Kano Wheat Farmers Get N50m Loan

The Kano state Government has given out N50 million as loan to the  state chapter of the  Wheat Farmers Association(WFAN), to aid its members  in storing their produce after harvest.

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According to the Chairman of the Association, Alhaji Farouk Rabi’u who made this disclosure,  the association would give out interest free loans to all its members, so as to assist them in protecting their products all through the season.

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Alhaji Rabi’u emphasized that the interest free loan was repayable, after the farmers must have sold their produce.

The programme titled ”Warehousing Finance Receipt Programme’ would ensure that farmers receive 30 per cent  value of their products as loans, while they would be required to pay a token for the storage of their products.

 

 

 

 

Animal Vaccines Should Be Administered By Professionals-Vet Doctor

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The indiscriminate administration of  of vaccines on  animals by non professionals, has been  condemned.

This condemnation was made by a Veterinary Doctor, Dr. Oumide Ogunjobi, the Operations Manager  of a Veterinary Consulting Firm, in Ibadan, Nigeria.

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Indeed, vaccines are sold, and  administered  on animals, by mostly unqualified people, who learned the process informally.

”We’ve been trying to ensure that only Veterinary Doctors have access to vaccines, vaccines are biologicals that are used for the immunization of animals. If animals are not well immunized, vaccinated, there is no way , we will be able to control and prevent the outbreak of diseases. Any vaccines  that would be given in the state, a Veterinary Doctor must be involved. Everywhere you go, you see people selling veterinary drugs, but if  we ensure that only registered Veterinary Doctors are consulting in these  outlets, there will be sanity”, Dr. Ogunjobi concluded.

Africa: UN – U.S.$4.4 Billion Needed to Prevent ‘Catastrophe’ of Famine

The United Nations needs $4.4bn by the end of next month to prevent “a catastrophe” of hunger and famine in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen, according to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

More than 20 million people face starvation in the four countries and action is needed now to avert a humanitarian disaster, Guterres told a news conference at UN headquarters on Wednesday.

“We need $4.4 billion by the end of March to avert a catastrophe,” he said.

So far, the UN has raised just $90m.

South Sudan on Monday declared a famine in northern Unity State while Fews Net, the famine early warning system, has said that some remote areas of northeast Nigeria are already affected by starvation since late last year.

The four famine alerts are unprecedented in recent decades.

There has only been one famine since 2000, in Somalia. At least 260,000 people died in that disaster – half of them children under the age of five, according to the UN World Food Program.

The UN children’s agency UNICEF this week said almost 1.4 million children acutely malnourished in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen could die from famine in the coming months.

Of the four famine alerts, only one – Somalia – is caused by drought, while the other three are the result of conflicts, also described as “man-made food crises”.

“The situation is dire,” said Guterres.

“Millions of people are barely surviving in the space between malnutrition and death, vulnerable to diseases and outbreaks, forced to kill their animals for food and eat the grain they saved for next year’s seeds.”

The appeal for international action came as humanitarian aid groups are already struggling to meet needs in Syria and cope with the global refugee crisis.

This story from Al Jazeera was supplied to AllAfrica under an agreement with the Africa Media Agency

Source : All Africa

Tanzania: We’ll Table Confidence Vote Against JPM – Zitto

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Dar es Salaam — The Alliance for Democratic Change (ACT-Wazalendo) has said it would table in Parliament a motion of no confidence against President John Magufuli in the event of some Tanzanians dying of hunger.

This was said by ACT Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe during a campaign rally for Kijichi Ward councillor’s seat.

Mr Kabwe said President Magufuli would become the first country’s Head of State to face a vote of no confidence in Parliament should people die for lack of food.

The ACT-Wazalendo leader said according to Article 46 (a) of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, Parliament may debate a “No confidence vote” if at least 20 per cent of Members of Parliament support the move.

“If the Opposition members would unite, then President Magufli would become the first Head of State in the county’s to face a confidence motion,” Mr Kabwe said.

The party leader added that the President must stop heaping blame on some politicians and the media claiming that they were politicising the famine reports.

“We, ACT-Wazalendo are urging the President to be responsive because this is a democratic country; not everyone holding a different view over matters of the country (contrary to that of the government) has been bribed,” he said.

