The challenges the African continent faces to achieve food security is daunting (SciDevNet)

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Grand vision for an African-owned drive on food security

“Your granary will never be filled by your neighbour.” This is a Mozambican saying that was used by Graça Machel, member of International Panel of Elders and a former Mozambican minister of education, to illustrate the point that Africa cannot rely on outside help to achieve food security.

It was a recurring theme at the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Africa (RUFORUM) conference here in Maputo at which I heard her speak: Africa must take ownership of the responses to the challenges it faces in the twenty-first century.

It was a theme also elaborated on by Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, chair of the African Union Commission.  While appreciating the assistance of foreign donors she said it “cannot be the mainstay of our development — no country has ever developed on donor money”.  As the UN post-2015 development goals were in the process of being finalised, Africa needed its own vision and goals, she said.

“We must tell them what we need to do post-2015. We must know what we want and do it irrespective of what other people say,” she told the audience.


Posted in food / food security

Major desertification threat to Armenia (Google /

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Abundant use of water resources major desertification threat to Armenia – environmentalists

Lower water levels in the Ararat valley’s artesian basins will contribute to desertification in about 20 years if the abundant use of water resources continues, warn environmentalists.

Geographer Levon Gasparyan says such a wasteful approach is very likely to increase the number of dry lands by 20%-30% in the coming two decades.

“The research was conducted on an annual basis, and specific proposals were made. A failure to realize them may lower the level of water resources, especially for the fish-breeding industries. We are likely to have serious problems in future, though we already have them. With the continuing decrease in the artesian basins, people will not be able to irrigate their land lots, as there will be a shortage of water,” he told

Noting that the Ararat valley is a semi-desert zone, the environmentalist said that 80% of Armenia faces the threat of desertification today. He said the land degradation paces will be higher in case no appropriate measures are taken.


Posted in Desertification

How the Chinese are working to prevent the spread of the Desert (Google / Big Picture Agriculture)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Fighting Desertification in China Illustrated

These three photos show us how the Chinese are working to try to prevent the spread of the Maowusu Desert.

The photos are by Hong Wu/Getty Images.

Posted in Desertification

Explanatory digital atlas for combating desertification in India (Google / SCRIBD)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Maps of India on Desertification


Posted in Desertification

Reclaiming the Rajasthan desert from Prosopis juliflora (Google / The Guardian)

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Reclaiming the Rajasthan desert from a voracious Mexican plant

in Delhi (The Guardian)

A plan to reintroduce native species battles with a mesquite known as ‘the mad one’ planted by a maharajah in the 1930s

Long after a 19th-century English watercolourist painted the massive outcrop of barren volcanic rocks on which the formidable Jodhpur fort is perched, a modernising maharajah went up in his two-seater Tiger Moth plane to scatter bagfuls of mesquite seed in order to green his desert kingdom in Rajasthan.

The Prosopis juliflora variety of the mesquite that the flying maharajah planted in the 1930s not only lay siege to his fort, described by Rudyard Kipling as “the work of angels, fairies and giants”, but eventually took over large stretches of the Thar desert.

The thorny, leguminous mesquite can grow to be either shrub or tree, and was imported by the colonial British to afforest the desert wastelands of western India. It is hardy, drought-resistant and originally from Mexico. Today it dominates over half a million hectares across the country’s arid zones, and has been at the centre of debates over the ecological, social and economic impact of introducing exotic species into India.


Posted in Desertification

The transformative ability to restore degraded land to productive use (Google / Eco-Business)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

It’s time for a global landscape restoration revolution

Restoring degraded land could be the solution to global deforestation, desertification and food scarcity. Strong governance is needed to overcome the legal and financial obstacles to this, say Andrew Steer and Monique Barbut.

The solution to the very visible global problems of deforestation, desertification and food scarcity may be hiding in plain sight: the transformative ability to restore degraded land to productive use.

This is a resource opportunity of unprecedented magnitude. Two billion hectares—an area twice the size of Europe—of degraded land are ripe for landscape restoration. The expected rise in world population to 9 billion by 2050, and the need for a 70 percent increase in food production from 2006 levels, makes the need for a solution particularly urgent. This challenge will be even more difficult in the face of a changing climate.

Restoring these degraded lands would also be a huge blessing to millions of small farmers who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods—and it offers the additional benefit of mitigating climate change while helping farmers adapt to it. Restoring 150 million hectares would yield $84 billion in annualized net present value and would sequester approximately 1 gigaton of carbon dioxide equivalent annually.

What is required now is the political momentum to do so.


Posted in deforestation, Desertification, food / food security

Measures to safeguard soil resources (Land Policy and Practices – IISD)

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Global Soil Partnership Endorses Plans of Action

The second session of the Plenary Assembly of the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) has endorsed a number of measures to safeguard soil resources, including four Plans of Action, a global soil information system, a capacity development program, and a report on world soil resources. Recommendations of the Plans of Action include strong government regulations and investments for sustainable management of soils that contribute to the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and poverty.

The GSP Plenary Assembly, held in Rome, Italy, from 22-24 July, which included participation by both government and non-government stakeholders, endorsed Plans of Action for four GSP Pillars, namely: promoting sustainable management of soil resources; encouraging investment, technical cooperation, policy, education, awareness and extension in soils; enhancing the quantity and quality of soil data and information; and supporting the harmonization of methods, measurements and indicators for sustainable soil management.

Posted in Desertification