Grow food on an A-riser or a H-riser to alleviate malnutrition

Photo credit: 

* Wooden Riser A-form – Photo Jojo ROM – 283225_4230820167045_1991451138_n.jpg

One of the best practices: The A-riser or the H-riser

By Willem Van Cotthem (University of Ghent, Belgium)

My good friend Jojo ROM (Davao City, The Philippines) is one of the famous experts on container gardening.  He was one of the first to construct in his own backyard an A-riser on which he grew (and still grows) vegetables and herbs in different types of containers.

It has been clearly shown that this is one of the best practices to grow vegetables and herbs in the smallest space.  As container gardening has many advantages over traditional gardening (mostly in bad soils !), this successful method deserves to be promoted at the global level, in particular in an environment with poor soils, e.g. in the drylands.

One of the applications to be strongly recommend is: construction of risers for the refugee camps, where people never have sufficient space or the necessary means to install a kitchen garden for their family.  Imagine the refugees’ joy being enabled to grow fresh food close to their tents: interesting time spending, being busy for a nice part of the day, and producing their own fresh food, herbs and mint for their tea.

Impossible you say ?  Have a look at the pictures below and convince yourself that minimal investment in risers loaded with containers will automatically yield a maximal food production.

You want to forget about the refugee camps ?  OK !  But please remain convinced that risers can be installed in small backyards and even on a flat roof, all over the world, also in your own neighbourhood.

Now then, enjoy the pictures !

* Wooden Riser - A-form - Photo Jojo ROM - 942231_10200263483608038_661084805_n
* Wooden Riser – A-form with bottles – Photo Jojo ROM – 942231_10200263483608038_661084805_n

* Riser - Bottles, Tetrapots - Photo Jojo ROM - 299197_2027431123696_1181604134_31907234_795222_n
* Riser – with bottles and tetrapots – Photo Jojo ROM – 299197_2027431123696_1181604134_31907234_795222_n

* Bamboo Riser with clay pots - Photo Victor S. Cabag (Philippines)  - 10422170_10201509648703265_4177847876384089747_n
* Bamboo Riser with clay pots – Photo Victor S. Cabag (Philippines) – 10422170_10201509648703265_4177847876384089747_n

* Riser with jugs - Photo Berlin ramos Sadler - 528880_3501510093823_1437046645_n
* Riser with jugs – Photo Berlin Ramos Sadler – 528880_3501510093823_1437046645_n

* Riser -with bottles, canisters and tetrapots - Photo Almar B. Autida430068_2870346474042_1121267916_32155811_1625702319_n
* Riser with bottles, canisters and tetrapots – Photo Almar B. Autida – 430068_2870346474042_1121267916_32155811_1625702319_n

* Riser - bottles and jugs - Photo Berlin Ramos Sadler - 549094_3575738549488_607260712_n
* Riser with bottles and jugs – Photo Berlin Ramos Sadler – 549094_3575738549488_607260712_n

* Riser with different containers - Photo Fe Mondejar - 66729_373215606134201_1286771557_n
* A simple riser with different containers – Photo Fe Mondejar – 66729_373215606134201_1286771557_n

*  An impressive riser for massive food production - Photo Almar B. Autida - 10255663_10201730750126773_1525730629288922985_n
* An impressive riser for massive food production – Photo Almar B. Autida – 10255663_10201730750126773_1525730629288922985_n

* Riser A-form with canisters and tetrapots - Photo Almar B. Autida - 578325_3062890287517_1121267916_32233687_1268465493_n
* Riser with canisters and tetrapots – Photo Almar B. Autida – 578325_3062890287517_1121267916_32233687_1268465493_n

* Riser with jugs - Photo Ako Si Arvin - 9999_363495210436408_1949884367_n
* Riser with jugs – Photo Ako Si Arvin – 9999_363495210436408_1949884367_n

* Riser - different containers with flowers - Photo Berlin Ramos Sadler - 538869_3628175340375_1965966353_n
* Riser – different containers with flowers – Photo Berlin Ramos Sadler – 538869_3628175340375_1965966353_n

* Riser - H-form -Photo Big Bug Creek Farm Store and Garden Center - 971804_565714960118122_175305211_n
* Riser – H-form – Photo Big Bug Creek Farm Store and Garden Center – 971804_565714960118122_175305211_n

* Philippinos constructing a metal riser - A-form - 12003284_1255229017836495_6671859800920701771_n
* Constructing a metal riser – A-form – in The Philippines -12003284_1255229017836495_6671859800920701771_n

 * Constructing a metal riser - A-form - in The Philippines -11218075_1255229134503150_2797106863206369602_n
* Constructing a metal riser – A-form – in The Philippines -11218075_1255229134503150_2797106863206369602_n

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Still not convinced about the great value of this method to alleviate malnutrition and hunger ?  Please, send us your better idea.

