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A visit to Embu County, Kenya, two years ago has birthed a very promising project to address the challenges emanating from land degradation. While visiting Purity Gachanga, an agroforestry champion, Dr. Roberto Ridolfi, Director for Sustainable Growth and Development at the Directorate General for Development and Cooperation, was impressed by the transformation that trees could bring to African farmers. Keen to see these benefits spread across the continent, and enjoyed by many millions of farmers, Dr. Ridolfi initiated the project dubbed ‘Reversing Land Degradation in Africa by Scaling-up EverGreen Agriculture’.

EverGreen Agriculture, which is a form of agroforestry, is an affordable solution that integrates trees with food crops and livestock to create more sustainable and productive agricultural systems for smallholder farming families. While positively transforming the lives of farmers in more than twenty African countries, trees on farms restore exhausted soils with richer sources of organic nutrients. This translates to increased crop yields, more fodder for livestock, and greater firewood supplies for household consumption, and increased income.

More than 80 experienced development professionals and scientists convened at the project’s inception workshop held at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) from 26-30 September, to map out the best approaches to scale-up these practices to reverse land degradation in eight countries in the Sahel and East Africa. Dennis Garrity, Drylands Ambassador to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and Chair of the EverGreen Agriculture Partnership said in his opening remarks that “Scaling up EverGreen Agriculture to 500,000 farmers across Africa will not be easy. In fact, it will be hard. But, we relish the fact that we have the partnership and the resources and skills to do it. And we are building on the successful efforts that are already underway in all of these eight countries.”

Through working groups and learning exchange bazaars over the span of four days, participants discussed the development of appropriate interventions and scaling-up methodologies, based on the successful experiences and evidence shared by the various implementing partners, including World Vision, CRS, OxFam and CARE. These will guide the project during its five-year lifespan. “Implementation of Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration is important because without implementation we have no evidence, and without evidence, we have nothing to communicate. We therefore need to have a good mix of the these for us to spread the practices of EverGreen Agriculture,” noted Lawrence Kiguro, Associate Director, Livelihoods and Resiliency – World Vision, Kenya

 

A new study looks at five major impacts of climate change, the sectors and the people most vulnerable.

Almost 750 million people in South Asia were affected by floods, droughts, extreme rainfall, heat waves and sea-level rise — all impacts of climate change or worsened by it — in the first decade of this millennium, according to new research by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).

Agriculture was the sector most vulnerable to these impacts, authors of the report found. The Indo-Gangetic plain was at maximum risk. The causes and effects of these disasters have been studied sporadically in the past. Now the authors of this report have applied a consistent methodology to study them, including assessment of the population affected along with agricultural losses. The study has used spatial data and customised tools.

The authors — Giriraj Amarnath and Niranga Alahacoon of IWMI; Vladimir Smakhtin of the United Nations University, Institute for Water, Environment and Health in Ontario, Canada; and Pramod Aggarwal of the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security — carried out regional, country-wise and sub-national assessments of the five climate-related risks. They did this by overlaying climate hazard, sensitivity and adaptive capacity maps, following the vulnerability assessment framework of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). With this, they developed a combined index based on hazard, exposure and adaptive capacity to identify areas susceptible to extreme risk.

The study used data on the spatial distribution of various climate related hazards in 1,398 sub-national areas of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. An analysis of country-level population exposure showed that approximately 750 million people are affected by combined climate hazards.

Of the affected population, 72% is in India, followed by 12% each in Bangladesh and Pakistan. The remaining 4% are spread across Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Originally published on the India Climate Dialogue website.

Click here for the full story

Water scarcity is a critical constraint to Kenya’s socioeconomic development and its achievement of vision 2030.On 11 April 2017, the Government and partners from the development and business communities launched the Kenya chapter of the Billion Dollar Alliance for Rainwater Harvesting, a continent-wide, multi-actor alliance designed to scale up farm pond technology for agribusiness and livelihood resilience for dry land farming systems.Kenya’s rainwater potential is more than 350 billion cubic meters. If captured and managed, this water is enough to support a population of 233 million people.This partnership is led by World Forestry Center and World Food Program.The main goal of this partnership  is to increase farmers’ income and to improve food security. The partnership will provide technical, financial, policy and research support to the smallholder farmers.Impediments such as slow implementation and low technology adoption may hamper the realization of this process.However, the minister for water and irrigation reaffirmed the stakeholders of the government’s support in creating an enabling environment through proper policy implementation aimed at streamlining the government’s Water Sector and increase  access to clean water for all in adequate quantity and quality at an affordable price as envisaged in Vision 2030 and  the Constitution of Kenya.

Originally published onhttp://www.worldagroforestry.org/

 

 

 

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Dr. Dennis Garrity, Drylands Ambassador for the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Distinguished Senior Research Fellow, the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), and Chair of the EverGreen Agriculture Partnership, speaking on bringing together land restoration and peacebuilding for a sustainable future in conflict-prone drylands.

Click here to watch the video

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wwwWould you quit your current position at your place of work to venture out on your own? If so, would you consider yourself to have acquired all the skills and expertise necessary to be successful? According to Samuel, a champion farmer of the Trees for Food Security (T4FS) Project, it was about time he developed his own tree nursery. Having worked as a casual for the Elgon Trust Women Group under T4FS, Samuel used to pot seedlings, maintain the tree nursery as well as collect tree seeds. The returns were however not as good compared to the benefits enjoyed by his employers.

Samuel therefore resolved to quit his job and start his own nursery, banking on the knowledge and skills he acquired over the years. One main hurdle however, potting tubes, stood in his way as they are quite expensive. This however did not deter him from making the bold move. Instead, Samuel would set out on specific days, go around restaurants and bars in the area, to collect milk and beer sachets, which he would use as potting materials. With this innovation and the support of his wife, Samuel was off to a good start on his own.

Acquiring tree seeds was not a big challenge as Samuel had already spotted mature trees in the area. Through past experiences working for the group, Samuel was able to monitor seed maturity period and this would help him plan as to when and how he would collect the seeds. He would therefore move around the community, climb the trees and harvest the seeds.

In order to improve and increase the survival rates of his Eucalyptus seedlings, Samuel introduced a technique where he would place dry banana leaves over a nursery soil mixture and burn to provide  a covering for the nursery beds. This innovation greatly improves the germination and performance of his seedlings. The Trees for Food Security Project has also built my capacity in tree seed collection and maintaining nursery records.

Samuel's innovative and affordable way of potting trees. Photo May MuthuriIn a year, Samuel highlighted that he makes between UGX 500,000 (USD 152) and UGX 1 million (USD 303), depending on the season and orders he receives from projects and local organizations. Pests have however been a challenge as this affects the number of seedlings ready for sale.

Noting his efforts and interests, the Trees for Food Security Project came in to support Samuel by providing the polythene tubes. “I have four children whom I enrolled in a private school which is way more expensive than public schools and I haven’t lacked fees to support them. I also use the proceeds from to purchase household items and sustain my family’s needs. I owe my success to knowledge and skills got from the Elgon Trust Women Group and additional skills and support from the Trees for Food Security Project,” stated Samuel.