The planet is in a mess, and climate change is perhaps the biggest threat to both prosperity and political stability worldwide. It is always the poor who suffer most; and yet the battle continues to be led by those who do not have the best interests of the most vulnerable at heart. But why? Perhaps it is time, instead, to mobilise the people.
The United Nations' agency for ICTs, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), marks today, 17 May, as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD). The purpose of the day is to “help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICTs) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide”.
ICT4RD 2011 will look at the current state of ICT4RD projects, products and policies but also create an environment for matchmaking, and deep knowledge-sharing; and to fundamentally contribute to the successful use of ICTs in the realities of rural development.
The Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) says President Jacob Zuma’s latest plan to address stagnating land reform is a positive move, but clarification of the details, the input of all stakeholders and government support for black farmers is crucial to its success.
PLAAS senior researcher, Ruth Hall, says that while Zuma is conveying the right message, ‘a severe and detailed debate’ is necessary to flesh out the finer details.
A Zimbabwean NGO is working with villagers to increase farm production in a bid to improve living conditions for the subsistence farmers who mostly rely on agriculture for sustenance.
Environment Africa programmes director, Innocent Hongere, says the group that is working in conjunction with other NGOs such as Practical Action is also looking to help link farmers to markets where their products are in demand.
The Tanzania Forest Conservation Group has warned CSOs implementing the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) pilot projects have asked the government to engage the villagers before allocating land to investors.
The group’s executive director, Charles Meshack, points out that this will help the villagers to have ownership over the carbon benefits derived from reduced deforestation on their land.
Small scale farmers on commonage land owned by the Hantam Municipality are up in arms about the awarding of a tender by the Hantam Municipality of Brandvlei. The tender committee of the municipality decided to disadvantage emerging farmers currently on the commonage land in order to benefit white commercial farmers. According to the minutes of the tender committee meeting of 29 September 2010 emerging farmers will only be allowed on commonage land if they farm together with white commercial farmers.
Agriculture Minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, has congratulated Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, for suggesting a 50/50 equity share scheme between farmers and their workers.
Speaking at a two-day farm workers’ summit in Somerset West outside of Cape Town, “If Premier Zille is saying 50/50, then it is radical and she deserves a round of applause for that.”
Agri SA, a national farming body, has reiterated previous requests for urgent and in-depth discussions with the government on the elimination of obstacles hampering land reform.
Agri SA president, Johannes Moller, says it was in no one's interest, especially the poor, to introduce drastic measures that would undermine confidence and have an adverse effect on food security.
The combination of climate change and the global economic downturn means that most African countries, including Zimbabwe, face food insecurity. Droughts, floods, poverty and unemployment result in high levels of uncertainty and anxiety about where the next meal is going to come from. Like many other matters, the concept of food insecurity in Zimbabwe is also characterised by gendered dimensions, in that women usually bear the brunt of food insecurity at household level (3).