Urgent action is needed to stop drought in West Africa’s Sahel (Google / Global Post)

Read at : Google Alert – images of the Africa Drought

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/120309/13-million-people-face-humanitarian-catastrophe-west-africa

13 million people face humanitarian ‘catastrophe’ in West Africa

Urgent action is needed to stop drought in West Africa’s Sahel region from turning into a humanitarian disaster, the charity Oxfam said Friday, as it launched a $36.6 million emergency appeal for the region.

Drought in West Africa’s Sahel region will turn into a humanitarian disaster affecting 13 million people unless urgent action is taken, the charity Oxfam said Friday, as it launched a $36.6 million emergency appeal to reach more than a million of the most vulnerable.

The NGO warns that levels of malnutrition across Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and northern Senegal are hovering between 10 percent and 15 percent, with rates in some areas exceeding 15 percent, the emergency threshold under the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, The Guardian reports.

More than one million children in the Sahel are at risk of severe malnutrition, the charity says, while in parts of Chad villagers are digging up ant hills to collect the grain the ants have stored, according to the BBC.

The governments of Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Niger have all declared emergencies and asked for international assistance. Oxfam says a mix of drought, high food prices and conflict are to blame for the crisis.

(continued)

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More from GlobalPost: 1 million children in Sahel could starve, says UNICEF

The Sahel region is once again likely to face a serious food crisis (Google / Huffington Post)

Read at : Google Alert – images of the Africa Drought

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/louis-belanger/sahel-in-10-pictures-the_b_1250391.html?ref=world

Sahel in 10 Pictures: The Food Crisis in West Africa

Spokesperson, Oxfam; Based in NYC

This year, the Sahel region of West Africa is once again likely to face a serious food crisis that could, if early and effective action is not taken, prove as costly to lives and livelihoods as the past food crises in 2005, 2008 and 2010. Every year, these crises affected more than 10 million people.

Oxfam is hoping to reach 700,000 people across Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger with humanitarian aid.

Early recognition of the coming crisis also provides an opportunity to avoid the mistakes of the past, enabling action months earlier than in previous crises. Oxfam believes that by investing now in earlier and more cost-effective actions, vulnerable populations can be protected from the worst impacts of the coming crisis at a much lower cost than if we waited.

(continued)

Aid to agriculture in West Africa: short-term, badly coordinated projects that cost millions (African Agriculture / AFP / OXFAM))

Read at :

http://www.africanagricultureblog.com/2011/09/aid-methods-work-against-agriculture-in.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+africanagricultureblog%2FNaEx+%28African+Agriculture%29

Aid methods work against agriculture in West Africa

International charity Oxfam said September 9 that donors have failed to reform the way they give aid to agriculture in West Africa, criticising short-term, badly coordinated projects that cost millions.

Releasing a report in Dakar, Oxfam’s regional agricultural campaign director Samira Daoud said despite commitments by big donors to reform the way they give aid, projects contiue to be carried out in an ineffective fashion.

After the food crisis of 2008 international donors realised they had to focus on agriculture and food security, and pledged $22 billion over three years during the G8-summit in Aquila, Italy in 2009.

However the Oxfam report ‘Aid Coordination and Alignment: Myth or Reality’ released in Dakar, said only 22 percent of this had been disbursed by July 2011, and promises to reform the way aid is given, to make it more effective, have not materialised.

(continued)

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Solutions that bring about long term change (Google / Vienna Times)

Read at : Google Alert – images of the Africa Drought

http://viennatimes.at/news/Panorama/2011-08-02/27322/Red_Cross_Thinking_Long_Term_in_East_Africa

Red Cross Thinking Long Term in East Africa

President of the Austria for Africa Association John Morris looks at the crisis in Africa and asks what can be done in this special report.

