future

Food Security in Africa, What The Future Holds

A woman with a basket on her head, with a malnourished child at her side with obvious internal bone structure displayed, due to lack of proper feeding, suffering, poverty, hunger and food insecurity. This is a typical picture of what many go through in Sub-Saharan Africa. One might say to him or herself, “I don’t look that bad, I feed well and look good.” The sad truth is that billions all over the world are hungry and we should all be concerned for our future and for that of generations to come.

WHAT THE STATS SAY

Let’s take a brief journey into what reports, researches and findings have to say about food security in Africa and the world in general. A 2012 FAO report, State of Food Insecurity in the World, revealed that about 870 million people are estimated to have been undernourished from 2010 to 2012. This represents 12.5 percent of the global population or, in other words, one in eight people. Moreover, out of this 870 million, 852 million live in developing countries. In Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the report, 216 million people suffer from food insecurity.

These figures are alarming and show how glooming the future is and can be, if nothing is done. It is the responsibility of every man and woman in Africa to begin to see the role they play, regardless of their capacity, to ensure food security in Africa, now and in the future.

Before we go on to examine some actions to be taken, let us consider what food security entails and why we need to give it attention. The World Bank, after much deliberation, in 1986 defines food security as “access by all people at all times to enough food for an active healthy life’’. Merely reading these words in plain English shows that all of us in Africa are far from been food-secure. Africa has an ever growing population with more and more children and youth, alongside a growing aging farming population, averaging 65 years. The question is, who would grow our food in the next 10 years? The adverse effect of climate change and the danger that comes along with it, all are good reasons for us to attend to ensuring food security from all quarters.

WHAT DO WE DO TO ENSURE A FOOD-SECURE FUTURE?

First of all, we all need to recognise that ensuring food security is a task for not only a selected few, but everyone. We all need to put our hands on deck, be you a father, a mother, a child, a youngster, government representative, scientist, farmer or activist. We all have a role to play in ensuring that food security is achieved in the long run. Let us examine a few points:

  • Agriculture is big business: it is important that we no longer look at agriculture as a developmental aid, but as a business. Agriculture has the ability to provide not only food, but also income and materials to improve life. It is thus important that from all quarters there should be an increased investment in agriculture. The government, private sector players, NGOs, donor organisations and others, all have to increase investment in agriculture.
  • Investment in youth: Africa is blessed with an energetic and passionate youth who are beginning to understand that they all have a role in shaping a future they want for themselves and generations to come. There is, however, an image problem towards agriculture, food production and it related fields. Many youngsters see it as punishment, others as a career for the poor. For these reasons there are a need for investment in advocacy, training, capacity building, incentives and commendation. This is to enable us to have an energetic, innovative and dynamic youth who would apply whatever education or training they have, to contribute to improved food production, nutrition, storage and distribution of food. Thus ensuring they are not only employed but also generating revenue that enable them live comfortable and fulfilled lives.
  • Creating Enabling Environments: This applies mainly to government and its related agencies. Smallholders and rural dwellers need to have improved livelihood. For this to effectively take place the government has a big role in creating an enabling environment for them. It starts with proper policies such as those that would allow smallholders to have easy and convenient access to market. Social amenities, such as good roads, electricity, ICT and its services, water supply, storage facilities for farmers, etc., are all essential. Access to credit is also essential for smallholders and anyone willing to venture into the food production sector.
  • Research and Development: With the raging effect of climate change, there is a big need for the development of new and well improved product varieties with inbuilt resilience to climate change, coupled with resistance to diseases and pests. Thus, there is a need for not only financial investment in research, but also for researchers and scientists who would achieve building human capacity and in the long run contribute to food security in Africa. This obligation can be overwhelming, but its potential for the present and future generations, supersedes any investment.

By and large, we all have a role to play. Governments, now than ever, need to invest more in agriculture, encouraging the private sector to participate as they do so. Poor farmers, smallholders, rural dwellers, youth and women need to be given special attention while this is done. The youth should also be dynamic enough to see the future that lies ahead if the continent is food-secure and thus be open-minded in changing their view of agriculture and its related fields. Parents should also be active in promoting agricultural activities among the younger generation, by having a simple backyard farm for example. The future of food security in Africa is bright and has a lot of potential to create better livelihood and improved socioeconomic conditions for us now and times to come.

This article was first published as a contribution to the FORESIGHT FOR DEVELOPMENT NEWSLETTER

6th All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture (AACAA)- Call for Paper

ANNOUNCEMENT
The 6th All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture (AACAA)

Theme: Africa’s Animal Agriculture: Macro-trends and future opportunities

Venue and Date: Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi, Kenya, October 27-30, 2014

CALL FOR PAPERS AND INSTRUCTIONS FOR AUTHORS

The 6th All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture will be held at Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC), Nairobi, Kenya, October 27-30, 2014. The All Africa Society for Animal Production is organizing this conference in association with Animal Production Society of Kenya (APSK). The theme of the conference is “Africa’s Animal Agriculture: Macro-trends and future opportunities”. The Organizing Committee is pleased to call for papers, which will be presented during the conference. Papers have to be submitted in English. Authors are asked to indicate their preference for oral or poster presentation and give their preferred sub-theme from the sub-themes listed below:

•    Sub-Theme 1: Youth in Animal Agriculture: The Future Hope
•    Sub-theme 2: Which Way for Smallholder Systems?
•    Sub-theme 3: Pastoral Systems: Options for Tomorrow
•    Sub-theme 4: Market access: opportunities for enhanced access to local, regional and global markets

The requests for consideration shall be submitted electronically sent by email to the executive secretariat. Authors may submit articles based on research, case reports, retrospective studies or participation interests in exhibitions or practical demonstrations within the realms of the conference theme. Selected papers will be published in a special journal issue of the East African Agricultural and Forestry Journal (EAAFJ) hosted by the  Kenya Agricultural Research Institute(KARI).