Mr Kabwe advised the President to observe the Constitution in the course of discharging his duties.

According to the firebrand opposition politician, it was the constitutional duty of the government to protect its people in the event of any calamity or disaster.

At the same time, he called on the Head of State to remember that no one was above the law.

Mr Kabwe furthered that ACT-Wazalendo will continue to criticise the government whenever things were not being run properly.

He urged Tanzanians, regardless of their political affiliation, to open up on the state of food in the country.

The ACT-Wazalendo leader said further that although the President has played down the famine reports, only time would tell who between the government and the Opposition was telling the truth.

Mr Kabwe commended religious leaders for weighing in on the matter.

The prevailing drought in parts of the country has made the Catholic Church to issue a pastoral letter to its believers calling them to pray for rain.

In the letter dispatched to bishops, the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) President, Bishop Tarcisius Ngalalekumtwa, warned that the country was facing a dire situation due to the prolonged dry season.

Bishop Ngalalekumtwa, who is the head of the Catholic Church in Tanzania, asked bishops to organise special masses from yesterday for congregations to pray so that it would rain in the country.

The ACT-leader claimed further that although the President has done well in restoring discipline in the public sector, some of his statements have not only hurt wananchi but have also been scaring away investors. “It is not right for the President to address the masses as if he was still in the election campaigns. He should focus on building the country as well as generating employment opportunities,” he said.

Calls from a cross-section of leaders have continued to mount on the government to accept the real situation on the ground and take action to forestall a crisis over the unpredictability of the situation.

Scores of regional government officials have signalled stress arising from drought and death of livestock in their areas but the national government is yet to issue a firm direction on how to respond to the growing famine threat. In his recent addresses at public rallies, President Magufuli denied there is famine threat and stressed that his government would not give food relief to anyone.

Rwanda: Gasabo Youth Makes Fortune From Banana Stems

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Banana is like the tale about seven blind people and the elephant. To some people, it’s food, for a farmer it is fodder for animals, and for alcohol manufacturers; it is a raw material for some gins and beer like Urwagwa.

But for one youth in Gasabo district in Kigali province of Rwanda, the banana plant has a whole new meaning. Every morning, Celse Ngaruye wakes up in the morning to hunt for banana stems which he later makes into a final product: the banana lampshades.

When he has collected enough banana stems for the day, he chops them into small pieces, packs them in a sack and makes his way back to his art studio at Niyo Arts center based in Kacyiru. The banana stems are key raw material for his enteprise.

“Apart from the bulb and sockets, our final product is uniquely Rwandan,” he explains. Ngaruye says since he started the enterprise, he has had steady stream of customers, mostly tourists, who are impressed by the unique lampshades made from local products.

“I sell most of these eco-friendly products during the tourism peak periods, from May to November. This is the time, when many tourists flock into the country,” he says.

He says the lampshades he makes during the other months target local clients.

He adds that his other buyers include big hotels around Kigali, and individuals, who like ambiance the local lampshades create in bedrooms or living rooms.

“I have already started getting bulk orders from key hospitality industry players, like hotels. When they make their orders, they are free to dictate the style of the lampshades. I don’t mind this since I value my clients and their opinions,” says Ngaruye.

He notes that what has also endeared him to customers is the fact that buyers are free to choose their favourite colours.

He explains that the lampshades come in different colours, depending on the hue of the paper and ‘ibitenge’ fabrics used. Each lampshade costs between $100 (about Rwf80,000) and $150 (about Rwf120,000), when he sells to tourists, while Rwandans buy them at a bargain price.

The former visual artist says he has now concentrated on making lampshades abandoning his first love – painting – “because this business is more lucrative.”

“I realised that there’s a lot of competition when it comes to visual arts since many youth are into it. But making banana paper lampshades is a new phenomenon in Rwanda… it’s still a virgin field,” he says.

Challenges

Ngaruye, who is soon holding a banana lampshade exhibition, says since his main buyers are tourists, that “business is low during off season (time when there are few tourists coming into the country)”.

Source : The Independent(Kampala)

Zambia: Mealie Meal Price Skyrockets – 25 Kg = K100 – Fuel May Go Up to K21 Per Litre

Biting economic conditions are sweeping through Zambia with a bag of 25 kg mealie meal hitting the K100 mark in Lusaka.

