICS bags employ the hermetic system of storage, hence food stored in them does not need to be treated with chemicals before storage,” Mr Babayara stated.

Effective storage of grains such as maize, beans, cowpea, groundnuts and rice has always been a major challenge to smallholder farmers in the whole Africa. Grains are mostly destroyed by pests and insects within three months of storage due to the lack of proper storage methods for farmers and food dealers.

A PICS bag consists of two layers of polyethylene bags surrounded by a third layer of woven polypropylene. This oxygen-deprived environment proves fatal to insects and pests and therefore prevents them from causing harm to stored grains, NaijaAgroNet gathered.

PICS technology was developed in the late 1980s by Professor Larry Murdock of Purdue University with support from partners in Cameroon and funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Cyriacus Nnaji/GEE

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Pix: David Babayara,

Friday, July 17, 2015

FF, AUC say leadership, partnership key for Africa’s agricultural transformation


A panel co-hosted by the United States government's global food security initiative, Feed the Future, and African Union Commission (AUC) have said government leadership and partnerships with the private sector as well as civil society are crucial for Africa to achieve food security, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Held recently in Addis Ababa, the panel was a side event of the Third Finance for Development Conference aimed to highlight how the commission's Comprehensive Agricultural Development Program (CAADP) set the foundation for enhanced engagement for the governments throughout the continent with the private sector as well as how non-state actors could play a role in advancement of country-led approaches towards food security.

Deputy Chairperson, AUC, Erastus Mwencha, in his keynote said, "Since the initiation of CAADAP we have seen a tremendous transformation in agriculture sector."

Acting Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID),  Ambassador Alfonso Lenhardt, on his part, said that "the possibilities are truly endless" when the private sector, the civil society and all relevant stakeholders are engaged in ensuring food and nutrition security, NaijaAgroNet learnt.

He went further to say, "We are on a critical part of the post-2015 agenda. And we must work together" towards the transformation of the agricultural sector."

In support of  Lenhardt’s position, NaijaAgroNet reports, was a panelist, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ethiopian Government's Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), Khalid, Bomba who said "increase production and productivity, manage risks and disaster as well as work on commercialization, we must work together to translate policies into action. We must engage the private sector and civil society groups."

Cyriacus Nnaji/GEE
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