Floodwater used to grow herbs in Dakar (Senegal)

Photo credit: TRUST

Emilie Faye stands near a floodwater retention basin in Pikine, a suburb of the Senegalese capital Dakar. THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION

Dakar women grow herb business from floodwater

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

Author: Kathryn M. Werntz

VIDEO: http://youtu.be/uoGxrDeyT_g

Though the coastal cities of Senegal are situated on the fierce Atlantic Ocean, it is floods from heavy rains they struggle with, rather than rising tides.

Inondation à Pikine -  http://www.noorinfo.com/photo/art/default/4613661-6906052.jpg?v=1344867640
Inondation à Pikine – http://www.noorinfo.com/photo/art/default/4613661-6906052.jpg?v=1344867640

A common solution is to pump floodwaters into the ocean. But one innovative project is trying to capture the water instead, for use in gardening during water-short periods of the year.

Pikine, les Parcelles assainies et Guédiawaye, les trois villes de la banlieue dakaroise, bénéficieront, très prochainement, d’un programme spécial de lutte contre la pauvreté. - http://www.seneweb.com/news/artimages/news/pikine.jpg
Pikine, les Parcelles assainies et Guédiawaye, les trois villes de la banlieue dakaroise, bénéficieront, très prochainement, d’un programme spécial de lutte contre la pauvreté. – http://www.seneweb.com/news/artimages/news/pikine.jpg

In Pikine, a suburb of Senegal’s capital Dakar, the “Live with Water” project captures floodwater in large sandy basins, around which cash crop gardens of mint and basil provide an income for local residents.

Using the basins, floods that once wiped out houses, strained the local economy and heightened the risk of disease have been converted into a new stock of fresh water for a West African community that is dusty and dry much of the year.

“Before, one had to accept that houses here flood. But this project opened our eyes to see there is a solution,” said Emilie Faye, a local leader who has been instrumental in the project.

Faye points to the seat of her couch, indicating the flood level in years past. The wall and ceiling of her home are discoloured and peeling due to secondary damage from humidity.


The redirected floodwaters serve a multitude of purposes. The surface drainage system leads water into an underground canal which empties into a natural filtration system. Water then flows through a series of basins, creating a reservoir and a green space in the middle of a crowded, dusty suburb.

The basins, a burgeoning ecosystem of their own, are now populated with medicinal plants, fish and herons.


Read the full article: TRUST

The link between desertification and climate change

Photo credit: Google

An olive grove in the Mascara Region, Algeria (Photo UNEP)

Algeria: IPCC Adopts Algeria’s Proposal On Desertification, Climate Change

Algeria’s proposal on the elaboration of a special report on the link between desertification and climate change have been recently accepted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The announcement of accepting Algeria’s proposal was made in the meeting of the 41st session of IPCC held from 24 to 27 February at the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi (Kenya).

This proposal was supported by several countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Mali, Chad, Switzerland and Spain.

Read the full article: allAfrica

Watershed Management in Ethiopia

Photo credit: Google

Mt. Damota in Ethiopia

Ethiopia: Watershed Management Contribute for Sustainable, Effective Agricultural Yields

Some years ago, due to erosion, Damota Mountain surrounding dwellers used to be advised to leave their farms and move to other places at the expense of farming activities they carried out. Wolayta farmers recently visited watershed works in the environs of Damota Mountain. Currently, the mountain looks beautiful green land and completely opened and known for various activities which potentially assists a great variety of economic activities.

Wolayta Zone Administrator Eyob Wate said that the watershed management activities carried out in the zone could enable local farmers to move back to their farmlands. This could be due to the rational and socially acceptable utilization of all the natural resources for optimum production to fulfill the present need.

Local farmers and the wider community who depend on the land were engaged in the planning process in the move to rehabilitate the degraded land, he said.

Eyob also said that participatory watershed management in the State assists to generate greater cohesion within the society and enable the newly settled farmers to benefit from various assets created and eventually to overcome their food insecurity. More than 11,132 hectares of land in all weredas were identified for youths and the utilization of improved farming methods are now being undertaken for improved agricultural production, he added.

