* Barrel - Chinese cabbage - Photo Novotopia - 549117_401115436604368_1339359550_n.jpg

Use the useless barrels for food production in the drylands and refugee camps

Photo credit : * Barrel – Chinese cabbage – Photo Novotopia – 549117_401115436604368_1339359550_n.jpg

 

Aid delivery in barrels

 

by Prof. Dr. Willem VAN COTTHEM (University of Ghent, Belgium)

* Barrel - Construction - Photo Grow Food, Not Lawns - 602819_480560975332853_923784772_n.jpg
* Barrel – Construction – Photo Grow Food, Not Lawns – 602819_480560975332853_923784772_n.jpg

 

I have read the message:

AS DROUGHT DEEPENS IN ETHIOPIA, UN AND PARTNERS URGE SCALING UP OF AID

https://desertification.wordpress.com/2011/04/29/as-drought-deepens-in-ethiopia-un-and-partners-urge-scaling-up-of-aid-unnews/

EXCERPT

(1) “United Nations humanitarian agencies are calling for increased assistance to an estimated 2 million people affected by drought in the Horn of Africa country, …”.

(2) “Water is being transported by truck to drought-hit residents”.

(3) “UN aid agencies, working with national authorities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), are also distributing food to households in need and providing health care, veterinary services and livestock feed”.

(4) “The Ethiopian Government has requested an additional $75 million for humanitarian assistance this month and in May, while UN agencies and their partners have called for more resources to meet increasing needs and expand operations in the coming months to avoid gaps in aid delivery”.

(5) “High global food and fuel price rises have raised the cost of buying and importing essential commodities, including food”.

=================

* Barrel - Photo Donna Tomlinson - 21179_10151413017613193_2095773075_n.jpg
* Barrel – Photo Donna Tomlinson – 21179_10151413017613193_2095773075_n.jpg

Trying to help with some modest, constructive suggestions, I refer to one of my former postings: “Barrels for refugees and smallholder farmers in the drylands” (Willem Van Cotthem) – Posted on April 28, 2011

https://desertification.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/barrels-for-refugees-and-smallholder-farmers-in-the-drylands-willem-van-cotthem/

* Barrel - Photo Grow Food, Not Lawns - 543902_454718244583793_1216246470_n.jpg
* Barrel – Photo Grow Food, Not Lawns – 543902_454718244583793_1216246470_n.jpg

SOME IDEAS CONCERNING WATER AND FOOD

In Darfur (Sudan), the joint United Nations-African peacekeeping force (UNAMID) intended to distribute thousands of 75 liters (4 jerry cans) water containers (barrels).  I found this an excellent idea, because it is an efficient relieve of the burden for women and children of carrying water repeatedly from the source to the house.

* Barrel - Photo Idan Plaut - 566056_10151139681872924_845405390_n.jpg
* Barrel – Photo Idan Plaut – 566056_10151139681872924_845405390_n.jpg

Transporting water by truck to drought-hit people is only one part of the solution, offering a barrel to stock a certain quantity of water in or close to the house is the other “necessary” one.

* Barrel - Potatoes - Photo Easiest Garden - p3080148.jpg
* Barrel – Potatoes – Photo Easiest Garden – p3080148.jpg

As “UN aid agencies, working with national authorities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), are also distributing food to households in need and providing health care, veterinary services and livestock feed”, I guess that it must be possible to ship these goods (food, livestock feed …) in bigger barrels (100 to 200 liters).

* Barrel - Vegetables - Photo Grow Food, Not Lawns - 542232_449799711742313_474788682_n.jpg
* Barrel – Vegetables – Photo Grow Food, Not Lawns – 542232_449799711742313_474788682_n.jpg

I already suggested before that such barrels are available in the industry, where they are used for transporting liquid or solid products.  Often these barrels are not recycled and thus, they should be available at the lowest cost.

Logic tells me that it should be possible for the UN-organizations concerned to set up a structure to use these “useless” barrels as containers for shipping goods to drought-hit residents and leave them with the families, using them as water containers.

* Barrel - Vegetables2 - Photo Easiest Garden - garden_09___6.jpg
* Barrel – Vegetables2 – Photo Easiest Garden – garden_09___6.jpg

Could a part of the funds requested by the Ethiopian government and a part of the “resources to meet increasing needs and expand operations in the coming months to avoid gaps in aid delivery” be allocated to start up the use of UV-resistant barrels for aid delivery?

Taking into account that “High global food and fuel price rises have raised the cost of buying and importing essential commodities, including food” it seems again logic to me that it would be much cheaper to produce some food locally instead of “buying and importing” it.

Impossible because of the drought, you think?  Let me suggest again reading some of my messages on container gardening, published recently on my websites and Facebook pages :

https://desertification.wordpress.com/

https://containergardening.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/willemvancotthem

https://www.facebook.com/groups/221343224576801/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/273559399327792/

As one doesn’t need large quantities of water to grow vegetables and herbs in very cheap containers (pots, bottles, cans, sacks, …), it is quite feasible for all the drought-hit people to grow fresh food at home.  School children can do the same at school.  And they love to do so!

It goes without saying that I strongly believe in the positive outcome of these two recommendations:

  1. USE THE “USELESS” BARRELS OF THE INDUSTRY FOR AID DELIVERY TO DROUGHT-HIT PEOPLE.
  1. TEACH THESE PEOPLE HOW TO PRODUCE FRESH FOOD WITH A MINIMUM OF WATER IN CONTAINERS.

I cross my fingers.

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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