CCD-Coalition, UNCCD-CST and my blog

Many years ago, within the framework of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST) of the UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification), I have been discussing with my good friend Tanveer ARIF (SCOPE PAKISTAN) the creation of possibilities to bring all people interested in desertification closer together.

Our CST-meetings during the Conferences of the Parties (COP) of the
UNCCD did offer good opportunities to exchange views with our
fellow-delegates of the different Country Parties and the NGOs. But
this was only for “privileged” persons, having the chance to be a
participant at these meetings. Moreover, time to exchange views and
ideas was really short, the meeting program usually being well stuffed.

Therefore, SCOPE PAKISTAN took the initiative to create the
“CCD-COALITION”, linking numerous “desertification experts” in a very practical and excellent way. I was fortunate to become a member of CCD-Coalition from the earliest days off. It has become a real success and deserves our full appreciation.

Contact :

Interested in networking organisations and individuals with interest
in desertification, I have also set up my personal network, called
“TC-CCD network – PEOPLE FOR ACTION”, back in 2000. I have been sending all the information I was able to collect over e-mail to more than 1000 “members” of this network.

Four years later, and due to a heavy workload, I have been handing
over this network to the UNCCD-secretariat (CST). It was agreed that
this could only be done at a temporary base (six months). Now, this
valuable contribution of the CST-secretariat has come to an end. I
want to convey my sincere thanks to my friends of the CST-secretariat.

Contact :

Looking for new opportunities to launch the network again, I have been busy to set up a BLOG with personal contributions on different
desertification aspects and with information on desertification from
very different sources. Seemingly, a lot of people are interested in
my blog, having numerous visitors every day.

I am now evaluating the opportunities of incorporating my former
PEOPLE FOR ACTION network into my desertification blog.


Crop rotation (Jenny Litchfield)

Read at Jenny Litchfield’s blog (see my blogroll – right column)

My Garden ~ crop rotation

I like to rotate where I grow the vegetables in my garden. I have no hard and fast rules and tend to do what my father did. He grew potatoes to clear the ground and condition the soil in preparation for another crop. It’s a common sense approach to organic principles of avoiding the build up of disease problems in the soil. The Brassica seeds have sprouted in time to be planted for the winter months ahead. I’ll plant these where I grew the potatoes in rotted hay layered on newspaper. 

The hay that was mixed with weathered animal manure is now a crumbly structure and is full of worms.  The newspaper that I’d layed down before I planted the potatoes has broken down and is part of the organic matter.

As is my practice, I applied a dusting of dolomite lime in preparation for planting the broccoli, cabbages and cauliflower seedlings and  I’ve spread more newspaper around the edges of the new growing beds to suppress weed growth.”

Grain amaranth and food security (New Vision / African Agriculture)

 Read at :

African Agriculture

Monday, April 2, 2007

Grain amaranth improves food security in Uganda

“Deep in rural Kamuli District, Ahmad Kyagulani is all praises for grain amaranth, locally called “marantha” and relatively to the area. “Since we began consuming marantha in my home, we have reduced our visits to health centres,” says Kyagulani.

A 1999 report of the Economic Policy Research Centre in Kampala, indicates that half of the population in Kamuli does not have enough food throughout the year. Further, nutrition-related problems of stunting and wasting affect 30% of the population.

“A number of factors account for the nutrition benefits of grain amaranth,” says Dr. Dorothy Nakimbugwe, a Food Scientist at Makerere University. “It has a higher protein quality and quantity than most cereals and grains. In general, the amino acid composition of amaranth grain protein compares well with the FAO/WHO protein standard for good health.”

Continue reading “Grain amaranth and food security (New Vision / African Agriculture)”

Modernize traditional agriculture in Ghana (African Agriculture)

Read at :

African Agriculture

Modernize Ghanaian traditional agriculture : report

“Agriculture was the most important source of growth in the Ghanaian economy between 2000 and 2005, with an average of about 5.1%, while services and industry averaged 5.0% and 4.5% respectively. Agriculture remained a dominant sector up to 2005, contributing 42% to GDP, while services and industry contributed 31% and 27% respectively. From 1995 to 2005 the contribution of agriculture to the country’s GDP declined marginally from 42.7% to 41.9%, while the services sector’s contribution to GDP increased by 0.6%, and that of industry by 0.2 of a percentage point.