……….

Last week in London, Marieme Jamme of the Africa Gathering organization led a leading group of specialists to discuss the crisis. Africa Gathering supports short and long term actions in Africa and wants to see solutions that bring about long term change.

Austria’s Red Cross believes there are solutions and is acting. I contacted Dr Wolfgang Kopetzky, General Secretary of the Austrian Red Cross and he explained that Austrian Red Cross has been highly active in East Africa for many years. Responsible for Austrian Red Cross work in East Africa is Walter Hajek. Walter Hajek pictured a Red Cross that acts as a serious player trying to bring about long term solutions in the region. Austrians support water sanitation projects and assist relief in the short term but the Austrian Red Cross with its partners in Ethiopia and Kenya are focusing on sustainable projects to help prevent future famines and disasters.

OXFAM International is likewise targeting short term and long term actions in a bold move to bring about sustainable development. OXFAM is facilitating immediate relief and also focusing on longer term preventative projects.

But why hasn’t this prevented the current crisis? Why despite this knowledge and aims to assist with long term preventative measures are we now experiencing the worst famine in living memory?
Journalist colleague Andrew Harding and I believe there are 10 drivers for the current disaster affecting Somalia and the rest of the Horn of Africa:

(continued)

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Once upon a time UNICEF launched a project in the refugee camps in S.W. Algeria (Willem Van Cotthem)

With great attention I have read the former posting on this blog :

SURVIVAL OF MILLIONS OF CHILDREN IN HORN OF AFRICA AT RISK, WARNS UNICEF (UN News July 8, 2011).

This UN-message informed us that :

……………

The refugee situation is growing with some 10,000 arriving every week in Dadaab on the border between Somalia and Kenya. Dadaab is the world’s largest refugee camp.

“The threat of disease on already weakened young children is of particular concern and UNICEF is urgently setting up child immunization campaigns. UNICEF, government agencies, NGOs [non-governmental organizations] and other UN agencies will be working in the vital areas of water, food and sanitation in the coming days to ward off a massive emergency,” said the agency.

“However funding shortfalls, and in some areas the denial of access, threaten to disrupt these essential services. UNICEF is asking for $31.9 million for the coming three months to provide life-saving support to the millions of affected children and women.”

————

2007 : A nice family garden in one of the refugee camps in the Algerian Sahara desert (Photo WVC)

In 2005, UNICEF ALGERIA launched the project : “Family gardens in the refugee camps of the Saharawis in S.W. Algeria”, for which I had the honour to be chosen as the scientific consultant.

2007 : Evaluation mission of a Unicef delegation to the family gardens project (Photo WVC)

Between 2005 and 2007, some 1500 small family gardens were successfully installed in these refugee camps in the Sahara desert (see  photos).  The RASD government was extremely happy with the results obtained in only a few months by this UNICEF-project and strongly requested UNICEF ALGERIA to continue its efforts to enhance gradually the number of kitchen gardens, through which the refugee families are enabled to produce their own fresh food (carrots, onions, tomatoes, red beetroots, zucchinis, garlic, beans, peas, herbs, turnips, radishes, lettuce …).

2007 : Massive production of fresh food in one of the family gardens of the UNICEF project (Photo WVC)

Plans were developed to create a large seed production center to provide the necessary seeds to all the families, and to revalidate a large date palm plantation to distribute date saplings to the refugees.

To the greatest surprise of all people involved, this remarkable project (fresh food production in the desert !) was suddenly stopped by UNICEF at the end of 2007.

2007 = Red beetroots, carrots, garlic, zucchinis growing in the desert and irrigated with a minimum of brackish water (Photo WVC)

Up to now, even their own scientific consultant was never informed about the reasons why.  Even if UNICEF had possibly its good reasons not to continue that beautiful and very efficient project, a more decent attitude for correctly informing the people involved in the project could be expected.  It left those people with bitter memories.

It goes without saying that the Saharawis refugees, without the help of UNICEF, continued to create new family gardens with the support of some friends and NGOs.

