How to end chronic hunger cycle in Africa ?

 

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Panos

Africa Analysis: Ending Africa’s chronic hunger cycle

Speed read

  • Africa is home to three of four nations that could be hit by famine in 2017
  • African governments must invest in sustainable water supply to boost farming
  • Governments should learn from other nations such as China, India and Sri Lanka
For Africa to end chronic hunger, governments must invest in sustainable water supplies, writes Esther Ngumbi.

The fields are bare under the scorching sun and temperatures rise with every passing week. Any crops the extreme temperatures haven’t destroyed, the insect pests have, and for many farmers, there is nothing they can do. [1] Now, news about hunger across Africa makes mass media headlines daily. [2]

Globally, hunger levels are at their highest. [3] In fact, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, over 70 million people across 45 countries will require food emergency assistance in 2017, with Africa being home to three of the four countries deemed to face a critical risk of famine: Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen. [4]

“Many African smallholder farmers depend on rain-fed agriculture, and because last year’s rains were inadequate, many farmers never harvested any crops.”

Esther Ngumbi, Auburn University in Alabama. United States

African governments, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and humanitarian relief agencies, including the United Nations World Food Programme, continue to launch short-term solutions such as food relief supplies to avert the situation. Kenya, for example, is handing cash transfers and food relief to its affected citizens. The UN World Food Programme is also distributing food to drought-stricken Somalia. [5] And in Zambia, the government is employing every tool including its military to combat insect pest infestation. [6]

But why are we here? What happened? Why is there such a large drought?

Reasons for chronic hunger

Many African smallholder farmers depend on rain-fed agriculture, and because last year’s rains were inadequate, many farmers never harvested any crops. Indeed, failed rains across parts of the Horn of Africa have led to the current drought that is affecting Somalia, south-eastern Ethiopia and northern and eastern Kenya. [7]

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Tree lucerne (Cytisus proliferus) is a key supplementary feed for ruminant animals particularly in dry seasons

 

Photo credit: Google

Tree lucerne a promising animal feed option for Ethiopia farmers

Improved sweet potato varieties in West Africa

 

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: International Potato Center

Sweet potato project improves nutrition and incomes

by Samuel Hinneh

Speed read

  • A three-year project has improved sweet potato varieties in West Africa
  • The project combats vitamin A deficiency and boosts yields and incomes
  • But an expert says a major challenge being addressed is post-harvest losses

[ACCRA] Farmers and entrepreneurs in West Africa are benefiting from a project that offers improved sweet potato varieties and market access.

The US$4 million project that began in April 2014 and ended last month (March 2017) was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented in Burkina Faso, Ghana and Nigeria.

“Post-harvest experts and food scientists are working with us to develop [new orange fleshed sweet potato] varieties.”

Ernest Baafi, Crops Research Institute, CSIR, Ghana

The other partners include Institut de l’Environnement et de Recherches Agricoles in Burkina Faso, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)–Crops Research Institute in Ghana, and the National Root Crops Research Institute, Nigeria.

The project called Jumpstarting Orange-fleshed Sweetpotato in West Africa through Diversified Markets aimed to establish commercial sweet potato seed systems to provide clean planting materials throughout the year, and develop formal and informal markets for the varieties through participation of farmers in the value chain.

The development and commercialisation of orange-fleshed sweet potatoes would help tackle micro nutrients deficiency, according to the International Potato Center (CIP), the lead organisation of the project, during a field visit to project sites in Ghana on 7 February.
Read the full article: SciDevNet

 

And yet they could apply container gardening

 

 

Nearly two billion people depend on imported food

Date:
April 13, 2017
Source:
Aalto University
Summary:
Researchers show empirically: when population pressure increases, food is imported. The big issue, say authors of a new report, is that people may not even be aware that they have chosen dependency on imports over further investment in local production or curbing demand.

Earth’s capacity to feed its growing population is limited — and unevenly distributed. An increase in cultivated land and the use of more efficient production technology are partly buffering the problem, but in many areas it is instead solved by increasing food imports. For the first time, researchers at Aalto University have been able to show a broad connection between resource scarcity, population pressure, and food imports, in a study published in Earth’s Future.