General presentation
The manuscript shall be in English, typed double spaced, Times New Roman, font size 12 with margins at least 2.5cm at all sides. The manuscript will be typed in the conventional format including title, abstract and key words, introduction, material and methods, results, discussion, acknowledgements and references. Figures, tables and plates should be presented separately.

Title page
The title page shall include the title of the article, the surname and initials of the forenames and institutional affiliation. The email address of all the authors should be provided and that of the corresponding author be marked by asterisk.

The abstract should be 150-250 words and concise. It should contain no paragraphs, footnote, cross-references to figures and tables or undefined abbreviations

Key words should be up to five and should avoid words already in the title but based on the key messages of the paper. They should be written in lowercase letters, separated by commas and presented in alphabetical order.

Introduction
Introduction should be brief but contain sufficient information reviewing important areas of the study.

Materials and Methods
This section should contain sufficient details to enable replication of the procedures. Previously established procedures should only be referenced rather than described in the article.

Results
The results should be appropriately detailed. Tables and figures should be used only when they add value to the narrative.

Discussion, conclusion and implications
Should discuss the results and adequately cover related published information.

Acknowledgement
Authors should ensure that all other individuals or organizations which contributed financial, technical or editorial support are appropriately acknowledged.

References
In the text references should only contain the surname and the year of publication of the refereed articles. When more than two authors are involved the first author followed by et.al should be used. In the listing they should be arranged in alphabetical order at the end of the article and be detailed as follows

Articles
Kuria, S.G., Gachuiri, C.K., Wanyoike, M.M.and Wahome, R.G. 2004. Effect of mineral supplementation on milk yield and calf growth of camels in Marsabit district of Kenya. J. Camel Pract.Res., 11(2): 87-96.

Books
Hulsebusch, C. G. and Kaufmann, B .A. 2002. Camel breeds and breeding in North Kenya. Kenya Agricultural Research Institute: Nairobi, Kenya.pp 150.
Chapter in book
Wango, J., Farah, Z. 2004. Methods for quality control. In: Milk and meat from the camel. Z. Farah and A. Fisher(Eds). Vdf Hochshulverlag AG publ., Zurich (Switzerland) pp 51-65
Tables, figures,pictures
All figures and tables should be numbered in Arabic numerals and should be referred to in the text as such e.g. Figure 1 or Table 4. The title of each table should be written above the corresponding table. Photographs should be presented in the electronic form of JPEG.
The guidelines to Authors for EAAFJ is linked for more detailed information

Posters
Posters should fit into poster board measuring 1682  x 2378mm. The poster should be:

Simple, informative, visually appealing and attractive
Easy to read and understand with relevant legend
Contain text and illustrative material harmoniously combined to produce effective presentation
Tell the complete story

Deadline for first call of papers is 30th September 2013

Deadline for second call of papers is 31st December 2013

Deadline for last call papers is 31st March 2014

All correspondence  should be addressed to
THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARIAT, AACAA
Email: editor@eaafj.or.ke

SURFACE MAIL: 6th All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture (AACAA)
P O  BOX 57811-00200 NAIROBI KENYA
email: editor@eaafj.or.ke   website: http://www.aacaak.or.ke

Youth are the future. Invest in them!

“Youth are the future. Invest in them!” by Codrin Paveliuc-Olariu on #AASW Blog!

The FARA Social Reporters Blog

With more than 200 million people aged between 15 and 24 years (comprising over 20% of the population and 70% of the population being under 30 years old), Africa‘s future seems bright. Young people usually bring new skills and abilities to the table, and tend to be highly competitive into sectors that use innovative technologies (such as ICT, social media or even agriculture).

But presently this is not the case in Africa. According to the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Youth Policy Case Studies, while approximately 70% of youth live in rural areas and represent almost 65% of the workforce there.
On average, 74% of the youth population in Africa lives on less than US$2 per day lacking the resources and skills to be competitive. With this potential, Africa’s transformation could have started “yesterday”. But because of poor support…

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Social Reporting Geeks signing off

THE GFAR BLOG

It all started off as a challenge for a young group of social media enthusiasts that wanted to give a voice to young professionals in agricultural research for development (ARD) at the Second Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD 2012).

From all walks of life, young spirited people have gathered between October 25th and November 2nd 2012 in Punta del Este under the warm fun guidance of Peter “Grandpa” Casier (BlogTips.org), teaching the Social Media Team (SMT) a “thing or two” about hash tags and virtual networking with people from across the world.

The objectives of the Social Reporting Geeks (as we like to be called) or the SMT (as the #GCARD2 followers recognized us) were simple enough:

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