A survey of locations selling meali4e meal, a form of powder made out of corn and is Zambia’s staple food, show prices swinging between K90 and K100 in urban areas. Reports also indicate the commodity has broke beyond the K100 mark in remote areas.

There are indication a 25 kg is going for between K150 to K200 in North-Western Province. Meanwhile, the price of fuel may go up a month after it was adjusted. This follows a slight increase of the commodity on the market.

According to available information, a litre of petrol may fetch up to K21 prompting an opposition leader to take proactive action by asking the government to reconsider any price adjustment.

IMPENDING INCREASE IN THE PUMP PRICE OF FUEL AGAIN

I humbly appeal to President Edgar Lungu on behalf of fellow Zambians not to increase the Pump Price of Fuel again. I am reliably informed that a decision to increase fuel to K21 per litre has just been made.

Our economy is headed for a recession and taking any action which increases the cost of production exacerbates the situation. UPP is ready to sit down with the government and provide our humble direction on what we ought to do for the sake of our nation.

UPP is scheduled to hold a major news conference by mid November, 2016. We shall write our first official letter to the President immediately after the conference.

God bless you! God bless Zambia!

Saviour Chishimba

UPP PRESIDENT

Source : Zambia Reports

Africa: Why Urban Agriculture Isn’t a Panacea for Africa’s Food Crisis

Analysis

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By Gareth Haysom, University of Cape Town and Jane Battersby

Urban agriculture is widely promoted as the solution to the growing problem of urban food insecurity in South Africa and in Africa more broadly. It is said to provide livelihoods and social cohesion, and have environmental benefits. But it’s also promoted as having additional food security benefits.

It is the primary, and usually the only, food security policy of local governments, and the focus of many NGOs and corporate social investment programmes.

There is, however, very little evidence to support this level of investment and focus.

It is thus important to critically assess whether the promotion of urban agriculture is warranted, particularly when it is at the expense of other potential solutions. We simply cannot afford to keep polishing the lamp and hoping the genie will appear.

Research shows something else

Proponents of urban agriculture offer figures suggesting that as many as 40% of African urban residents are involved in some form of agriculture. Such figures require far greater interrogation. In the case of Cape Town in South Africa, research conducted in low-income areas of the city in 2008 found that less than 5% of poor residents were involved in any form of urban agriculture. In reality, those most active in urban agriculture were found to be wealthier people in low-income areas.

Context is a further determining factor. Research shows that in towns where the municipal boundary extended into areas with more rural characteristics, urban agriculture was higher.

In South Africa this finding is supported by the 2011 census, which identified more than 30% of the population practising urban agriculture in medium-sized towns like Mafikeng, Polokwane and Newcastle. In Mogale City and Johannesburg, larger settlements with large urban settlements adjacent, the practice was well below 10%. And in Cape Town it was below 5%. Context, climate, soil fertility and spatial legacies all matter.

There is little evidence to suggest urban agriculture is contributing to food and nutrition security, either locally or internationally. The incomes from sales of produce are generally low, so the indirect food security benefits are limited.

Assumptions without evidence

The assumption in much advocacy work and policy is that urban agriculture benefits the most food-insecure households. But numerous case studies show this is not the case.

Two themes are implicit in motivations for urban agriculture. The first is welfare driven. The second is a narrative that calls for self-help interventions so that the poor initiate their own food security through urban agriculture. This assumes free time for the under-employed poor, who pursue multiple strategies to survive.

Linked to this is the assumption that the food insecure can get access to land, water, seeds and everything else they need. This misses the reality of poverty. State and NGO programmes do facilitate access to such resources, but the most vulnerable lack the knowledge or social networks to access these.

Urban agriculture is often promoted as a means of empowerment. But expecting the urban poor, who have the least access to resources, to grow their own and lift themselves out of poverty and food insecurity fails to recognise the barriers constraining urban agriculture. That isn’t empowerment; it’s the cruelty of false promises.

So where does the dogged pursuit of urban agriculture as the solution come from?

Local governments have no direct food security mandate, as food insecurity is still considered by most states to be primarily a rural problem. This means local governments wishing to address food insecurity adapt rural programmes to meet urban needs.

Food insecurity is seen as a household poverty problem and not a systemic problem. The obvious household response is food production.

