Archive for May, 2015

May 15, 2015

African Countries Told to Help Enrich the Continent’s Position on Climate Change

George Mhango
News Analyst
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
May 15, 2015

State Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Ethiopia, Ato Sileshi Getahum urged Malawian delegates and those from other African countries to come up with good recommendations to enrich Africa’s position on climate change ahead of the next Conference of the Parties (COP) in the next few months. This in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia during a three-day meeting aimed at launching the first-ever climate smart agriculture (CSA) alliance forum organised by the NEPAD Agency and the African Union Commission.

The forum is part of an integral part of Comprehensive Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) in relation to attaining the productivity, food security, prosperity and resilience goals as said in the 2015-25 Results Framework endorsed at the Malabo African Union (AU) Summit held in June last year in Equatorial Guneau.

Climate change as a result of global warming continues to cause havoc in various parts of the world, drying up farmlands that livestock used to depend on.

Climate change as a result of global warming continues to cause havoc in various parts of the world, drying up farmlands that livestock used to depend on.

Getahun also urged Africa to continue to pressurize industrialized countries to step up their efforts and save humanity from imminent catastrophe that climate change and variability is leading to.

“As we learnt from the recently published IPCC reports, no matter how well some of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol performed, to this day, global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have not stopped rising. Parties therefore must make substantial progress this time in COP21,” she said.

Getahun said this, therefore, needs a bold 2015 agreement which should include necessary means of implementation, capacity strengthening, appropriate technology transfer and the finance required to manage ecosystems to ensure food and nutrition security, sustainable development and poverty alleviation.

“With agriculture the mainstay of Africa’s economy, it is important that we invest in and practice climate smart agriculture. We need to show the rest of the world our adaptive capacity and remain positive that more development partners will come on board to help Africa upscale all the various CSA investments on the continent,” she explained.

But in her remarks, Minister Councilor Ms Tove Stub of the Norwegian Embassy in Addis Ababa backed the launch of the CSA Alliance Forum, saying it shows that African countries are committed to championing positive agricultural production in view of climate change effects, a point NEPAD Director of Programmes and Coordination Estherine Fotabong alluded to.

Stub stated that Africa through NEPAD is the first continent to develop such an agenda which is also aimed at sharing knowledge, new farming technologies and developing policies to promote CSA.

“The launch of the CSA Alliance Forum is a crucial step to the African agenda of promoting CSA considering that agriculture remains central to development on the continent. In fact NEPAD is to chair a global alliance and this experience from this first-ever alliance on CSA will assist globally,” she said.

Speakers from Malawi indicated that Lilongwe has developed policies that are meant to move in tandem with initiatives of NEPAD and African Union on how to mitigate effects of climate change thereby boosting agriculture production.

With Malawi’s economy described as agro-based experts and farmers are likely to use the session as a tool to boosting agricultural production considering that the model is in line with sustainable land and water management (SLWM) also championed by NEPAD.

May 13, 2015

Ethiopia: NEPAD Launches Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance

George Mhango
May 13, 2015

In what could be described as major breakthrough in bringing farmers, agricultural experts, policy makers and members of the private sector together, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) has launched the Africa Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA).

Speaking during the launch on Wednesday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Estherine Fotabong, NEPAD programs director said the Africa Climate-Smart Agriculture Alliance is the first such continental platform following the 2014 Malabo Declaration for mainstreaming climate change in agriculture.

Farmers worldwide are already feeling the effects of rising temperatures and more frequent droughts as a result of climate change

Farmers worldwide are already feeling the effects of rising temperatures and more frequent droughts as a result of climate change

Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) is agriculture that sustainably increases productivity, resilience and adaptation, as well as contributes towards reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.
It therefore leads to overall food security and nutrition in the face of climate change.

Fotabong emphasized the importance of building capacity at all levels, especially for smallholder farmers and institutions in order to attain the goal of 25 million African farmers practising climate-smart agriculture by 2025.

Fotabong also stated that the Africa CSA Alliance needs to recognize interventions that respond to both the challenges and opportunities that climate change brings.

“In order to make rural transformation attainable, climate change needs to be also mainstreamed in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), Africa’s instrument for agricultural growth and economic development,” said Fotabong.

At the 31st African Union Summit held in Malabo in June last year, Heads of State and Government were clear in their resolve to commit to action on the agriculture-climate change nexus issue.

