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.
By 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
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
Indigenous people make demanding their rights at the COP21
By Sophie Mbugua: Paris 12th Dec 2015 As we enter the homestretch of the Paris climate summit, coalitions have emerged between sections of developed countries, small islands states and the least developed countries (LDCs) blocs.
This ambitious coalition made up of over 90 countries lead by the Marshal Island, coalesced to fight for an ambitious mechanism of 1.5 temperature goal.
In addition to the 1.5 degrees temperature target, they are calling for 5 year review of the soon to be signed Paris agreement, clear pathway for a low carbon future and a strong financial package for developing countries which includes $100bn per year.
Of interest is the attention the coalition is attracting among developed rich countries who were not keen to support the 1.5degree temperature goal initially fronted by the civil society organizations and the scientific community.
In 2010, the Cancun agreement agreed to limit the temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius. But in June 2015, a structured expert dialogue made up of more than 70 scientists, climate experts and negotiators concluded that this limit was inadequate and should only be used as an upper limit. Read more
By Sophie Mbugua: PARIS, Dec 02: African heads of state announced plans for a gigantic renewable energy initiative that would provide as much as 300gigawatts of renewable energy – twice the continent’s total current electricity supply – by 2030.
African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) driven by African countries announced at the start of the two-week United Nations climate negotiations in Paris, aims to achieve 10gigawatts of new renewable energy by 2020 and mobilize the potential to generate 300gigawatts by 2030.
“African countries have abundant renewable energy resources. This initiative can transform Africa’s energy systems, grow African economies and help improve energy access. Now this will power our future.” says Asrat Yirgu, WWF Africa’s Climate Change Coordinator
A solar panel powering a borehole in Turkana, Northern Kenya.
This initiative represents Africa’s contribution to the global efforts on climate change and eliminating energy poverty. It will also help African nations embrace low-carbon development strategies while creating jobs, improving energy security and bringing clean, safe and affordable energy to the 640 million Africans who currently lack access to electricity. Read more
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
By Sophie Mbugua
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