2007 : A television team, attracted by the UNICEF successes, visited the extraordinary gardens (Photo WVC)

In the light of this situation, please read the last paragraphs of the UN News-message mentioned above :

“WFP, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the British-based Oxfam agency today issued a <“http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/81662/icode/”&gt; joint appeal for a more resilient and longer-lasting response to the drought and other “slow-onset” humanitarian crises.

The three agencies asked the international community to commit to longer-term, longer-lasting solutions, such as sustainable food assistance, support for small farmers, and support for policies and investments that address core challenges such as climate change adaptation, preparedness and disaster risk reduction and management, rural livelihoods, productive infrastructure, production and marketing, institutions and governance, conflict resolution, pastoralist issues and access to essential health and education. “

—————-

If I may suggest a longer-term, longer-lasting solution for the malnutrition problem of children, wherever they live, even in the desert, then evaluate the successes of UNICEF’s project in the Algerian refugee camps and opt for the creation of family gardens or community gardens.

And remember : DROUGHT IS NOT AN OBSTACLE,  FOR WHAT IS POSSIBLE IN THE SAHARA IS ALSO POSSIBLE IN ALL OTHER ARID REGIONS.

Increased competition between food, fuel and feed (OurWorld 2.0)

Read at :

http://ourworld.unu.edu/en/oxfam-calls-for-radical-rethink-of-world-food-system/

Oxfam calls for radical rethink of world food system

by Kyle James

International aid group Oxfam has released a report on hunger around the world that paints a bleak picture of the global food supply and calls for a restructuring of a “broken” food system, which has resulted in almost one billion people going hungry.

On June 1, Oxfam launched its global GROW campaign, which aims to lobby world leaders to change policies around food subsidies, promote sustainable agricultural methods and strengthen regulations on speculation in the international food market. The campaign also aims to make consumers in rich countries aware of the consequences of their habits on the world’s poor and the environment.

Time for reflection Continue reading “Increased competition between food, fuel and feed (OurWorld 2.0)”

European countries must abandon subsidies and higher production targets for biofuels (OXFAM / African Agriculture)

Read at :

http://www.africanagricultureblog.com/2011/06/europe-urged-to-abandon-farm.html

Europe urged to abandon farm subsidies, lower biofuels targets to reduce world hunger

by Timothy Spence

With spiralling food prices threatening to leave millions more people hungry every year, European countries must abandon subsidies and higher production targets for biofuels, the anti-poverty group Oxfam warns.

Announcing a new campaign to ease global hunger, Oxfam is also urging the European Union to more closely regulate commodities trading and boost support for small-scale farming in developing countries.

Phil Bloomer, campaign director for Oxfam in Britain, says promoting fuel production at the expense of food output is an “obscene scandal” that has contributed to the spiralling cost of maize and other commodities. Food costs have risen steadily in recent months after hitting a 30-year peak in 2008.

(continued)

European countries must abandon subsidies and higher production targets for biofuels (IPS)

Read at :

http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=55854

‘Europe Worsening Hunger Worldwide’

By Timothy Spence

BRUSSELS, May 31, 2011 (IPS) – With spiralling food prices threatening to leave millions more people hungry every year, European countries must abandon subsidies and higher production targets for biofuels, the anti-poverty group Oxfam warns.

Announcing a new campaign to ease global hunger, Oxfam is also urging the European Union to more closely regulate commodities trading and boost support for small-scale farming in developing countries.

Phil Bloomer, campaign director for Oxfam in Britain, says promoting fuel production at the expense of food output is an “obscene scandal” that has contributed to the spiralling cost of maize and other commodities. Food costs have risen steadily in recent months after hitting a 30-year peak in 2008. Continue reading “European countries must abandon subsidies and higher production targets for biofuels (IPS)”

“With a coherent and coordinated global response, halving hunger is still possible” (Food Politics / Oxfam)

Read at :

http://www.foodpolitics.com/

This is good news? U.N. says 925 million people are chronically hungry

by Marion Nestle

The Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program released their most recent figures on world hunger yesterday.

The good news: the number is 98 million fewer than in 2009, and below one billion.

The bad news: it is 925 million, a level the U.N. considers “unacceptable.”