In the Summit decisions on NEPAD, the Heads of State and Government endorsed the NEPAD programme on agriculture climate change, including its components on women empowerment, intensified support to small-holder farmers and the setup of an African Climate Smart-Agriculture Coordination Platform as means in pursuit of what was endorsed as the African Union Vision to have at least 25 million farm households practicing CSA by 2025.

A Farmer Irrigates his Crops in Matwiku village of Laikipia County in Kenya

A Farmer Irrigates his Crops in Matwiku village of Laikipia County in Kenya

To achieve this, Africa is leading a country-driven and regionally-integrated Initiative that will provide the tools for action and platform for partnerships that will deliver results. Centred on Nepad, the initiative will be fully aligned with and an integral part of the CAADP framework, as well as cultivating the necessary multi-sectoral engagements, including the environment, natural resources and climate change policies and programmes.

“To support countries, a virtual and physical African Alliance was established where knowledge is exchanged to identify best practice and partnerships across stakeholder groups are catalysed,” she said.

Fotabong said the alliance will also foster a coherent African CSA Agenda as well as sustaining the collective power and urge for action. It will also facilitate assessment of individual (country, region, sector, etc.) performance against continental and even global benchmarks.

Ethiopian State Minister for Agriculture, Sileshi Getahun stated that the Africa CSA Alliance provides an opportunity to take concrete action in climate change for the benefit of African agriculture.

“The field trip for participants at the Forum to Ethiopian projects will enable them to witness first-hand the interventions in climate-smart agriculture in the Ethiopian national strategy. We need to show the rest of the world our adaptive capacity and up-scale such practices,” Getahun said.

Ethiopian Minister for Women, Children and Youth Affairs, Zenevu Tadesse called on all stakeholders, including governments, civil society and private sector, to support local systems and expand to scale up climate-smart agriculture. The Minister stressed that the Africa CSA Alliance is an important instrument towards achieving climate-smart agriculture in Africa.

Minister Councillor Tove Stub of the Norwegian Embassy in Addis Ababa, maintained that the Africa CSA Alliance is an important milestone following the 2014 Malabo Declaration in dealing with the challenges of climate change for the benefit of smallholder farmers.

Launched as Africa’s Strategic Approach for Food Security and Nutrition in the Face of Climate Change, the Africa CSA Alliance was attended by about 150 representatives and participants from governments, regional economic communities, farmers’ organisations, private sector, civil society, specialised agencies and development partners.

May 8, 2015

Malawi: Government Rehabilitates Water Plant

George Mhango
May 8, 2015

The Malawi Government has completed rehabilitation of Mudi Pumping Station and Walkers Ferry Treatment Plant as well as the construction of three reservoirs, each with a capacity of 5 000 cubic metres together with their booster stations, pumping and supply pipelines in Blantyre.This is according to the President of Malawi Peter Mutharika.

President of Malawi Peter Mutharika

President of Malawi Peter Mutharika

Mutharika says such works will go a long way in alleviating acute water shortages in the city of Blantyre.

“Government further is commenced to upgrading works on Kamuzu Barrage in Liwonde in order to address the structural stability concerns of the barrage and to improve its water regulatory capacity

“We finalized construction of Songwe Water Supply System; and undertook integration and expansion of Salima Lakeshore and Kasungu Water Supply Schemes,” he says.

Mutharika also notes that government will rehabilitate and expand twelve gravity fed schemes that will entail construction of 600 cubic metres localized storage reservoirs and break pressure tanks and 2,925 Communal Water Points.

“In addition, we will commence construction of 450 new boreholes and 166 sanitation facilities at public institutions such as schools, health and market centres,” he says.

May 6, 2015

Kenyan Pastoralists Shift to Crop Farming As Drought and Water Shortage Hit Harder

Mary Mwendwa
May 06, 2015

Meet Diba Jibalo, a father of seven from Merti Division, Isiolo County Eastern Kenya who has suffered a lot while rearing livestock due to water shortage and has lost many when droughts strike.

In this radio feature, produced in Kiswahili language by Mary Mwenda, Diba narrates how his life has been transformed since he started farming maize, water melon and vegetables.

His family is now food secure as a result. He is among many Kenyan farmers in dry land who have adopted by practicing agropastoralism which has proved successful as they can now save lives and keep grains for future use.

Also in the same feature below, Alex Alusa climate change expert gives insights on why policy is important on climate change adaptation.

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