Frontpage Slideshow

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (PAMACC News) - Building a large dam to feed into a hydro-electricity power plant in a river basin will always result in trade-offs, as sectors such as urban water supply, rural food production and ecosystem services compete with a country’s growing energy demands. Infrastructure built now will have an effect on the system long into the future, when climate change impacts are likely to manifest. In light of these challenges, how should river basins be designed? UMFULA is working with water researchers and managers in Tanzania to address such questions. The team, led by Professor Declan Conway (London School of Economics), is generating new insights and understanding about climate processes and extreme weather events, and their impacts on water, energy, and agriculture. The project results are becoming available just as work begins on building the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Project (JNHPP) on the Rufiji River, earmarked for a site about 200km south of Dar es Salaam. For the first time, researchers and planners are considering these trade-offs in detail, and assessing how they might evolve with climate change across the Rufiji River Basin. The ability to create computer simulations of the river basin will be made available using a new river basin management model called ‘Python water resources’ or ‘Pywr’, and will be applied to the Rufiji River Basin in Tanzania. Rather than using a model that needs to be installed via proprietary software, the open-source model will be available to project members and stakeholder partners online through a website. Both the model and its website are generalised tools, applicable to any region but are applied to Tanzania in this project. The tool is designed to support longer-term water management decisions upstream and downstream of the dam linked with the JNHPP scheme. It can also inform infrastructure planning across the basin, where other hydro-schemes and dams are under consideration for development. There are complicated interactions in a river basin system, where demands for water, food production, and energy intersect with environmental needs, explains Prof. Julien Harou (chair of water engineering at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom) who is spearheading the application of this new FCFA-funded online systems-based assessment tool. A system-scale assessment approach can help identify tradeoffs between different water needs so that decision-makers can better understand the impact of water and hydro-scheme infrastructure development in the basin, and make better-informed water management decisions in other sectors, such as agriculture. One anticipated demand on water in the Rufiji River Basin is from agricultural irrigation, much of which is drawn off the river by unregulated water users, which will increasingly impact on water flow in future. Another area for consideration is the possible impact that dams and hydro-schemes will have on water flow downstream of each development including the impact on wildlife and ecosystems associated with riverine and estuarine edges such as wetlands, floodplains, riverine forests, and mangroves. This online tool will allow stakeholders to conduct basin-wide assessments to consider contested demands for water and can help…
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - As the world grapple with containment of COVID-19 pandemic, food protests especially among poor and vulnerable African communities are likely going to be deadlier than the virus itself, if governments and international institutions do not act now, experts have warned. In a virtual meeting with the press from across Africa, experts from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and ONE – a global movement campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030 said that there exists a window of opportunity for governments to save the situation, and plan for future eventualities but only if they act in time. “We are heading towards a real disaster because when hunger comes in, people will always protests,” said Dr Fidel Ndiame, AGRA’s Vice President for Policy and State Capacity, noting that COVID-19 effects to food security are going to be worse than what was witnessed during Ebola, because the current virus is affecting the entire world. As a short term measure, the experts want African governments to expand and improve food assistance and social protection programs to protect the most vulnerable including cash-based transfers as the primary safety net, which can largely be distributed through contactless solutions; in-kind food assistance such as take-home rations, food package delivery, and food vouchers where necessary.It was observed that at the moment, there is no food shortage in the global market. In Europe and the US for example, milk is being dumped and eggs are being smashed as demand from restaurants decreases. But access to the food poses a problem because borders have been closed, and movements curtailed as part of COVID-19 containment measures.At the same time, during such crisis, some families panic and hoard food. In response, countries impose export restrictions in a misguided effort to protect domestic prices. This is likely going to be a huge problem because many African countries depend on imported food, especially rice from Asian countries. “Food security concerns go hand in hand with pandemics,” said Edwin Ikhuoria, ONE’s Africa Executive Director, noting that the SARS and MERS outbreaks led to food price hikes and market panics in affected areas, leaving the poorest groups without access to essential foods, especially staplesIn the East African region for example, Tanzanian President Dr John Pombe Magufuli has publicly urged farmers in his the country not to sell food to neighboring countries, and if they must sell it, they must make sure they charge exorbitantly to take advantage of food shortages in countries that imposed lockdown to contain the virus.With the invasion of desert locust, floods and containment measures for COVID-19, Kenya and Uganda are the most affected in the region. Kenya in particular heavily relies on supplies of commodities such as onions, fruits, tomatoes and other vegetables from Tanzania through Namanga border. Yet, due to the COVID-19 pandemic containment measures, movements across the border have been restricted.To that end, the experts asked all governments to step up efforts to ensure adequate food reserves by…
