Monthly Archives: February 2015

Farmers at centre of environment conservation

Burundi may be the smallest among the five countries in the East African Community (EAC), but stands out as the giant in environmental conservation and management.
Farmers have been mobilised and taught about soil erosion control measures. Particularly, growing trees on hills and slopes. Large tracts of land in this largely hilly country have been cultivated. There are thousands of hectares of eucalyptus trees, bananas, coffee, maize and cassava.

Environmental experts from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda were impressed by Burundi’s success story. During a five-day visit under the auspices of the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project (LVEMP-II), the officials noted the environment conservation efforts, via mobilisation of communities, designing programmes and effectively implementing them.
Agnes Tobterik, a director in Kenya’s State Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said she was impressed by the greening of the mountain and hill tops with eucalyptus trees, grass-banding, construction of ridges/contours and terracing to control soil erosion.
“We have learnt a lot of lessons here, especially how the government and the people are addressing environmental challenges…… partly through good agricultural practices.” Tobterik said at a press briefing in Gitega, central Burundi. She added that the regional exchange visit was an opportunity to learn about Burundi’s implementation of environment and agricultural policies.

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How the budget can boost agriculture

Indian agriculture witnessed high growth since mid-1960s due to introduction of dwarf high-yielding varieties of wheat and paddy complimented by higher use of fertilisers and other inputs, favourable policy regime in agriculture prices and marketing and quick adoption of such technologies by the farmers. However, growth slowed down for about a decade after mid-1990s but picked up after that. 

India registered the highest annual agricultural growth of 3.75 per cent during 2004 to 2012. The growth rate was 1.4 per cent in 2012-13 and 4.6 per cent in 2013-14. The average production of foodgrains increased from 198.4 million tonnes in 2004-05 to 264.4 million tonnes in 2013-14 at the rate of 2.91per cent per annum. Soybean, gram and maize production grew at the rate of 6.57 per cent, 6.14 per cent and 5.5per cent per annum during this period. 

Agricultural growth was made possible by development and adoption of new technologies, higher public investments in agriculture and other policies. Agriculture NSDP of some states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh grew by more than 5per cent per annum. The rate of growth was 1.49 per cent in Punjab, 1.95 per cent in Uttarakhand, 2.33 per cent in Uttar Pradesh and 0.1per cent in Himachal Pradesh

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Afforestation project to cover 14 Hazara divisions

By implementing Green Growth Initiative in the forestry sector, “Billion Trees Tsunami Afforestation Project” has been kicked off by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in entire province, including 14 Forest divisions of Northern Forest Region of Hazara Division.

According to the project document, out of Rs.14334.72 million programme outlay for a period of four years, Rs.886.364 million has been allocated for Phase-1.Rs.486 million has been allocated in current Annual Development Plan 2014-15 and the rest of funds will be arranged through re-appropriations.

The project aims at rehabilitating depleted forests, raise nurseries for 665 million seedlings, capacity building of 1900 communities, establishment of 83 central model nurseries, planting of 3.4 million seedlings under farm forestry and agro-forestry, improvement of sites of rangelands and pastures, rehabilitation of three degraded watersheds and planting of multi-purpose fast growing trees species on 6000 ha communal and private lands.

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Creating impacts in forestry research and development projects in Nepal

ACIAR’s forestry project FST/2011/076, which is undertaking research on enhancing agroforestry and community forestry systems in Nepal, has been conducting its activities for the past 19 months and already we are beginning to see some short term impacts. Many farmers in the project sites have indicated that they need access to better germplasm if they are to improve their agroforestry systems as the preferred tree species are not readily available.

Edwin Cedamon, a project scientist from the University of Adelaide, has been working with his Nepali colleagues to train farmers in how to establish their own small nurseries. Edwin, who originally came from the Philippines, undertook postgraduate study in Australia with the support of ACIAR’s John Allwright Fellowship scheme while he was working on an ASEM project in the Philippines. Edwin has introduced the raised nursery bed technology that was used in the ASEM project in the Philippines to farmers in Nepal. These nursery beds are easy for farmers to construct from locally available materials and they have the advantage over the traditional ground based nursery beds in that the plants don’t become waterlogged and the root systems are “air pruned”.

At one of the project sites at Chaubas in Kabhre Palanchok district, the Australian Government supported the establishment of a community sawmill in the mid 1990s. This sawmill draws its timber from five community forests, that were also established with the support of Australian aid. It operated successfully for a number of years and the local community forestry user groups that operated the sawmill used it to generate the funds required to build a new school in the village. However, it closed in 2011 as a result of disputes between the various community forest user groups and bureaucratic problems associated with approvals to harvest timber from the community forests.

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Environment Minister lauds Great Green Wall Agency

The Minister of Environment, Mrs Laurentia Mallam, has lauded the activities of the National Agency for Great Green Wall (NAGGW) for its efforts, including provision of improved seedlings to communities affected by desertification.

Mallam who made the commendation at a one-day Stakeholders forum organised by NAGGW in Katsina state recently, said that the efforts of the Agency through activities such as shelterbelt development, provision of alternative cooking devices to the rural communities, provision of water to the communities within the GGW corridor, Development and management of orchards and other lively activities,

In a statement issued by Larai Daze, Press Officer, NAGGW, the Minister who was represented by Mr Ado Saminu, coordinator of the Afforestation Programme Coordinating Unit (APCU) Kano, said that the forum with its composition of researchers, farmers, extension workers, policy makers from the three tiers of Government and other relevant interest groups from commerce and industries makes it an interesting and special forum.

She said the launching provides opportunities for all stakeholders to explore ways of sustaining the GGW programme, stressing that collaboration needs to be strengthened, information shared widely and activities to be done frequently to realize synergies from the investments both from individuals. According to her, these will address land degradation, provide job opportunities and generally enhance the economic activities of the affected communities.

The Minister said the GGW programme is a holistic approach been undertaking by the present administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in which stakeholders are encouraged to contribute their own quota through popular participation. She urged the forum to be all participative, and come up with approaches for the betterment of the Nigerian populace.

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Climate change: Minister says efforts being made to cope with negative impacts

Federal Minister for Climate Change Mushahidullah Khan on Sunday said that efforts are being made at various levels in the light of policy recommendations proposed in the National Climate Change Policy of Pakistan to cope with the negative impacts of climate change. Weather patterns in Pakistan were changing rapidly due to climate change, causing negative impacts on glaciers, river flows, underground water recharge systems, agriculture and overall biodiversity, the minister said in a press statement.

Mushahidullah said that depleting river flows, falling underground water level, shifting rainfall patterns, frequent heat waves, droughts, sea intrusion/sea-level rise, shrinking winter months, expanding summer months and melting glaciers are all terrible indicators of how fast the climate of the country is changing. “We need to take corrective measures and work hard in collaboration with relevant government and non-governmental organisations on fast track basis for hammering out mitigation and adaptation plans to tackle the negative impacts of the climate change on different sectors of economy, particularly irrigated and rain-fed agriculture, which is mainstay of national economy,” he stressed. The minister warned that global warming will exacerbate land degradation and desertification in the countries like Pakistan, where over 80 percent of the land mass is arid.

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