In conjunction with the U.N. report, Oxfam America has released one of its own: “Halving Hunger: Still Possible.” Continue reading ““With a coherent and coordinated global response, halving hunger is still possible” (Food Politics / Oxfam)”

Ghana: 10m People Go Hungry (NGO News Africa / Oxfam)

Read at : NGO NEWS AFRICA

Ghana: 10m People Go Hungry
Posted: 05 Jul 2010 07:14 PM PDT

Ghana: 10m People Go Hungry

Oxfam, an international aid agency, last week reported that some 10 million people in West Africa, including Ghana, have fallen victim to food shortage. This has been buttressed by food research groups in Ghana which recently predicted that there was going to be a food crisis in the country. According to the researchers, farmers in the food basket areas of northern Ghana, the Eastern and Volta regions have missed the March-April planting season because the rains failed to come down.

The over 10 million people affected by this phenomenon across West Africa are facing severe hunger and malnutrition because of drought, poor harvests and rising food prices, Oxfam says. It is for this reason that Oxfam has recently launched a £7 million emergency appeal to help more than 800,000 vulnerable people.
Continue reading “Ghana: 10m People Go Hungry (NGO News Africa / Oxfam)”

‘Food aid is not the best way to help starving millions’ (News.Scotsman)

Read at : NEWS.SCOTSMAN

http://news.scotsman.com/latestnews/39Food-aid-is-not-the.5760138.jp

‘Food aid is not the best way to help starving millions’

By Mike Pflanz
in Nairobi

CONSTANT food handouts from the West are failing to help starving Africans cope with ever-more frequent droughts, Ethiopia’s most famous famine survivor said yesterday.

Birhan Woldu’s stark rebuke came 25 years to the day since Michael Buerk’s first television broadcasts showing the effects of a famine which went on to claim almost a million lives.

At the time, Miss Birhan was only three years old. Images of her starved body seemingly just hours from death helped jolt the world into one of its greatest ever acts of charity, which saved her life and millions more. But yesterday she and others who survived the 1984 famine called for urgent changes to the way international aid money is spent.

Twenty-five years ago, my life was saved by Irish nursing sisters who gave me an injection, and food from organisations like Band Aid,” she wrote in a new report from Oxfam charting better ways to use donations.

So it may seem strange for me to say now that to get food aid from overseas is not the best way. As well as being demeaning to our dignity, my education has taught me that constantly shipping food … is costly, uneconomic, and can encourage dependency.

Mr Buerk’s reports, and others broadcast in Canada and the US, helped launch both the 1984 Band Aid single Do They Know It’s Christmas and the Live Aid concert in 1985. More than £150 million was raised in what was the largest international aid appeal until the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. But that model is now out-dated and fails adequately to fund simple schemes which could stop millions ever reaching the situation where they need hand-outs, Oxfam said.

In its Band Aids and Beyond report yesterday, the agency said, “No longer should we be chasing each drought with food; we should be acting before the next drought comes“.

Instead, donors should support programmes including weather early warning systems, improved roads, food and medicine stockpiles – cheaper than responding under the stress of urgent appeals – and irrigation schemes.

Yet this year, more than 35 percent of Britain’s £154m aid to Ethiopia is to be spent on emergency assistance for the six million people facing starvation due to the current drought. A further 17 million people across Africa’s east and north-east are in need of food.

Ethiopia’s own government yesterday appealed to Western donors for an extra £75m, despite being praised in recent years for efforts to prepare its citizens to cope with crises exacerbated by the changing climate.

Sending such food aid “does save lives”, Oxfam said. But it is a “knee-jerk reaction” and “the dominance of this approach fails to offer long-term solutions which would break these cyclical and chronic crises“.

Donors need to shift their approach, and help to give communities the tools to tackle disasters before they strike,” said Penny Lawrence, Oxfam’s international director.

Drought does not need to mean hunger and destitution. If communities have irrigation for crops, grain stores, and wells to harvest rains then they can survive despite what the elements throw at them.”

Many people living in Makele, a town in northern Ethiopia close to the famine’s epicentre featured in Mr Buerk’s reports, are still haunted by the tragedy of a quarter-century ago.

Here we are not so badly hit by the current drought,” said Bisrat Mesfen, 30, who remembers as a five-year-old queuing for food handouts after his family’s livestock all died. “But we can be finished by the next one. Giving people food only when droughts come is too expensive and is the wrong way to spend that money.”

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