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July 28, 2021 | No. 29
Ending Hunger Requires $US40 Billion Annually & Major Reforms to Food Systems

The world needs an investment of US$40 billion per year by 2030 to eradicate hunger. And these investments must be accompanied by major reforms in food systems to make them more efficient, resilient, and sustainable, said experts at a major global “pre-summit” on food systems, Monday. Transformations to food systems should focus on providing seed security to smallholder farmers, training on improved planting techniques, and ensuring production of more nutritious, biodiverse and climate-resilient crop varieties. The UN Pre-Summit taking place in Rome from 26-28 July, is a stage-setter for the full-fledged UN Food Systems Summit, scheduled for September in New York. Read more 

South Africa’s indigenous rooibos tea farmers seek a fairer deal

When South African rooibos tea became the first African foodstuff to join French champagne and Cypriot halloumi on the EU’s “protected designation of origin” list this year, it was only the latest landmark for one of the country’s most distinctive exports. The reddish, caffeine-free drink — rooibos means “red bush” in Afrikaans — has become increasingly popular with global consumers in recent years. In 2019, exports reached 7,700 tons, up from 6,600 tons in 2013, according to the South African Rooibos Council, a trade body. Read more 

Addressing Africa’s extreme water insecurity

Access to clean, affordable, and safe drinking water is both a fundamental human right recognized by the United Nations and Goal 6 of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. However, access to this essential resource in Africa is not yet universal, with 1 in 3 Africans facing water scarcity and approximately 400 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lacking access to basic drinking water. Access to water remains a pervasive development issue across the continent, as a 2019 report by the World Resources Institute (WRI) revealed: Indeed, addressing climate change and poor management of water resources and services is paramount to tackling Africa’s water stress. Read more

source: Brookings
A Biowaste Equipment Innovation for Smallholder Farmers in West Africa
Chemical Engineer Noël N’guessan has won the Royal Academy of Engineering’s 2021 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation with a biowaste equipment innovation for smallholder farmers in West Africa to efficiently manage and generate income from biowaste. N’guessan is the second Ivorian to win the Africa Prize, and the first to win with an Ivorian-based innovation. N’guessan and his team designed and patented Kubeko to assist smallholder farmers and their cooperatives to generate more income from the by-products of their harvests, without additional labour. Kubeko is a set of low-cost biowaste processing equipment; its composter and biodigester are both specifically designed to ferment agricultural post-harvest by-products into solid and liquid compost, and cooking gas. N’guessan wins the first prize of £25,000. At the virtual awards ceremony held on Thursday, 8 July 2021, four finalists delivered presentations before Africa Prize judges, and a live audience voted for the most promising engineering innovation. “We really appreciated the professionalism of the APEI, adding value to our businesses. It was hard work, and I share this award with our entire team,” said N’guessan.  Read more 

Former Ethiopia PM Declares Tanzania a Potential Breadbasket for Africa 

Former Ethiopia Prime Minister and Board Chair of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), H.E. Hailemariam Dessalegn, has said that with proper investment, Tanzania has the potential to feed the whole of Africa. According to H.E. Dessalegn, Tanzania’s favorable climatic conditions, good soils, a youthful population, and a propensity for mechanization can be harnessed to meet the continent’s food needs. “Tanzania is one of the few countries in Africa that have the potential to feed the whole continent; very few countries can change their agricultural landscape but Tanzania can,” he said during an engagement with AGRA staff in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on Monday morning. Also in the meeting was retired Tanzania President and AGRA Board Member, H.E. Dr. Jakaya Kikwete, who rooted for increased research, mechanisation, irrigation and farmer finance in transforming Tanzania’s agricultural prospects. Read more

source: AGRA
Agriculture in the time of COVID-19

The effects of COVID-19 have been felt in almost every sector, and agriculture is no different. Social distancing requirements and travel restrictions have prevented farmers from sowing their crops, leading to labor disruption, and wreaking havoc on supply chains. As a result, there’s been a 30% rise in global food prices since the start of 2020 and a decline in the household incomes of some smallholder farmers, which make up more than 60% of Africa’s population. Although the picture has been bleak, some say the pandemic has brought a wave of innovation that could transform the sector in the long run. Read more

source: Devex
The political economy of the maize value chain in Nigeria

There are three ways governments in Nigeria typically intervene in the maize sector to achieve political and developmental objectives. The first is through output market interventions, which include using marketing boards to support high farm gate prices for smallholder farmers and to lower consumer prices through subsidised sales of government stocks, as was the case in 1977. The second is through input subsidy support, mainly for maize seed and fertiliser, as was the case in 1975 when fertiliser procurement and distribution was centralised. Finally, the Nigerian government regularly uses trade policy levers, including tariffs, export bans, licenses, and quotas, to regulate maize supplies and prices, as seen in Nigeria’s border closure and policy ban on maize imports in 2019 and the removal of the ban in 2020. Read more

Resilience-Focused Food Systems Transformation to Meet Sustainable Development Goals in Zimbabwe

According to the Food Security Information Network's recent Global Report on Food Crises (2021), Zimbabwe is on the list of the top six countries in the world experiencing a food crisis. The food crisis in Zimbabwe is compounded by external shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic and economic and weather-related shocks, and it brings a sharper focus and deeper scrutiny to the challenges of achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs). Moving from crisis to a development pathway and achieving SDGs requires a food system transformation (FST) that recognizes resilience building as a key precondition. Yet very little attention is paid to developing and implementing resilience programming in a systematic way. Why and how can resilience programming be the focus of FST in Zimbabwe? Read more

source: AgriLinks
On Air Dialogues: Amplifying rural voices during the 2021 Food Systems Summit

The 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit aims to identify solutions that improve livelihoods and food security. Small-scale farmers and rural people should play an essential role in this process. They are the backbone of the global food system, experts in their fields, and experienced in finding creative solutions.  Over the course of three weeks in June 2021, and in partnership with six radio stations in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda, Farm Radio International asked small-scale farmers, vendors, processors, marketers, and others how the food system should be changed to meet their needs and the needs of their communities. Nearly 3,500 people responded to the call, as people shared their concerns and solutions for creating a healthier, more sustainable, productive, and equitable food system. Read more

source: Farm Radio
State-of-the-Art Digital Microscope Positions Zambia for Increased International Seed Trade 

Every National Seed Authority requires state-of-the-art equipment to enable seed purity testing. In late 2020, the Zambian Seed Control and Certification Institute (SCCI) reached out to USAID-managed Feed the Future Southern Africa Seed Trade Project (Seed Trade Project) flagging their need for a modern digital microscope. In response, the Seed Trade Project awarded the Institute a US$9,000 in-kind grant to procure the digital microscope. The high-end microscope was delivered in April 2021 and followed by virtual training on its proper use and functionality on May 20, 2021.  Read more

source: USAID
African Association of Agricultural Economists
c/o University of Nairobi, C.A.V.S, Upper Kabete Campus
Loresho Ridge Road, Nairobi, Kenya


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