‘Although this has been a topic of global discussion for a long time, previous research has not been able to demonstrate a clear connection between resource scarcity and food imports. We performed a global analysis focusing on regions where water availability restricts production, and examined them from 1961 until 2009, evaluating the extent to which the growing population pressure was met by increasing food imports,’ explains Postdoctoral Researcher Miina Porkka.

Read the full article: Science Daily

AND WHAT IF WE WOULD TEACH OUR KIDS TO GROW FRESH FOOD AT HOME ?

170220084213_1_540x360
Many parents do not promote healthy eating in kids, according to this month’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at the University of Michigan. Credit: C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health – https://images.sciencedaily.com/2017/02/170220084213_1_540x360.jpg

Let us convince the complete world how easy it is to grow food in containers. That’s what I was thinking after reading this university report:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170220084213.htm

 

Only one-third of parents think they are doing a good job helping kids eat healthy foods

Date:
February 20, 2017
Source:
Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan
Summary:
If you know healthy eating is important for your kids, but you also feel like it’s easier said than done, you’re not alone. Many parents may not be following the recipe for encouraging healthy diets in their kids, and 1 in 5 don’t think it’s important to limit fast food and other junk food, outlines a new report.

Urban malnutrition has evaded policymakers and researchers for a long time since it is a unique continuous process

 

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Panos

Undernutrition rampant in urban Sub-Saharan Africa

by Calvin Otieno

Speed read

  • A programme is facilitating local assessment of undernutrition
  • It provides a platform for key actors to identify and address undernutrition
  • An expert cites limited funding as a challenge to tackling urban undernutrition

A programme is helping address undernutrition — insufficient quantity and quality of food intake by a person — in Sub-Saharan Africa through creation of a local platform to assess and discuss challenges.

According to UNICEF, about 28 percent of children in Sub-Saharan Africa are underweight. But experts say existing nutrition assessment such as household economy approach face challenges such as lack of in-depth assessments and situational analyses.

To help address these challenges, Action Against Hunger (AFC), a humanitarian non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in France has developed a programme called Link Nutrition Casual Analysis (Link NCA).

“Urban malnutrition has evaded policymakers and researchers for a long time since it is a unique continuous process.”

Esther Mogusu, Nairobi County

“Link NCA is a local process that tries to understand what’s happening across different regions by providing independent nutrition survey and analysis and providing multi-sectoral tailor-shaped nutrition security programmes to the communities and stakeholders,” said Blanche Mattern, AFC and Link NCA technical advisor, during the Link NCA Learning Event held in Kenya on 28 February.

Mattern explains that compared to other nutritional analysis programmes, Link NCA uses people-centred approach.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

What if we planted willow trees all over the world ?

 

Staff Photo by Stacey Hairston – 

http://www.thefranklinnewspost.com/news/plant-a-tree-save-the-earth/article_eaa1f898-1f7f-11e7-baa4-d307378e180d.html

Plant a tree, save the earth

Black willows were used because they are easy to propagate and grow into a new tree from cutting off a limb

  • By STACEY HAIRSTON SHairston@thefranklinnewspost.com

……………………..

The STIC program was started in 2012 as a partnership between Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

As part of the program, students root native Black Willow cuttings in the classroom for about three to four weeks and then take a field trip to plant the trees, said Krista Hodges, DRBA education manager.

“Trees along streams help keep water clean by buffering out pollution like chemicals and litter, and help keep the streams at cooler temperatures during the summer,” Hodges said. “The trees also provide habitat for wildlife seeking food or water, and shelter.”

Black willows were used because they are easy to propagate and grow into a new tree from cutting off a limb, Hodges said. The limbs, when handled and treated properly, will root in a couple weeks and can be planted within three to four weeks after cutting.

“The Black Willows are perfect for the program because they are native to the area and love wet areas near streams,” she said.

Read the full article: The Franklin News Post