Category Archives: Agriculture

Agroforestry gives Kenyan indigenous community a lifeline

Kongolel Masai Kangonyei a Sengwer and a coffee beneficiary

By Sophie Mbugua: WEST POKOT, Kenya — The Cherangani people, an indigenous community in Kenya’s Rift Valley, have always called the Cherangani Hills Forest their ancestral home.

Also known locally as the Sengwer, they were traditionally reliant on the forest for hunting and gathering, herbal medicines, honey, and sorghum and millet farming. Then the colonial government evicted them from the forest, only permitting them access to medicinal plants; gathering and hunting in the forest is still prohibited.

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Alternative Energy saving trees and Tea prodution costs

IMG_3954By Sophie Mbugua: Thika, Kenya: Tea is the most commonly consumed non-water beverage in the world. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) indicate that the world tea production – black, green, instant and others – increased by 4.4 percent annually over the last decade to reach 5.73 million tones in 2016.

A 2018 FAO report, projects an annual 2.2 percent black tea production rise over the next decade to reach 4.4 million tones in 2027. The significant output will increase in China, Kenya, and Sri Lanka – with China expected to achieve Kenya’s – the largest black tea exporter globally – output levels.

Kenya produced 40million kilograms of tea and exported 32Million Kilograms of tea in January 2018 according to the Kenya tea board. Read more

Disease causing Vector stings East Africa Staple.

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By Sophie Mbugua: Makueni, Kenya: In 2011 the Maize lethal Necrosis (MLN) a disease causing an estimated 30 percent total maize loss in farmers’ fields according to the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) first emerged in Kenya spreading to other parts of East Africa.

The disease caused by infections from the Maize Chlorotic Mottle Virus and the Sugarcane Mosaic Virus, negatively impacted livelihoods and food security among farmers and families who consider maize a stable food while posing a threat to regional maize trade.

As noted by the East Africa Community Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security, the disease that causes premature plant death, poorly formed maize cobs, can lead to up to 100 percent yield loss in farmers’ fields. Read more

New $500 million Mitigation Initiative Unveiled

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and Vice Presdient and Special Envoy for Climate Change  Rachel Kyte speak with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

By Sophie Mbugua: Paris: As nations of the world gathered on Monday in Paris to reach a new and universal climate change agreement, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland has announced a new $500 million initiative that will find new ways to create incentives aimed at large scale cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries to combat climate change.

The initiative developed through the World Bank Group will measure and pay for emission cuts in large scale programs in renewable energy, transport, energy efficiency, solid waste management, and low carbon cities. Read more

USE WATER BOTTLE TECHNOLOGIES IN BURKINA FASO

By Sophie Mbugua

Wahabou Benao demonstrate how he controls water at his farm in Vrassan village southern Burkina Faso

Wahabou Benao demonstrate how he controls water at his farm in Vrassan village southern Burkina Faso

Vrassan (Burkina Faso) Wahabou Benao, a small scale farmer at Vrassan village 160 kilometers south of Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou, says for the longest time they had always received 6 months of reliable and consistent rainfall between May and October.

But over the last 15 years, the amount of rainfall has been gradually reducing and its distribution uneven affecting production of sorghum, Okra and Shea butter

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), over 60% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa depends on agriculture for their livelihood. But inconsistent weather coupled with soil infertility is affecting livelihood of the majority of the population in the region.

While water stress occurs throughout the world, sub Saharan Africa and the Sahel belt has been more afflicted with subsistence farmers having to adapt to new technologies to sustainably grow food.

We receive rainfall once a year from May to October the water dams dry before the next season start” explains Benao “I am using water bottles to farm to conserve the little water I have left in his well” Read more

Improving data collection in Africa key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Jacqueline Musiitwa, Zambian-based champion for the Accur8Africa initiative

Numbers are important in determining where Africa is on the development process and where it wants to go. There is rich data on the continent, but it exists in an even and disorganized manner.

Accessing data from the government institution, discrepancies between international organization and governmental data makes its hard to ensure that data used for developmental planning is appropriate.

Data champions’ from five African countries are taking up the challenge of improving data collection across the continent to enhance progress under the Sustainable Development Goals.

Much of Data in Africa is manually stored

Much of Data in Africa is manually stored

Accur8Africa brings together data scientists from Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal and Zambia, to improve accuracy, accountability and accessibility to data.

Listen to the podcast African data champions take up SDG challenge