The state is largely unwilling to address the systemic drivers of food insecurity, which would entail regulating food companies and challenging the dominant development agenda.

Looked at in this light it is possible to view the increased promotion of urban agriculture as a politically reactionary response. It claims to be aimed at fixing the worst effects of structural poverty and food insecurity. But it doesn’t actually address the root causes.

Changes that need to be made

For as long as urban agriculture remains local government’s main entry point for addressing food insecurity, it is essential that programming be improved.

First, more effort needs to made in monitoring and evaluation of government-run initiatives. Though inputs are monitored well, outputs and impact monitoring are extremely weak. This means many programmes are failing and lessons are not being learnt.

Second, many NGOs working in urban agriculture have sustainable, viable projects. Local government should work more directly with these to increase the viability of state-initiated projects.

And if urban agriculture is to be a main focus area for food security programming, then suitable land should be identified and protected.

But urban food security efforts need to look beyond urban agriculture. For example, it is essential that local governments understand the food system in which urban agriculture operates to understand why producers struggle to find markets for their goods. This would allow them to develop a range of interventions based on their existing mandates, including integrating formal and informal food retailing spaces, and supporting fresh produce markets to increase their role in local, pro-poor food value chains.

Finally, local governments should develop food security strategies to guide their interventions. Through these measures, urban agriculture can remain integral to efforts to alleviate food insecurity and would be more likely to have the desired impact.

It is clear that urban agriculture can have significant benefits for some participating households. But we are concerned about the absence of wider evidence supporting its potential to address food insecurity beyond those households. The assertion that urban agriculture can provoke systemic change is untested. Through their dogged promotion of urban agriculture, the state and the private sector can claim they are working towards food insecurity and have a good photo op with key personnel in wellington boots. At the same time they can absolve themselves from responsibility for the causes of food insecurity.

Disclosure statement

Gareth Haysom received funding from from CIDA (AFSUN Programme) and currently receives funding from the ESRC/DFID (Consuming Urban Poverty Project) and IDRC (Hungry Cities Partnership programme).

Jane Battersby has received funding from CIDA (AFSUN Programme) and FORMAS (Ways of Knowing Urban Ecology Project). She currently receives funding from the ESRC/DFID (Consuming Urban Poverty Project).

Source  :The Conversation

Zimbabwe: Drought Claims 24 800 Cattle

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The number of cattle that have died due to drought has risen to 24 801 countrywide, director of economics and marketing in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Mr Clemence Bwenje said yesterday.

Speaking at a multi-stakeholder meeting held in Harare bringing together experts in agriculture — Mr Bwenje said more cattle died last month.

Masvingo province recorded almost 50 percent (12 373) of the deaths.

He said the Government was mobilising money to feed 227 417 cattle.

“Livestock Drought Mitigation Programme through destocking and provision of subsidised livestock feed targeting 227 417 cattle requires $53 878 825,” he said.

He said farmers were not willing to sell their cattle because most of them were in poor condition and would fetch low prices.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union president Mr Wonder Chabikwa said the recent rains being experienced in the country would go a long in saving the livestock.

“We were actually in a big dilemma due to the drought that hit our country, but we are now happy that almost every part of the country is receiving rains. These rains will save our livestock that was under threat and farmers will be more secure if these rains continue until April,” he said.

Source : The Herald (Harare)

African Journalists Support Sustainable Fisheries and Resilient Coastal Communities

Press release

ELMINA — Over 100 journalists from 44 African countries convened in Elmina, Ghana, to tackle issues in the fisheries sector. They witnessed how sustainable fishery management can reduce extreme poverty, build climate resilient communities, and foster strong economies. Together, journalists decided to harness the power of the media to support sustainable fisheries.

“The promotion of transparency and participation in the fisheries sector is taking center stage globally. It is obvious that without a platform or an effective network to disseminate relevant information to the public, these objectives will be difficult to achieve, even with the best will of governments,” said Marieme Talla Diagne, Acting Permanent Secretary, West Africa Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC).

In Africa, fish account for more than half of the total animal protein people eat (FAO), and fish provides essential food security, which is particularly important in countries such as Liberia and Sierra Leone as they are recovering from Ebola outbreaks. Globally, 1 billion people in developing countries depend on fish for their primary source of protein, yet many fisheries are overexploited, and poor management and illegal fishing make it hard for fishers to feed their families. In Ghana for example, about 135,000 fishers saw a 40 percent decline in catch in the first decade of the 21st century.