Problems in agriculture include the sector being predominantly rain-fed, with undeveloped irrigation systems. Average fertilizer use of about 34,000 tonnes/annum in the last decade, as well as agriculture being mostly smallholder activity, has prompted the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) to propose agriculture modernization in order to attain national goals. The NDPC noted that the average use of fertilizer in the agriculture sector was one of the lowest in Africa and probably the world.

Continue reading “Modernize traditional agriculture in Ghana (African Agriculture)”

Microfinance can reduce poverty (Google Blogs Alert / Serving Sri Lanka)

Read at :

Google Blogs Alert for: poverty

Serving Sri Lanka

Microfinance can reduce poverty

Sunday Times: 01/04/2007″

“W. A. Wijewardene, Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Sri Lanka, recently delivered the Valedictory Address at Third Training Programme on Microfinance Delivery System in Pune. The course was followed by officers of Sri Lanka’s Central Bank.

Excerpts of his presentation: Microfinance is a very potent instrument of poverty alleviation. It fills the gaps which normally arise in macro-type poverty reduction policies pursued by governments. The usual strategy adopted by governments to attack poverty has been the attainment of a high economic growth continuously over the long run. With that growth, it is expected that the benefits of economic uplifting would trickle down to lower levels of the society. As a result, the overall economic conditions of all segments of the population would elevate to a higher level. It will kill the absolute poverty levels.

Continue reading “Microfinance can reduce poverty (Google Blogs Alert / Serving Sri Lanka)”

Cherif RAHMANI (Algeria) : expanding deserts (Google News Alert / AFP)

Read at :

Google News Alert for: desertification

AFP – France 24

AFP News brief

Africa’s expanding deserts will drive out millions: minister

“Desertification will drive 65 million Africans to seek refuge in the West, an Algerian minister warned Monday at the opening of a conference on the problem.

Cherif Rahmani, minister for territorial planning, said that by 2025 the number of people living in deserts would have doubled to two billion people, including 750 million in Africa. He called for international cooperation to stop the increasing degradation of land.

It needed 400 million dollars over three or four years to transform a hectare (2.47 acres) of semi-arid land into ground that could be cultivated, he said. “Desertification loses the world economy 48 billion dollars a year, including nine billion in Africa,” said Abdesselam Chelghoum, the general secretary of the Algerian ministry for agriculture and rural development.

The conference on desertification, which was jointly organised by the Algerian parliament and the Pan-African parliament, runs until Wednesday. Participants include representatives from 20 African countries, European deputies and international specialists in the field.

Crises alimentaires (dgAlert)

 Lu au :

Le point sur les crises alimentaires

“En dépit des récoltes record ou abondantes enregistrées en 2006 dans plusieurs régions du monde, notamment dans la plupart des pays d’Afrique et d’Asie, les dernières estimations de la FAO indiquent que des crises alimentaires persistent dans 34 pays à travers le monde. Dans 18 de ces pays, la crise alimentaire résulte en tout ou en partie de troubles civils ou de conflits en cours ou récents; dans les autres pays, elle est due principalement à l’impact des mauvaises conditions météorologiques sur une ou plusieurs des campagnes agricoles les plus récentes.

Sécurité alimentaire au Sénégal (dgAlert)

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Programme de promotion de la sécurité alimentaire 2004-2007

“L’économie sénégalaise est essentiellement basée sur l’agriculture pluviale qui polarise 60% de la population active. Il y a une volonté affichée de diversification et une timide émergence des cultures industrielles (coton, tomate). Sur la base de l’indice de Développement Humain (I.D.H.), le rapport de la Banque Mondiale de 1997 situe le Sénégal au 160ème rang sur 175 pays classés. Ce faible niveau de l’IDH trouve son explication dans le cycle d’ajustement et de restructuration imposés par les Institutions financières internationales, notamment, la Banque mondiale et le FMI durant cette dernière décennie, à l’instar de beaucoup d’autres pays dans la même situation économique. Le secteur de la pêche tant maritime que continentale connaît un regain d’intérêt stimulé par l’exportation des produits halieutiques vers les marchés de l’Union européenne.