In this Interview with journalists, the Programme Coordinator of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), Dr Chrysantus Akem, highlights some of the activities of TAAT to improve agricultural productivity in Africa. Our reporter brings excerpts. What is TAAT all about? TAAT means Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation. The African Development Bank, in 2018 launched the TAAT programme as part of its coordinated plan to radically transform Africa’s agriculture into a business-oriented and commercially viable sector that guarantees the continent’s food self-sufficiency and puts an end to food insecurity and malnutrition. The programme is an integral part of the bank’s Feed Africa Strategy of 2016–2025. TAAT’s overall objective is to harness high-impact, proven agricultural technologies to raise agricultural productivity in Africa; mitigate risks and promote diversification and processing in 18 agricultural value chains within eight priority intervention areas. What is the progress so far in deploying agricultural technologies in Africa? Within two years, TAAT has recorded successes in bringing the latest technologies to African farmers at scale – enabling them to increase yields and improve their livelihoods. The programme has achieved considerable increase in agricultural productivity through the deployment of proven and high-performance agricultural technologies at scale along selected nine commodity value chains. These include Maize, Rice, Wheat, High Iron Bean, Cassava, Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato, Sorghum/Millet, Livestock and Aquaculture. Also, working with its partners through enabler compacts, TAAT has within twenty-four months of implementation contributed significantly to addressing transversal issues in African agriculture ranging from soil fertility, water, capacity development, policy support, attracting African youth in agribusiness and responding to fall armyworm invasion. In practical terms, TAAT has, through its Rice Compact, deployed breeder seeds totaling 33.17 metric tons of improved and climate-smart mega rice varieties which are aromatic long grain and good grain quality, early maturity, drought and striga-tolerant. In Cassava, TAAT has increased farmers' access to planting materials by deploying over 200,000 high nutrient-density cuttings and has facilitated the establishment of Seed Bulking Facilities using the SAH technology Thanks to the new varieties such as Imam, Zakia and Bohain, Sudan’s wheat-growing area in 2018/19 saw a sharp rise to around 294,000 hectares. This is up from 201,000 hectares in 2017/18. In partnership with 28 seed companies, the TAAT Maize Compact has so far distributed 84,321 free small pack seeds to boost the scale up of over 17,340 tons of climate-smart maize seeds produced in partnership with the seed companies. Similar success stories abound in other TAAT interventions in Aquaculture, High Iron Beans, Orange-fleshed Sweet Potato, Livestock, Sorghum and Millet across 31 African countries. What are the technologies being deployed by TAAT across Africa? TAAT is deploying proven agricultural technologies at scale. Some of these include drought-resistant maize varieties, heat-resistant wheat varieties, climate-smart sorghum and millet, improved hybrid rice, high iron bean varieties, sheep fattening technologies, fodder and soil conservation technologies, nutrients-dense cassava and orange-fleshed sweet potato varieties, and treatments against pests like fall armyworm, which has been devastating crops across the continent. We have also sustained the momentum…
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - As COVID-19 continues to spread in Africa, women in agriculture are struggling to cope not only with the restrictions to limit the spread of the disease but also with endemic inequalities, which undermine their capacity to respond and recover from the impact of this pandemic. The pandemic is exacerbating already existing structural inequalities, increasing the burden on women as they struggle to fulfill their multiple roles of managing their families, farms, and small businesses. Furthermore, the gendered access to opportunities means that women and men have different resources available to them to prepare for, cope with, and recover from such a crisis. Women constitute nearly 50% of agricultural workforce and own one third of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Africa, they are a key pillar of Africa’s food systems. As the restrictions related to COVID-19 come into force in various countries, women’s livelihoods and business activities are threatened, so is household food and nutrition, and family well-being, a key priority addressed by women’s incomes. Their inability to freely access resources required to conduct primary production activities, find flexible financing to keep their SMEs afloat or earn wage income in rural markets will hinder food security and wellbeing of rural families. AGRA, in consultation with continental partners or women agripreneur networks, calls on Governments in Africa, the development community, and the private sector, to urgently deploy resources to assist women access resources necessary to conduct agricultural activities, cushion their small businesses to avoid collapse and amplify their voices throughout this pandemic, to attract targeted support for recovery. Providing avenues for continued access to inputs, mechanization, and advisory services With low saving capabilities, women small holders lack capital reserves to stockpile agricultural inputs, such as seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides. Abrupt closures of input shops, lack of farm labour and machinery, fear and stigma associated with infections have led to farms being abandoned and farming operations disruptions. These primary agricultural production activities form the core of women’s incomes, the loss of which is detrimental not only to food and nutrition, but healthcare, education and a chain of rural economies fueled by this income. It is therefore crucial to assist women access inputs, farm labour, mechanization and advisory services to help them weather the immediate effects of this crisis. Facilitate off take activities to spur rural agricultural markets Agricultural markets are the lifeline of rural communities, and for women, proximity to local markets provide flexibility to combine home care with income generating activities. Disruptions to these local activities is akin to stifling women’s incomes. It is crucial to keep local markets open, sanitize market infrastructure, provide protective attire for market operatives, and improve information flow to increase awareness and public alert. Transportation and logistics of agricultural products should be considered essential services since they provide offtake of agricultural commodities and nourish local economies. Create women SME rescue fund and employ a swift disbursement system Women’s agribusinesses are faced with existential threat, they are trapped in crippling cash flow…
Page 1 of 118
--------- --------- --------- ---------
Top
We use cookies to improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. More details…