UN and agriculture in Sudan

Photo credit: Google

Agriculutre in Sudan

Agriculture Minister Reviews Ways to Cooperate with UN in Agriculture

The Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation Eng. Ibrahim Mahmud Hamid has reviewed ways of bolstering joint cooperation in the field of agriculture and sustainable development with the United Nations (UN).

Eng. Ibrahim Mahmud Hamid - http://news.sudanvisiondaily.com/media/images/29d17922-e485-1bb3.jpg
Eng. Ibrahim Mahmud Hamid – http://news.sudanvisiondaily.com/media/images/29d17922-e485-1bb3.jpg

This came when he met Tuesday at his office with the Chairman of the United Nations’ Socio-economic Affairs Sami Erekat. The meeting discussed ways of developing agricultural activities, sustainable development, water management and combating desertification. The meeting touched on ways of developing integrated plan for making Sudan to be a leading and pioneer state in realising the Millennium Development Goals as well as training and capacity building.

The Minister of Agriculture underlined that the state general policy targeted development of agricultural operations, achievement of food security and improvement of standard of living of the population by using technological packages to increase production and productivity.

Erekat said that it was highly important to work for the success of the Millennium Development Goals, to achieve sustainable development for all through creation of strategies for benefiting of the resources and to work for capacity building on water and drought management.

Read the full article: Sudan Vision

Climate change and desertification

Photo credit: 2 Celsius

Northern Ghana, desertification. Photo: Elena Craescu

Climate Change Furthers Desertification in Northern Africa’s Golden Coast

by Francis Npong, Ghana

The kind of ecological calamity that sent Ethiopia and Sunden’s Darfur from relative food sovereignty to food scarcity is here with us in Ghana, as Sahara Desert has continued to turn the Northern part of Ghana into wasteland and marches violently and unstoppably southwards.

According to environmental expert Thomas Ayamga, about 35% of the total land mass of the country has already been turned into semi desert and that climate change has advanced desert in an already fragile regions, the Upper East, Upper West and Northern Regions, which together constitute about 40% of the total land mass of the country. Mr. Ayamaga who spoke to said in an interview recently said this part of the country also has the highest temperatures ranges from 20 degrees Celsius to 41 degrees Celsius with unpredicted rain patterns.

Already an estimated 8.2 million hectares of the closed forest of the country have been depleted as a result of farming; logging and sand wining leaving a current level estimated at 1.9 to 2.0 million hectares of wood logs, he said. He said the impact of climate change has furthered desertification in the region and that if the situation is reverse the temperature in the region might become warmer that could trigger climate related illnesses such Cibro Spinal Manigitis (CMS) and malaria infections. “Climate change has made farming unattractive and rainfall erratic.

The only most immediate solution for agriculture at this moment is intensive irrigation”, he suggested.

Read the full article: 2 Celsius


Monitoring forest resources

Photo credit: FAO

New software will enable fast processing of satellite data in countries with poor Internet connections.

FAO and Norway to help developing countries monitor forest resources

Norway and FAO have signed a NOK 35m (around $4.5m) partnership agreement to improve the capacity of developing countries to monitor and report on their forest resources and changes in forest area. The project will facilitate countries’ access to earth observation data sources, including satellite imagery, and develop an easy-to-use platform for processing and interpreting this data.

“The new platform offers countries a set of efficient tools for monitoring changes in their forest area and carbon stocks, and for developing sustainable forest management regimes”, said Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General of FAO’s Forestry Department.

Efficient tools for everyone

Gaining access to satellite imagery can be difficult for users with poor internet connections, posing a serious challenge for natural resource managers in developing countries. Additionally, old, outdated computers process large-scale data very slowly. FAO’s new software aims to overcome these problems by avoiding the need to download images locally and by using a scalable, “cloud-based” supercomputer instead. All downloading and processing takes place elsewhere, in locations where connections are good and large amounts of computing power is available.

“One of the important components here is the creation of a user-friendly and efficient, cloud-based computing interface”, explains Tiina Vähänen, Deputy Director of FAO’s Forest Assessment, Management and Conservation Division. “The use of this interface will allow quick access to remote sensing data as well as to high-performance computing facilities, even in countries with limited access to internet.”

Read the full article: FAO

Climate-smart agriculture in Colombia

Photo credit: CCAFS

The recent renewal of the second phase of this agreement is a clear sign of the confidence of the Ministry and the Colombian guilds. Photo: N.Palmer

Colombia committed to climate-smart agriculture

Also available in Español

by Karina Feijóo, José Luis Urrea (CCAFS)

Government, private sector and producers’ associations acknowledge the importance of agricultural research in Colombia; and trust in research institutions to further improve the competitiveness of the agricultural sector.