Read the full article: allAfrica

Agriculture plan in South Africa

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3rd Global Conference On Agriculture, Food And Nutrition Security And Climate Change, South Africa, December 2013

Grand agriculture plan gets Cabinet’s nod

Pretoria - Cabinet has approved the five-year Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Strategic Framework and Agricultural Policy Action Plan, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, said on Thursday.

“The framework sets out the key challenges faced by the three sectors and proposes interventions in four areas namely equity and transformation; equitable growth and competitiveness, environmental sustainability and governance,” he said.

Addressing the post Cabinet briefing on Thursday, Minister Radebe said the strategy and the action plan will be updated on an annual basis.

“Land distribution is one of government’s programmes that has promoted equity but so far without accomplishing a great deal by way of transformation.

“Whereas the Reconstruction and Development Programme declared that the main purpose of land distribution was to alter the structure of South African agriculture, [the policy] also seeks to support the sectors to grow the economy and create jobs,” Minister Radebe said.

Read the full article: SA news

Plan to stem hunger but without input from S. Africa’s poor

Photo credit: Google

Children in Wicker Village

Success and achievements of women in agriculture

Photo credit: FoodTank

Tea farmers in Uganda

Women Farmers Making it Happen

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the success and achievements of women in agriculture, while also calling on more resources and support.

by Randy Plett

March 8th is International Women’s Day, and this year’s theme is “Make it Happen.” All over the world, there are innovative women inspiring us at Food Tank. International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the success and achievements of women in agriculture, while also calling on more resources and support.

Achieving Gender Equality in Agriculture - http://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/nodeimage/5842085889_620656d5fe_b_0.jpg
Achieving Gender Equality in Agriculture – http://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/nodeimage/5842085889_620656d5fe_b_0.jpg

The Open Working Group (OWG) of the U.N. General Assembly recently proposed their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include the need to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. The goals also aim to reduce inequality within and among countries, combat climate change, build resilient communities, ensure access to education, promote healthy lifestyles, end hunger, achieve food security, and promote sustainable agriculture. Women are already making many of these goals happen in villages and cities around the globe.

Sixty-six percent of the world’s work falls on women’s shoulders, yet according to Oxfam they only earn 10 percent of the world’s income. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, providing women farmers access to the same resources as men could reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 100-150 million. When women earn more, they invest more in the health of their families.

“Women in agriculture play a critical role in shaping our future, and need access to greater resources,” said Laurie Benson, founder of 1% for Women, an organization that empowers women farmers. “The ripple effect created from supporting women in agriculture is truly felt around the world.”

Read the full article: FoodTank

Drought and climate-change

Photo credit: Google

Drought in California

Droughts in Syria and California linked to climate change

by Debora MacKenzie

Syria and California have both recently suffered their worst-ever droughts, exacerbated by global warming. Syria’s may have helped trigger its bloody civil war, but not California’s, which instead brought vermin invasions and wildfire. The difference points to the resilience that will be needed in a warming world.

Colin Kelley of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his colleagues analysed Syrian weather data since 1931, and found steadily less winter rainfall, which is crucial for crops, and higher temperatures, which dry soils faster. The only explanation for such a change over that timescale lies in man-made greenhouse emissions, says Kelley. Climate models, his team found, consistently predict such changes for the Fertile Crescent, the Middle Eastern area that includes Syria and Iraq.

The researchers used a statistical technique to separate the long-term drying that appeared linked to climbing CO2 emissions, from yearly, natural ups and downs in precipitation. Those natural variations led to the occasional drought by themselves, says Kelley. But, he adds, “the long-term drying trends exacerbated the recent drought, making it the most severe in the observed record.” Crops failed from 2006 to 2009 in Syria’s northeastern region that is its breadbasket – then when rains returned, they triggered an explosion of yellow rust, a wheat fungus, that killed up to half the crop.

Read the full article: New Scientist