Month: September 2013

Why youth voices must feature prominently in Africa Agriculture Science Week

The FARA Social Reporters Blog

A lot has been said about youth in Africa and there are still ongoing debates stressing the importance of involving young people in major development efforts, including agriculture. Last week, picking up on a Twitter conversation from one of the youth activists online, I concluded that, indeed, many development organizations use the term “youth” as an attempt to portray themselves as ‘working for young people.’

The term “youth” has become little more than a buzz word. At the moment, there is a need for all organizations not to just talk the talk but walk the walk.

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Food loss and waste: a threat to sustainability

The FARA Social Reporters Blog

food waste tomato

“Almost 1.2 billion people are going hungry in the world; a third of those are in Africa and sadly a lot of those are actually farmers themselves.” Those were the portentous words of Sean de Cleene, a senior vice president of Yara International (a leading fertilizer company based in Norway with businesses in Africa) and member of the World Economic Forum’s ‘New Vision for Agriculture’ – in an interview granted to Spore (an agricultural magazine for ACP countries).

Though other estimates differ, some putting the number at a more conservative range of 870 – 900 million people, still the general consensus is that a substantial part of the global population is suffering from hunger and a disproportionate part of this is in the developing world – to which Africa belongs. Ironically, an estimated 1.5 billion people are either overweight, obese or suffer from over-nutrition globally.

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Mobile network operators have much to gain from agriculture

The FARA Social Reporters Blog

Visit Ghana and ask for the phone number of any ordinary person on the street, and most likely you’ll be given the option of two or three different mobile network operators (MNOs) to choose from. Ghana has 19 million cell phone subscribers for its over 24 million inhabitants — an impressive proportion — most of whom subscribe to more than one operator.

Ghana is one of Africa’s most vibrant and innovative communications markets. It launched the first cellular mobile network in sub-Saharan Africa in 1992, and was one of the first countries on the continent to be connected to the Internet and introduce ADSL services. A market leader in terms of liberalization and deregulation, Ghana Telecom in 1996.

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Integrating gender in livestock projects and programs

ILRI policies, instititions and livelihoods program

Evidence from several African countries suggests that female farmers are as efficient as male farmers, but are less productive because they are denied equal access to productive inputs and human capital. If their access to these inputs were at par with men’s access, total agricultural output in these countries could increase by up to 30% and increase agricultural output by up to 4%.

Integrating gender in programs, policies and projects thus aims to reduce gender disparities and enhance women’s participation in the economic development and their empowerment.

In 2012, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) adopted a gender strategy to guide the integration of gender in its work. The purpose of this manual is to provide operational guidance to ILRI staff and partners on how to integrate gender into the project cycle in accordance with the gender strategy.

The need for this manual arises both from the evidence that gender…

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Gates Foundation awards grant to improve dairy cattle breeds and reduce poverty in East Africa

ILRI Clippings

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) visit to project sites, June 2011

Staff of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) visited a field site of the Dairy Genetics East Africa (DGEA) project in June 2011 (photo credit: BMGF/Lee Klejtnot).

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded a USD1.3-million grant to researchers at the School of Environmental and Rural Science at the University of New England (UNE),  in Australia, headed by John Gibson, who co-ordinates the International Development Activities at the University’s School of Environmental and Rural Sciences. Gibson, who formerly led genetics work at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), in Nairobi, Kenya, and his colleagues will work in close collaboration with teams led by ILRI livestock geneticist Okeyo Mwai, and Ed Rege, another former livestock geneticist from ILRI who is now at PICO-Eastern Africa, a non-profit consultancy organization in Nairobi.

This project could have profound impacts on small-hold farming in East Africa and change the livelihoods of literally millions of family farms.’—John Gibson…

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Multiplying local value chain facilitation capacities in Uganda

CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish

The project on ‘assessing the impact of African Swine Fever in smallholder pig systems and the feasibility of potential interventions‘ recently began field work in Gulu district (Uganda). To characterize the smallholder pig systems and animal health constraints, project staff used some components of the value chain assessment toolkit developed by the Smallholder Pig Value Chains Development in Uganda (SPVCD) project. PhD student Erika Chenais worked closely with Emily Ouma, Michel Dione and Danilo Pezo to adapt the tools.

Initially the intention was to request facilitators trained by the SPVCD project to apply the tools in Gulu, however none of them is proficient in the local language (Luo). Instead, value chain facilitators of the SPVCD project (Peter Lule Mulindwa and Peter Ssentumbwe) trained new facilitators in Gulu.

The training was held in early September and was attended by eight people – including Tony Aliro (District Veterinary Officer) and…

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