“Over the past decades, Africa’s capture fisheries rapidly expanded without proper governance or management. In other words, there are too many boats and too many fishers chasing too few fish. The consequence has been biological degradation of fish resources and substantial economic losses”, said Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra, in his opening remarks.

Globally, the economic loss from poor fisheries governance and management amounts to $50-100 billion each year. As African fisheries continue to expand, policies are needed to guide the industry to prevent further resource degradation, rehabilitate overexploited stocks, and manage overall fishing effort levels.
Development partners have come a long way in supporting country efforts to build sustainable fishery management and coastal resources, and finding success in community-led fisheries. However, there is still a long way to go. Including the media in the governance of the fisheries sector is expected to bring a heightened sense of awareness and a more complete understanding of the urgency by the public.

“I am pleased to say that we have met our objective to develop a network of African journalists who will promote sustainable fisheries and resilient fisheries communities. We organized this workshop to assist them in producing factual, accurate, deep-dive reporting on fisheries issues,” said Dr. Mohamed Seisay, Senior Fisheries Officer, African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources.

Journalists traveled to the fishing communities of Apam, Elmina, and Moree to meet with fishers, families and local officials and experience how the 40 percent decline in fish stock has affected their lives. Communities discussed their daily struggle to make a living from the fisheries sector deeply affected by Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and to tackle the use of chemicals and dynamite in the water, child labor, and gender issues.

“We have partnered with the African Union, USAID and SRFC to provide this fantastic opportunity to bring journalists from 44 African countries together and provide them with a forum to brainstorm on the fisheries sector, its challenges and solutions. We expect journalists to go back and support countries’ efforts to make the fisheries sector the cornerstone of food security, livelihoods, social safety nets, and jobs,” said Magda Lovei, Practice Manager, Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice, World Bank.

Journalists came away from the meeting realizing how important inland and marine fisheries are to the livelihoods of millions of Africans and as a source of low cost animal food protein, especially for the poor.

“Weak management has threatened this important local and sustainable food supply on many parts of the continent. Journalists need to report on emerging success stories from Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Kenya, Malawi and elsewhere demonstrating that Africa can meet the challenges of sustaining these food supplies and increasing the contributions of aquaculture and capture fisheries,” stated Dr. Brian Crawford, Director of the USAID/Ghana Sustainable Fisheries Management Project.

Source : World Bank

Ethiopia: Food Aid to Run Out in Ethiopia Unless Donors Step in, Says Charity

Addis Ababa — Emergency food aid for 10 million Ethiopians hit by the worst drought in 50 years will run out in April unless donors provide more funds by the end of February, the charity Save the Children said on Wednesday.

“The international community has just three weeks to provide $245 million in emergency food aid to help prevent a potentially catastrophic escalation in severe acute malnutrition (SAM) cases…” it said in a statement.

“If these emergency funds do not arrive in time, there is no question that there will be a critical fracture in the food aid supply pipeline,” country director John Graham said in the statement.

The $245 million now being sought is the cost of food aid for Ethiopia for the three months from May to July, Graham said.

It can take four months to buy food aid and transport it into landlocked Ethiopia via neighbouring Djibouti’s congested port, so the window for action “is rapidly closing,” the charity said.

The El Nino weather phenomenon has caused drought and flooding across Africa, leaving 20 million people short of food in the south of the continent and 14 million in the east, the United Nations says.

The number in need is greatest in Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country.

Famine, triggered by war and drought, killed one million people in Ethiopia in 1984. The nation now has one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies but many people are still small-scale farmers and herders dependent on seasonal rains.

A $1.4 billion appeal by the government and aid partners for 2016 has raised $680 million, U.N. figures show.

More than 400,000 Ethiopian children under five are predicted to suffer from severe malnutrition this year, and a further 1.7 million under-fives, pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers will need treatment for moderate malnutrition.

The World Food Programme has started importing food from Berbera in Somaliland to speed up the process.

(Reporting by Katy Migiro, editing by Tim Pearce. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, property rights and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org to see more stories.)

Source : Thomas Reuters