Food security in Africa by 2020 (dgAlert)

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Assuring Food and Nutrition Security in Africa by 2020

“Food and nutrition security remain Africa’s most fundamental challenges. The number of Africans who are undernourished has been on the rise for decades and now stands at about 200 million people. However, a new commitment to change is emerging both among African leaders and in the international community. Africa may at last be poised to make real progress on achieving food and nutrition security. To help determine how to bring about actions that will assure food and nutrition security, the 2020 Vision Initiative of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) facilitated an African-owned and African-driven conference in Kampala, Uganda, on April 1-3, 2004. The conference, “Assuring Food and Nutrition Security in Africa by 2020: Prioritizing Actions, Strengthening Actors, and Facilitating Partnerships,” brought together more than 500 traditional and new actors and stakeholders representing perspectives and experiences from more than 50 countries and all major sectors. Participants took stock of Africa’s food and nutrition security situation; identified priorities and strategies for implementing action in five key areas — raising agricultural productivity, fostering economic growth, building human capacity, improving nutrition and health, and strengthening governance — and explored ways in which actors from all levels can work together. The conference culminated with the development of a framework pointing the way toward a food- and nutrition-secure Africa. This comprehensive volume presents the richness of the presentations and deliberations as well as the auxiliary activities and related documents.

African agriculture and poverty reduction (dgAlert)

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Underappreciated Facts about African Agriculture: Implications for Poverty Reduction and Agricultural Growth Strategies

“Current thinking on “strategy”. Emerging coalition for “big push” agricultural strategy • e.g., Sachs, Sanchez,…maybe Gates? Strong consensus about need for greater investment in public goods (infrastructure, crop science) and certain policy reforms. Major debate with regard to what constitutes the right “enabling environment”. Food price support/stabilization. Input subsidies. Many of these debates can be informed by a solid empirical understanding of how rural economies work.

Agriculture, poverty reduction and food security in Rwanda (dgAlert)

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RWANDA: Agricultural Growth, Poverty Reduction, and Food Security Past Performance and Prospective Outcomes

“The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) aims to add value to the efforts of individual countries, where necessary, to ensure that its growth and poverty objectives are achieved. Doing so requires reviewing past, current, and emerging future efforts against these objectives. This includes: Examining the recent growth performance of the agricultural sector, as well as future growth and poverty outcomes based on observed trends. Determining how such outcomes compare with the targets established for the sector under the CAADP agenda and how they compare with the Millennium Development Goal to halve the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day (MDG1). Measuring the prospects of meeting these targets, and analysing the implications for future sector growth and poverty-reduction strategies. You can download the whole document qt


Food security in Sub-Saharan Africa (dgAlert)

Read at :

Executive Overview of Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa

March 28, 2007

“Highest Priority—Urgent Action Required are the following: 1. Chad: Civil insecurity continues to prevent the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs), and hundreds have sought refuge in Darfur. Humanitarian and food access are restricted. IDPs will likely require aid until October 2008. 2. Ethiopia: Despite very good meher-season production, cereal prices are at a 13-year high. The number of people requiring emergency assistance (currently 1.3 million) will increase if prices continue to rise. The 2007 humanitarian appeal includes US$ 129 million for non-food needs. 3. Somalia: Above-normal rainfall in the upper catchments of the Juba and Shabelle river valleys is expected in the upcoming gu season, and river embankment and flood protection activities in flood-prone areas are recommended before June. Riverine farmers will require seeds prior to the start of rains in April for gu planting. Recent civil insecurity has disrupted Mogadishu market activities.”

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