Read the full article: CCAFS

Climate-smart practices in Kenya

Photo credit: CCAFS

Rachael Kisilu from KALRO explaining to farmers the importance of having drought resistant Sorghum varieties as they did evaluations on on-farm trials during the farmer field day. Photo: S.Kilungu (CCAFS)

How community-based organisations promote climate-smart practices in Kenyan drylands

by John Recha, Solomon Kilungu, Philip Kimeli (CCAFS East Africa)

Smart farming innovations and financial services are now more easily accessible to smallholders in eastern Kenya. Farmers in the area regularly meet in community-based organisations to share crucial information and knowledge.

Read the full article: CCAFS

Irreversible groundwater depletion

Photo credit: FAO

A Senegalese farmer transfers well water into a holding container.

Global agencies call for urgent action to avoid irreversible groundwater depletion

New vision and global framework for action on groundwater governance released


FAO, UNESCO, the World Bank, GEF and the International Association of Hydrogeologists have today called for action by the global community to manage the increasingly urgent depletion and degradation of limited groundwater resources.

Groundwater is indispensable to poverty reduction and shared prosperity. It accounts for more than a third of municipal and industrial supply and services some 40 percent of the planet’s irrigated agriculture. Groundwater has the potential to provide an improved source of drinking water for millions of urban and rural poor people. Many poor farmers and their families depend on it to irrigate their crops and sustain their livelihoods.

The 2030 Vision and Framework for Action provides an enabling framework and guiding principles for coordinated action among governments and organizations.

“Sustainable management of groundwater is key to maintaining ecosystems and adapting to climate change,” said Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). “We can no longer take this invisible but vital source for granted; urgent action is needed to ensure its long term availability. We look forward to joining hands with partner agencies and countries to ensure water for drinking, food, cities, energy and industrial uses is available for generations to come.”

In response to the urgency of the situation and a product of four years of consultations with stakeholders from more than 100 countries, these principles focus on legal and institutional frameworks, policies, and plans as well as information and incentive structures for sound and effective groundwater management.

This process signals strengthened collaboration across the international community to understand the barriers to better groundwater governance and address key regional challenges.

Read the full article: FAO

Combating desertification with spineless cacti

Photo credit: Renewable Energy World

Image: Cultivated Opuntia (prickly pear cactus)

The spineless variety, easy to grow, easy to feed

Success story and best practice, the Opuntias




Therefore, most of the WANA countries are seeking appropriate tools to prevent rangeland degradation and restore productivity. Some of the improved rangeland techniques include (i) reduction of stocking rates; (ii) controlled and deferred grazing; (iii) periodic resting; (iv) extended water supplies; (v) reseeding; and (vi) shrub planting.

Moreover, productivity can be improved by increasing feed supplies from alternative sources, including (i) legumes or other forage crops grown in place of fallow; (ii) fodder banks of naturally grown legumes fertilized with phosphate; (iii) treatment and suitable supplementation of straw; and (iv) other crop residues and agro-industrial by-products. In addition, a planned government strategy for drought relief should reduce the risk to small ruminant producers and increase production.

The search for appropriate plant species to grow in arid areas is a permanent concern of most people living in harsh environments. Cactus species fit most of the requirements of a drought-resistant fodder crop. According to De Kock (1980), they must:

  • * be relatively drought resistant, survive long droughts, and produce large quantities of fodder during the rainy season, which can be utilized during dry season;
  • * have a high carrying capacity;
  • * supply succulent fodder to animals during droughts;
  • * not have an adverse effect on the health of the animals utilizing it;
  • * tolerate severe utilization and have high recovery ability after severe utilization;
  • * have a low initial cost (establishment and maintenance); and
  • * tolerate a wide range of soil and climatic conditions, so that they can be planted where the production of ordinary fodder crops is uncertain.

The future of the arid and semi-arid zones of the world depends on the development of sustainable agricultural systems and on the cultivation of appropriate crops. Suitable crops for these areas must withstand drought, high temperature and poor soil fertility. The opuntias fit most of these requirements and they are important to the economy of arid zones, for both subsistence and market-oriented activities (Barbera, 1995).


The increased importance of cacti in arid zones is because of their ability to:

be more efficient than grasses or legumes in converting water to dry matter, based on their specialized photosynthetic mechanism (CAM) (Russell and Felker, 1987a; Nobel, 1989a)

remain succulent during drought;

produce forage, fruit, and other useful products; and

prevent long-term degradation of ecologically weak environments.

It is suggested that cacti, and Opuntia spp. in particular, were introduced into the WANA region by Spanish Moors. Nevertheless, large plantations were not established until the 1900s. These plantations were implemented to create living fodder banks to feed animals during drought and to combat desertification.


Read the full article: FAO