It is imperative to invest in female researchers (SciDevNet)

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Investing in female scientists to feed Africa

In this interview, Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, director of the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development fellowship programme in Kenya, talks about AWARD’s work supporting the careers of female agricultural scientists across Sub-Saharan Africa.

She outlines the daunting challenge facing Africa: to rapidly expand agricultural production so that the continent can feed itself. Women currently produce the majority of Africa’s food but are severely underrepresented in agricultural research and development. Kamau-Rutenberg argues that it is therefore imperative to invest in female researchers.  Only by fully using this resource will Africa be able to meet its food needs.


Posted in Agriculture, food / food security, Research / science

The lives of millions who are slowly cooking in the blistering sun (IPS)

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Blistering Drought Leaves the Poorest High and Dry

The last time there was mud on his village roads was about a year ago, says Murugesu Mohanabavan, a farmer from the village of Karachchi, situated about 300 km north of Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo.

“Since last October we have had nothing but sun, all day,” the 40-year-old father of two school-aged children told IPS. If his layman’s assessment of the rain patterns is off, it is by a mere matter of weeks.

At the disaster management unit of the Kilinochchi District Secretariat under which Mohanabavan’s village falls, reports show inadequate rainfall since November 2013 – less than 30 percent of expected precipitation for this time of year.

Sri Lanka is currently facing a severe drought that has impacted over 1.6 million people and cut its crop yields by 42 percent, according to government analyses. But a closer look at the areas where the drought is at its worst shows that the poorest have been hit hardest.

Of the drought-affected population, over half or roughly 900,000 people, are from the Northern and Eastern Provinces of the country, regions that have been traditionally poor, dependent on agriculture and lacking strong coping mechanisms or infrastructure to withstand the impact of natural disasters.


Posted in Desertification, drought

Aral Sea’s recession over the past 14 years (CNN)

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Once-vast Aral Sea dries up to almost nothing

By Brad Lendon, CNN

The Aral Sea was once the world’s fourth-largest lake. Now much of it is a vast toxic desert straddling the borders of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, two former Soviet states in central Asia.

In recently released images, NASA’s Earth Observatory shows the extent of the lake’s recession over the past 14 years.

The damage reached its peak this year, when the eastern lobe of the South Aral Sea — which actually was the center of the original lake — dried up completely.

Until the 1960s, the Aral Sea was fed by two rivers, the Amu Darya and Syr Darya, which brought snowmelt from mountains to the southeast, and local rainfall. But in the 1960s the Soviet Union diverted water from the two rivers into canals to supply agriculture in the region.

With the loss of water, the lake began to recede and its salinity levels began to rise. Fertilizers and chemical runoff contaminated the lake bed. As the lakebed became exposed, winds blew the contaminated soil onto the surrounding croplands, meaning even more water was needed to make the land suitable for agriculture, according to an Earth Observatory release.


Posted in Desertification, drought

Drylands, Deserts and Desertification (Google / Tomorrow’s news)

Read at : Google Alerts – desertification

#drylands, #deserts, #desertification

5th International Conference on Drylands, Deserts and Desertification

Monday 17 November to Thursday 20 November 2014

Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Elat, Israel

The International Conference on Drylands, Deserts and Desertification (DDD) will focus on the theme, ‘Healthy Lands – Healthy People’. It will consider the interactions between drylands and the people around them. The conference will include plenary lectures and panels, parallel sessions, workshops and field trips on theoretical and practical issues related to addressing desertification and sustainable livelihoods in dryland areas. Sessions will also be held on, inter alia: the target of zero net rate of land degradation: soil and land restoration: urban planning in drylands: and water policy in drylands.


Posted in desert/desert gardening, Desertification, drylands

Case Studies on Desertification (Google / Genius)

Read at : Google Alerts – desertification

Download book Case Studies on Desertification. Ed by J.A. Mabbutt (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Natural Resources Resea) pdf

Posted in Uncategorized

Desertification in Nigeria (Google/ Figshare)

Read at : Google Alerts – desertification

Pattern of Desertification in Yobe State of Nigeria

Abstract: In this paper, the pattern of desertification in Yobe State of Nigeria was investigated. A multistage stratified sampling technique was used to select the eighteen development areas for study. Data on the causes, damages / influence, and remedies for desertification were collected through the use of questionnaires and aerial photographs obtained from the North East Arid Zone Development Programme (NEAZDP) for the 1990s and 2000s. Data analysis employed the use of descriptive statistics and interpretation of aerial photographs.

The photo interpretations were used to establish the presence of sand dunes, bare grounds, depletion of waterbodies and vegetation cover. These interpretations were further validated at the Regional Centre for Remote Sensing in Jos, Plateau state of Nigeria. The study showed the expanding desert as one of the severe environmental problems.

A combination of climatic factors, increase in population and livestock pressure on the land and vegetation has been identified as the chief causes of desertification. Environmental degradation have been significant particularly in the case of reduction in water body, depletion of vegetation cover, shifting sand dunes, increasing bare grounds and loss of biodiversity. The study suggests some remedial and corrective anti desertification measures such as the incorporation of indigenous desert control knowledge into government environmental conservation Programmes as well as massive and sustained tree planting exercise with recommended and adaptable tree species.


Posted in desert/desert gardening

Sustainable increases in agricultural productivity, food security and reduced greenhouse gas emissions (Land-L)

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Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture Launched

A coalition formed by 14 governments and 32 organizations will aim to enable 500 million farmers around the world to practice climate-smart agriculture. The ‘Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture’ was launched during the Climate Summit, on 23 September, and the Alliance held its first meeting on 24 September in New York, US.

The Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA), will work for: sustainable and equitable increases in agricultural productivity and incomes; increased resilience of food systems and farming livelihoods; and reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture. The Alliance will also aim to boost food and nutrition security through climate-adjusted and natural-resource efficient agricultural practices, food systems and social policies.

The Alliance members, which include governments, farmers, scientists, businesses, civil society, and regional and international organizations, represent millions of farmers, a quarter of the world’s cereal production, 43 million undernourished people and 16% of global agricultural GHG emissions.

The Alliance’s Action Plan, released during the Summit, includes a target of enabling 500 million farmers to practice CSA by 2030. Other targets will be set with Alliance partners and monitored annually. Members will inform the Alliance on actions taken and impact achieved. Participants to the agriculture ‘action area’ of the Summit also issued an Action Statement outlining key global challenges and goals in the areas of agriculture, food security and nutrition.

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Posted in Agriculture, Climate / climate change, food / food security