Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Sunday, May 25, 2014
Coffee farming in Africa is being overtaken by the need for real estate more and more people are uprooting their trees to build residential apartments.
With the growing demand for urban and semi urban living coffee farmers tired of meager earnings from bonuses are opting out of the trade.
In my view it is solely because farmers have left the whole coffee value chains to the hands of companies, and cooperatives who are supposed to collect the berries in bulk fetching better prices.
The outcome is that more people do not get the value of their investments and end up getting mere peanuts for bonuses at the end of the year.
Uganda however is taking a better approach to this challenge with the launch of an agribusiness incubator focused on the coffee value chain.
Not only will this help farmers learn how to add value to their berries they will also be equipped with entrepreneurship skills to better understand market demands.
The country provider popular Robusta beans, used in French and Italian roasts.
Friday, May 23, 2014
|Donkeys carry water containers in Kenya. ©The Brooke|
There is a saying in Swahili Asante ya punda ni mateke...(The thanks of a donkey are his kicks)
As such there has often been a perception that the donkey is a very ungrateful creature.
For this reason the donkey has been branded a beast of burden the world over suffering several acts of cruelty as they transport different farm and household goods.
A recommendation by the Food and Agriculture organization that donkey milk be used to counteract the global demand of cow milk and other dairy products is certain to make donkey owners more kind to their animals.
The UN food agency late last year recommended more usage of milk from a variety of animals including camels, llamas and donkeys due to the increasing high milk prices especially in the world.
Apart from goat, sheep and buffalos that are currently being kept in different parts of the world for provision of milk Fao recommends that the Alpaca, Moose, Reindeer and Yaks can also be milked.
Rapid urbanization in Africa and the growing middle class means that more people are having an increase in their disposable income and as a result can a afford a change of lifestyle eating more diary and meat products.
Fao predicts that by 2025 diary consumption in developing countries will grow by 25 per cent because of population growth and rising incomes and cow milk which most people are currently dependent on will not be sufficient to supple the most vulnerable households.
Consumption of camel milk has been growing Ethiopia, Mali and Somalia and the trend is quickly picking up in Kenya.
With their milk being fronted as more nutritious and healthy. Though it is not for the fainthearted, you will have a thoroughly cleansed stomach before your intestines get used to the milk.
|Making a quick buck: A woman selling donkey milk to slum dwellers in Vijayawada. — PHOTO: V.RAJU|
Its popularity has vastly spread that it is not common for one to order camel milk tea of the menu in a restaurant in Nairobi. Am guessing though in the next five years we will be doing the same for donkeys?
Monday, May 19, 2014
Fish is a delicacy the world over but according to a new report by FAO, harmful practices and poor management are a threat to the fisheries and aquaculture sector.
Over the years production from the sector has been increasing gradually with the total production in 2012 estimated at 158 million tones.
In Kenya fish farming has gained popularity at the grass root level. During the tenure of President Mwai Kibaki, fish farming was promoted within the constituencies under the economic stimulus program as a way of providing locals with not only an alternative source of food but also a different source of income.
With the introduction of counties under the new constitution that was adopted by the country in 2010, Governors and other county leadership have fronted fish farming in areas where the meal was not an indigenous delicacy.
Recently a member of parliament from central Kenya offered public training on how to breed and cook fish and some of the constituents ended up fighting for the pieces that had been pan-fried.
This attests to the State of the World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2014 report which show that most of the growth in the sector is driven by small scale farming.
Fish now accounts for almost 17 percent of the global population’s intake of protein -- in some coastal and island countries it can top 70 percent.
The sector also supports the livelihoods of 10–12 percent of the world’s population meaning if our water systems are managed well there is even a greater potential of job creation.
The report also notes that illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing remains a major threat to marine ecosystems and also impacts negatively on livelihoods, local economies and food supplies.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish you feed him for life
Sunday, May 11, 2014
The whole world is racing against time trying to find ways of boosting food production for the global population expected to double by 2050.
|Rural woman farmer Mali works her land. Kaidia Samaké’s village has formed a women’s association that helps women who are working in agriculture in the region with jobs and small loans. Image: F. Fiondella/IRI|
Questions as to whether genetically modified foods can assist in reducing the hefty burden have been raised attracting support and critics in equal measure.
But there is a new school of thought in town. If a majority of the farming carried out in the continent is done on small scale farming and undertaken mostly by the women in these households, why not empower them with all the agricultural information available.
One of the continent’s greatest scholars, Prof. Calestous Juma is advocating for higher technical training for African women farmers arguing that it is the only way that the continent can make agriculture an engine for the region’s development.
This he says will not only build Africa’s capacity to feed itself but also become an important player in global food trade.
A good case study that he gives is the African Rural University (ARU) for women inaugurated in Kibaale district of western Uganda in 2011. The sole purpose is to train women focusing on rural development and entrepreneurship.
And I agree with him.
|African Rural University (ARU)'s Administration block|
Many of these women are uneducated and still rely on the traditional ways of farming that their grandparents used yet the weather and agricultural systems have not stayed constant.
If we give these women the much needed knowledge in using better seed Varieties and animal breeds then we are on step closer to reducing the agricultural p0roductivity of our land.
Monday, May 5, 2014
Livestock is considered one of the main contributors to the GDP of African countries and as such their health and productivity are of great importance.
Livestock farmers are constantly looking for higher quality breeds whose increased productivity equals greater financial returns.
While crop farmers are more open to higher yielding varieties introduced by research institutions, animal keepers are less accommodative to such ‘lab breeds’.
More often than not farmers tend to borrow from one another the fattened bull or ram for a week in order to service their females
It is no wonder that the community based breeding programs introduced in some rural communities in Ethiopia have begun yielding tremendous results.
|Picture courtesy Charlie Pye-Smith/ILRI|
The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), and partners from the National Agricultural Research System are implementing breeding programs in Bonga, Horro and Menz with three different sheep breeds.
The project is aimed at improving the productivity of the sheep and increasing the incomes for the 360 households.
Initially the superior variety of rams were identified from among the farmers and which could be exchanged in order to breed more value animals.
The animals identified by local community members are then exchanged by farmers within a cooperative based on an agreed upon model.
The committee checks at the conformation, color, horn type, tail type and other criteria in decision making.
If a farmer with a prized ram wishes the cooperative is at liberty to purchase it in order to continue sharing the valued traits.