Youth driving transformation of African agriculture
On 16th and 17th February, the MasterCard Foundation will host the Young Africa Works Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, to address the opportunities for empowering young people to drive transformational change in African agriculture. Practical Action will be there to share evidence from its work of how technologies – from MP3 podcasts, to solar irrigation systems – can support young people to lead productive lives in agricultural areas, and move towards more sustainable, resilient farming. Education drives social change Significant improvements […]
Can Climate Information Services be mapped?
“This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather”. Groundhog day 1993 Practical Action has been approached by a consortia of partners to explore the issue of Climate Information Services in West Africa. We have been posed the question “Is it possible to map the Climate Information Services system in the region and would mapping help to make the system work better for rain fed marginalised farmers?” This is partly […]
Agriculture – a global win-win but, sadly, a ‘no-win’ at COP22
Agriculture: everywhere, yet nowhere As an agriculturalist following the climate change negotiations (the ‘Conference of Parties’ or annual COPs) I used to think that agriculture was the most ‘not talked about’ topic. It was implicit everywhere, but nowhere in the text. Until, with great relief, food security was highlighted in the Paris Agreement. Recognizing the fundamental priority of safeguarding food security and ending hunger, and the particular vulnerabilities of food production systems to the adverse impacts of climate change However, […]
The Emolienteros: organised labour as the driving force of technology advancement.
The ‘Emolienteros’ are vendors of Emoliente, a beverage made with medicinal plants sold on the streets of Lima. With the availability of different flavours, mixtures and consistencies of the herbal beverage, they provide an unrivalled service for inexpensive on-the-go breakfast/snacks, in Peru’s densely populated capital. As the third largest city in the Americas, Lima presents a huge market for the Emolienteros, with much potential for growth. This fact is not lost on these ambitious workers. They have been able to form a robust […]
From adaptation to mitigation at COP21
Week 1 – agriculture and adaptation COP21 got off to a rousing start, with some inspirational speeches by heads of state and world leaders. The objective was to inspire and guide the negotiators, however, the promises made appear to have been quickly dampened by national interests resulting in slower than expected progress, and even weakened options. Nairobi Work Programme The first week was dominated by matters concerning agriculture, forests, pastoralism and risk and adaptation. The Nairobi Work Programme on Adaptation […]
Will COP21 deliver a Paris Protocol?
Have the global negotiations for a new climate agreement switched from a marathon to an egg and spoon race? We are now in the final leg of the marathon negotiations for a new climate agreement. At the last meeting in Bonn, the negotiators were expected to intensify their pace, but by the end of the meeting it was clear no one had sped up, if anything the pace had slowed. We are now entering the final sprint to the line. […]
As GMO patents expire, will they be used more by smallholder farmers in LDCs?
Today 16th October is World Food Day, a day to highlight the hunger and suffering millions of people face throughout the world. One of the responses to hunger in recent years has been to turn to science and technology to help boost yields of ‘staple crops’. One such method has been the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). But the use of such seeds is controlled by the companies who ‘make’ them. Recently however, the patents protections on some of […]
World Food Day and the SDGs: The challenge – no! the opportunity – for agriculture to leave no one behind
Today, 16th October, is World Food Day. A day when we are reminded of the vital importance of agriculture in providing our basic need – food. More importantly, the vital role agriculture plays in providing food security and livelihoods for the majority in developing countries. For me it is a reminder of how, to date, agriculturalists and the international community are still failing to enable the many millions of small-scale farmers to use their efforts, and their resources – the […]
Market systems could be most effective way to promote agroecology
Practical Action is advocating for greater use of agroecology to achieve more inclusive and sustainable agriculture. This is because we believe smallholder farmers have the potential to make an invaluable contribution to global food security and the elimination of poverty. Our work with communities across Latin America, Africa and South Asia has shown us that the application of agroecological practices can increase smallholder productivity, build resilience to climate change and build on the assets and knowledge they already have. The […]
Rice, ducks and development
A simple concept with clear benefits is something to be explored and scaled up In development, as in most fields, anything that can quickly improve the productivity of an existing agricultural industry is an advantage and something likely to be seized upon by both NGOs and governments. And who can blame them? However, the rush to get more from less can lead to a situation in which intensive solutions with short term gains take precedence. This leads to concepts with […]